Archive for the ‘misandry’ Category

I won’t be taking part in #youngmumschat this evening on twitter which starts very soon! You can follow the hashtag and take part in discussion here:

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23youngmumschat&src=hash

This week the topic is ‘labels’ which I think is an excellent subject to talk about. Well, I would wouldn’t I? Since a lot of my preoccupations relate to language, and how we use words in ways that sometimes encourage and exaggerate negative perceptions of certain groups and individuals.

Young parents are a group who get more bad ‘labels’ thrown at them than many. @Prymface, the coordinator of #youngmumschat has taken one of those nasty names  -pramface, and rather cleverly turned it to her own advantage, and into her own style. Prymface has also pointed out that the very terms ‘teen mom’ or ‘teenage mums’, though maybe not intended to be put-downs, often get used in sensationalist media stories, and all the world’s problems can be loaded at the feet of this stigmatised group. ‘Teen mums a burden on the benefits system!’ ‘Teen mums leave school before getting any qualifications’! ‘Teen mums give up their babies for adoption!’ ‘Teen mums come from broken homes!” etc etc.

Whereas prymface and her colleagues/fellow young mums are trying to show that actually, many young women(and men) make considered decisions about having kids, just like everyone else. And they find ways to balance work, education and home life, just like everyone else.

There are other more generic labels for ‘loose women’ thrown at young mums such as ‘whore’, ‘slut’, ‘slapper’ etc. The suggestion being that they got pregnant due to promiscuity, which is no more likely to be the case than with any other pregnancy.

But you won’t be surprised to hear that once again, in relation to #youngmumschat I want to bring up young dads, and the worst label I know given to them. ‘Deadbeat Dad’ REALLY annoys me for a few reasons. One is very personal, and that is that my parents broke up when I was five, and although my Dad didn’t have (or ask for) full time custody of me, he made sure he saw me very frequently and regularly, he ALWAYS paid child support to my Mum, and has been a brilliant father right up to and during my adult life. So the implication that comes with ‘deadbeat dad’, that men who don’t stay with the mothers of their kids tend to be feckless, lazy, uncaring (see image above) is hurtful to me. But also, on a wider societal level, I think the term ‘deadbeat dad’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If men, especially young men, have a reputation for not being good fathers, they are more likely to live up to that reputation, than to fight to combat both the stigma of the ‘deadbeat dad’ label, and other barriers to being active fathers from the start, such as the lack of paternity leave, the bias of the law towards mothers’ rights, and social expectations that children’s main carers are mums.

SO I am keen to hear a lot more about labels given unfairly to young mums, and how young mums feel about them, but I’d like to hear something of labels that young dads are given too, and how they feel about them as well.

I hope everyone has a great #youngmumschat it really is one of my favourite twitter hashtags!

The surest aid in combating the male’s disease of self-contempt is to be loved by a clever woman – Nietzsche

It is now well-documented that in my -frequent – arguments with feminism, my ‘sisters’ sometimes end up resorting to calling me a ‘man’ to dismiss and demonise my criticisms of their dogma. So, if the cap fits…

Recently I have made connections with some of the bloggers and activists who run A Voice For Men website. Loosely self-defined as ‘MRAs’ (men’s rights activists) these men – and a few women allies- provide a non-man-hating perspective in amongst the cacophony of misandry that is ‘mainstream’ feminist gender culture.

I like the subtitle to AVfM – ‘masculine counter-theory in the age of misandry’. It succinctly turns on its head the received wisdom that suggests it is misogyny and sexism against women that is the biggest gendered problem in society.

So I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the site. So far I have written two pieces. The first took quite a lot of soul-searching and emotional effort as it describes my break with feminism, that I grew up believing was the only logical, and moral lens through which to analyse gender. My essay is called:

Leaving The Sisterhood – A Recovering Feminist Speaks

The second is an edited post I initially put here at QRG HQ. (Thanks to  Laura Agustin for feedback which led to a few changes). It’s entitled:

Second Wave Feminism Is Dying (Slowly)

I only found the Nietzsche quote today, and I don’t know its context. But I like its suggestion that masculinity suffers from a pathological bad rep that needs to be transformed. And the suggestion that women must be involved in that shift. This is subtly but vitally different from the feminist concept that men themselves are ‘bad’ and need to change (with the help of enlightened feminist women). My view is that all that needs to be altered is how we LOOK at men and masculinity…

While I go back to my Nietzsche to see if I haven’t read too much into it, I hope you take a look at my posts at AvFM and the rest of the site.

The future is bright. The future is mixed-gendered!

_______________

Thanks again to @deanesmay for the encouragement to write for AvFM

If, as I do, you live in London, you will be forgiven for wondering if the Olympics haven’t already been and gone. They have certainly been flogged to death in the capital city over the last few months, even though they are still yet to start.

Londoners will also be aware that here, it is not necessarily Jessica Ennis’ fitness or Andy Murray’s groundstrokes that are on our mind. No, the big question on our lips is – ‘will the tubes be working?’

And, in its pseudo-helpful tannoy announcement kind of way, Transport for London is reassuring us that of course, the tubes will probably be f*cked during The Games, but don’t worry, here are some jaunty cartoons of muscly athletes to distract you. Look! A birdie! (oh no that is just the tfl twitter feed).

http://www.getaheadofthegames.com/

BUT, however grumpy I may be about the travel chaos that is about to descend on my city of residence, I actually quite like the TfL olympics ‘public service ads’. Why? Because they are metrotastic of course!

This one of the two hulking weight lifters trying to get off the tube is my favourite. Look at all that naked flesh! Those cute trendy trainers! The coordinated colourful outfits! Who cares if we are stuck for an hour on Finsbury Park station, if we get some international top class eye candy to keep us occupied?

Of course, athletic, muscle-bound men’s bodies on display for the viewer’s pleasure are not a new phenomenon. Back in the 70s and 80s Arnold Schwarzenneger was parading round in next to nothing, showing off his tits and pecs and abs for our delectation. Even The Guardian, in an otherwise body-phobic, misandrous, metro-bashing article about Magic Mike and men strippers, admitted that Arnie was a pin up:

‘It wasn’t until the 1980s that male stripping became a “thing”. Arnold Schwarzenegger had spent most of the 70s walking around in budgie smugglers, and Michael Ontkean went full chilly burlesque on the ice in Slap Shot, but it was only in the 80s that others caught up: a male performer serving up his penis on a tray to Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party, and Michael Keaton getting an eyeful in Mr Mom. ‘

And Transport for London also have a history of metrosexual display. They were one of the first metro companies to put adverts on the walls next to the escalators, and on tube trains,  so commuters can look at sexy stars instead of each other’s ugly mugs on the way home. I like this TfL Olympics poster that nods to that tradition:

However it IS a 21st century phenomenon that sports men now cash in on their desirability as a matter of course. The ubiquity of sporno means that sports stars are not just keen to win on the pitch, but also in the box office, on the billboards, on the telly.

And, my guess is that whilst Delicious David Beckham and Nubile Nadal would probably grab our attention much more effectively than these sketchy cartoons, Transport For London couldn’t afford their supermodelling rates.

Just as they can’t afford to improve their services to cope with the demands of the Olympics.

Nobody said the metrosexual era would be efficient though. So long as it looks good we’re all happy.

Right?

Dem a cut, cut, cut agains’ dem one another;

Dem a cut, cut, cut agains’ dem one another.

Don’t dem teach to love one another ?

Don’t dem teach to love one another ?

oh!See de ‘ypocrite, dem a-galang deh!

See de ‘ypocrite, dem a-galang deh!

– Hypocrite, Bunny Wailer

Last week on my Graunwatch blog I wrote about the forthcoming radical feminist conference (#radfem2012 on twitter) and the furore over its transphobia. I took an unpopular view in that whilst I agreed with everyone condemning its ‘no trans women allowed’ policy, I also pointed out that feminism AS A WHOLE is full of exclusionary practices, especially towards men.

The Guardian, after publishing an article by (trans) feminist Roz Kaveney (who blocks me on twitter by the way), gave Sheila Jeffreys the right of reply. She was tabled to speak at the conference but has now been told she can’t, due to her transphobia. An example of said transphobia can be seen in her Guardian piece. It reads:

‘Criticism of the practice of transgenderism is being censored as a result of a campaign of vilification by transgender activists of anyone who does not accept the new orthodoxy on this issue. A recent Comment is free piece by the transgender activist Roz Kaveney, headlined “Radical feminists are acting like a cult”, criticises a forthcoming radical feminist conference, at which I was to be a speaker, on the grounds that I and “my supporters” may be guilty of “hate speech” for our political criticism of this practice.

Though Kaveney’s comments about me are comparatively mild in tone, the campaign by transgender activists in general is anything but. This particular campaign persuaded Conway Hall, the conference venue, to ban me from speaking on the grounds that I “foster hatred” and “actively discriminate”. On being asked to account for this, Conway Hall appeared to compare me to “David Irving the holocaust denier”. The proffered evidence consists of quotes from me arguing that transgender surgery should be considered a human rights violation – hardly evidence of hate speech.’

I find it very depressing that after a venue in London has said Jeffreys’ views are not welcome on its premises, the Guardian newspaper has given her and her vile opinions a platform! In the name of what? Fairness? This is a paper that spouts a very narrow white middle class feminism day in day out, with very little chance for non-feminists to write about gender issues. Let alone trans women, black women, disabled women etc etc. But Jeffreys gets a column. Nice.

This hypocrisy is not limited to the Guardian. I think it is a characteristic of feminism in general. For example feminist blogger stavvers criticised Jeffreys desire to ‘debate’ trans issues whilst trans women are not allowed at the conference. However bloggers and activists such as stavvers are happy to ‘debate’ whilst excluding people, including women – e.g. me – from their feminist safe spaces. My 101 Wankers post is a list of all the feminists and their ‘allies’ who ban me and block me online. Stavvers is on the list.

So is Julie Bindel. Bindel, also a known transphobe, has a regular column in the Guardian, and when she was criticised for one of her diatribes recently, Chris Ashford of Law and Sexuality blog wrote a piece saying he was worried she was being ‘silenced’! Hers is a very loud silence then.

I think there are some very real and complex issues here to do with freedom of speech. I personally find the increasing mobilisation of the term ‘hate speech’ worrying. A woman was jailed for five months this week for hate speech, a racist rant on a tube. I have been accused of ‘hate speech’ and I know a few people who would be glad to see me locked up.

But when it comes to Sheila Jeffreys I think Conway Hall made the right decision. They are accomodating the radical feminists in their venue. They are allowed to refuse to host a speech that would be hateful, and one that would question the right of a group of people to exist on this earth.

However, ‘moderate’ feminists need to be very careful before they start throwing stones. Of course it is ironic that Jeffreys claims trans people could not withstand criticism, when she is part of a movement that demands to know the sex/gender identity of people before it even lets them in a building, let alone has a ‘debate’! But feminism’s overall approach to ‘freedom of speech’ is dire. And feminists’ need to sit in closed groups that do not include people who disagree with feminist dogma, suggests a weakness in their arguments.

Comment Is Free, the online discussion section of the Guardian, that so fairly and openly allowed Jeffreys a right of reply, now blocks me on twitter. They are not going to give me a chance to write for them now, are they?

I guess some women are just too dangerous to be allowed a viewpoint!

According to Dr Petra Boynton, academic and ‘sexologist’, a recent study about the elusive g-spot (in women) is rubbish. This rubbish research has been reported in the media as truth. So she has critiqued the media reporting, based on her own knowledge of sex research and how it gets communicated to the public.

So far so ok. But I actually found her, and other ‘experts” acounts of this ‘g-spot’ story to be a) lacking at a factual and contextual level, and b) politically-motivated from a feminist perspective (and these two issues are linked as I will demonstrate). But because they are the ‘sceptics’ casting a beady eye on dodgy research and dodgy journalism, nobody challenges them! In her blogpost about the story Petra wrote:

‘Any journalist worth their salt should always ask questions about a study they are reporting on’.

Well here and at Graunwatch I am very diligent about asking questions! So here are a few questions for Dr Petra.

1) Why the arrogant feminist undercurrent?
Petra Boynton works in the ‘sex positive’ feminist arena of sex research. Her work is informed by and contributes to ‘feminist discourse’. Her critique of this g-spot study claims that it has ‘appropriated’ feminism for its own (what? Patriarchal?) ends. She writes:

‘Thirdly, appropriating a supposed feminist discourse the paper claims ‘The absence of the identification of the G-spot as an anatomic structure created considerable controversies and a biased interpretation of the scientific results worldwide, leading to a monolithic clitoral model of female sexual response. However, women have held the unwavering position that there are distict (sic) areas in the anterior vagina which are responsible for a sensation of great sexual pleasure’

We have been here before with researchers claiming there is a giant global Clitoral Conspiracy denying women information about vaginal pleasure and prioritizing the clit. In that research as with this one no empirical evidence is given to substantiate these claims. Which do not appear to fit with the mainstream media’s general obsession with vaginas. And most reputable sex educators and therapists who focus on people exploring what brings them pleasure rather than telling them what to enjoy. It remains the case that clitoral pleasure is vital to many women’s sexual experience – and it is disingenuous of practitioners to claim otherwise.’

Her fellow sexologist, AboutSexuality also picks up on this ‘faux feminism’ in the paper. He writes:

‘There’s nothing wrong with the slow and steady development of a body of knowledge. And in and of itself I’d like to say there’s nothing wrong with this paper. Only then I read the discussion. In it the author offers a framing for the “controversy” surrounding the g-spot. Have a read:

“The absence of the identification of the G-spot as an anatomic structure created considerable controversies and a biased interpretation of the scientific results worldwide, leading to a monolithic clitoral model of female sexual response. However, women have held the unwavering position that there are distinct areas in the anterior vagina which are responsible for a sensation of great sexual pleasure. “

So first, in case you missed it, what he’s describing, among other things, is the impact of the women’s movement on public discourse and personal experience of sexuality. When he says it it sounds a bit different. If I read this correctly his understanding of what’s happened is men and the media have been pushing some “monolithic clitoral model” while women have all along said that vaginal penetration is where it’s at.

It’s a great story. But it deserves a great big “What?!?” What monolithic clitoral model? Which unwavering women? I know that surgeons think they can do everything (and when they are operating on me I guess I’m grateful for their hubris), but maybe they should leave political, cultural, and historical analysis to folks with some context.

Again, there’s no reason this guy can’t cut up a body and make a case, but along with a handful of other white male researchers, it’s the undercurrent of aggression in the writing that gives me pause.’

So both experts here seem to be saying that surgeons should keep their scalpels out of politics and feminism and just do their jobs! This ignores the large, respected body of research in the History of Science discipline. Politics and culture cannot and should not be separated from scientific enquiry. In fact, I get the distinct impression that Boynton and co. are not so much annoyed that this study has a political agenda, but rather that it has the wrong one.

They are very quick to dismiss the idea that feminism may have led to an obsession with women’s orgasm via the clitoris, but they, lovers of evidence that they are, do not produce any evidence that this is not so. There is an assumption that ‘feminism is good’ and ‘sex-positive feminism is best’.  And AboutSexuality in particular is saying that this study is sexist against women because it, and most science, is run by ‘white men’. I am not so sure.

2) Whatabouttehmenz?
The study in question focuses on women (those women who have vaginas). Boynton is critical of the study’s interest in the vagina over the clitoris. But she does not acknowledge that there is also a large amount of dodgy sex science that focuses on men, and makes ridiculous claims about their (and their penises’) sexual responses. Petra justifies her bias towards women by saying:

‘Another approach might be to consider how this scenario would look if it were penises under the microscope. While there are undoubtedly distressing issues facing men around penis size and stamina the stereotype for men is they all experience pleasure from their dicks. If you talk to men you discover some get intense pleasure from testicle stimulation and are unable to orgasm without this. Some hate their balls touched. Some get a lot of pleasure if attention is paid to the shaft of the penis. Some find direct stimulation to the glans uncomfortable. Others experience more pleasure from anal stimulation.

Yet we do not suggest because men can and do experience pleasure from different areas in their genitals that there are specific spots that guarantee male orgasm or that men are somehow deficient if they do not experience say, a left testicle orgasm. We don’t scan, survey, or perform autopsies on penises to establish the most sensitive parts. Nor do we have self help books, courses or sex toys designed to coach men into experiencing orgasm through stimulation to specific areas of their genitals.

Indeed suggesting this usually results in people laughing. Why would we do this? But we do seem to feel the need to continue to make women’s bodies and sexual responses seem complex and difficult. Actually that’s not quite true. One journal and the media appear preoccupied with this. Most people are not that bothered and certainly most sex researchers are not.’

But once again she does not produce any evidence of sex advice/sex research about men to back up her points (except for one post by her, about penis size). We have to take her word for it.

I have recently been doing some research into Men’s Health Magazine, the most popular men’s magazine. It has a whole section entitled Your Penis. Now I have not read enough to know if it also gives information and advice about ‘Your Balls’ or ‘Your erogenous zones’ but I expect Petra has not even glanced at the site or the magazine at all. And as we know, feminism tends to ignore and/or demonise men. This critique is just another example of that in my view.

One person who has written a lot about men, sex, and sex research is [redacted]. Petra Boynton has told me that she first encountered [redacted] work ‘years ago’. But has she actually read it? He has told us a number of times how men are hooked up to penis ‘plesmographs’ to test their sexual response, and, often to find out if they are  gay, straight or lying. I recently heard a story about men asylum seekers fleeing homophobic regimes, being tested with these ‘peter meters’ to check they are ‘really gay’ and not lying about their orientation just to move country for the hell of it.

If I bring up how they ignore men’s experiences in their work, feminists often say to me ‘that’s different. You are complaining we are missing out something irrelevant to this particular issue. And if we talk about penguins one day, it doesn’t mean we can’t talk about otters another’. Well I think [redacted]s work on sex research into men IS relevant. And I don’t see Boynton et al actually talking about men’s experiences in any detail very often anyway. So there is a bit of contradiction here. Is it ‘sexist’ to focus on women, or is it ‘sexist’ to ignore men? And sexist against whom?

Boynton says ‘We don’t scan, survey, or perform autopsies on penises to establish the most sensitive parts.’ I don’t know if that is true. But even if it is, the fact that scientists DO ‘scan, survey and (probably) perform autopsies on penises’ for other reasons is worth noting.

3) whatabouttehasexualz?
This critique by Boynton and chums is very much written from a ‘sex positive’ point of view. It assumes we all (well women anyway) have sex, and want to gain pleasure from it. I have been looking into the growing phenomenon/identity of asexuality recently. And I have been finding that many people don’t, and/or can’t gain pleasure from sexual stimulation. I myself am currently ‘celibate’ by choice, so my interest in the ‘g-spot’ is minimal. (I suppose  I do self-pleasure but I think I know how to do that by now. I don’t really care what the science is!)

Boynton and colleagues also seem to assume that information about sex is good. But I know a number of people who do not believe sex education to be virtuous, whether it be from a religious or other perspective. My hero Foucault himself, questioned the inherent value of all this ‘discourse’ around sex and sexuality. He said it may have the potential to be oppressive. I agree.

4) Misandry Much?
Coming from a feminist position, and ignoring men’s experiences is one thing. But I found AboutSexuality ‘s piece on this g-spot study in particular, to veer into misandry. He wrote:

‘It reminds me a lot of those men’s groups that claim to be fighting for father’s rights when they really seem to be about eliminating mother’s rights. Some of those father’s are being discriminated against, for sure. And there may very well be an anatomical structure that can be called a g-spot. Why not. But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Lots of fathers are actually trying to screw their exes out of spite. And even if there is some sac of purplish tissue on the superior surface of the dorsal perineal membrane, that doesn’t actually say much of anything about sexual pleasure (which is what ultimately this article and most of the others make claims about.’

This is incredibly emotive stuff, and I am not sure what father’s rights have to do with the g-spot anyway! He provides no evidence of fathers ‘trying to screw their exes’ it is merely his personal opinion. And Boynton does not pick up on this at all. She hails AboutSexuality ‘s critique as a good one. He is saying that this sex research is sexist against women, like many men are! Hmmm.

5) What No Comments?
Petra Boynton does not allow comments on her blog. She is very enthusiastic about people ‘sharing’ research and thoughts on twitter, but there is no way of responding to her blogposts, except, as I am doing, by blogging ourselves. This makes for a very one-sided conversation. And it feels very much as if she is our ‘teacher’ and we are her loyal pupils.

This particular pupil is currently on the naughty step. Petra blocks me on twitter and has told me not to email her again (with information and opinion that I am unable to post in the comments on her blog).  I find her approach dictatorial and critiquing the critic does not go down well!

6) Why so selective?
Boynton has chosen this particular study and its media coverage to critique. We all have to choose our battles. But she rarely blogs these days, and she is very selective about what she gives attention to. I have found she is very pally with some ‘sex researchers’ who I find particularly unethical. But they pass the Petra Boynton test and their dodgy work goes unchallenged.

I found it interesting she picked up on some ‘politicking’ from the author of the study. She tells us:

‘I think I would feel less anxious making these criticisms if I had not read Improbable Research’s blog. They have been investigating Dr Ostrzenski and in particular I would draw your attention to him bringing a lawsuit against a peer reviewer he disagreed with. This is sobering stuff.’

Well yes. But politicking in the realm of sex research is par for the course. If you google ‘Simon Le Vay’ or ‘Michael Bailey’ you will see what I mean. And look at my case where I was ‘outed’ online by people who do not like my critique of their sexual politics. They have threatened ‘legal action’ against me. And I think Petra used my current ‘shaming’ as an excuse for blocking me and silencing my critiques of her work. That worked then!

[redacted]  has pointed out how men’s in particular voices are just erased from a lot of research and media coverage of the body and the ‘self’. His work is an amazing illumination of men, sex, identity, ‘self-love’. But he too is ignored by the feminist ‘sexology’ elite.

I said on twitter last night that I am a ‘META SCEPTIC’. I am fine with people criticising the media and science. I do it myself. But those people are not beyond critique themselves.

I found this funny because Suzanne Moore  is bemoaning how Stewart Lee is not ‘progressive’ in his views on Scottish independence.

But he might as well be describing feminism and their belief in the ‘phallic’ power of patriarchy. Suzanne Moore is the ‘nostalgic’ one. And her old school feminist version of men as walking, predatory ‘penises’ fits Simpson’s description well.

Back in 1994, in his classic book Male Impersonators, Mark Simpson wrote about how ‘right-wing’ men’s movement types denigrate gay men and feminists’ alliances as a machiavellian ‘pact’. He wrote:

‘The men’s movement also began to make the connection between homosexuality and feminism in the cultural war. Its main advocate in Britain, Neil Lyndon, in his comically mis-titled book ‘No More Sex War’, railing against the evil ‘incubus’ of feminism and the lack of ‘paternity rights’, imagined an alliance between the ‘gay movement’ (meaning gay men) and the ‘sisterhood’. [He described it as] a ‘Treaty of Brest -Litovsk’ (the first world war peace treaty between Germany and newborn Soviet Russia that allowed the Germans to devote their attention to the Western Front). ‘

Well, Simpson in 2012 is an ardent anti-feminist. He made his opposition to feminism clear here, when he described misandry as the acceptable prejudice. And here Simpson’s damning critique of feminist columnists has impacted on me so well that I have used it on a number of occasions: to criticise Suzanne Moore’s ‘columns’!

I actually agree with Neil Lyndon. I think gay men and feminists DO form a ridiculous ‘pact’ against their so-called common-oppressor, the big bad wolf of heterosexual men’s ‘patriarchy’. And Mark Simspon, by emphasising his common ground with an arch feminist Suzanne Moore, is just reinforcing that alliance.

But it is dishonest. If those two were to actually speak openly about their views, not on Scottish independence but on gender, the subject they have dedicated their respective careers to, they would be on separate ‘sides’.

I know which side I am on.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2012/jan/06/michael-peacock-obscenity-trial?newsfeed=true

In an unusual move, the Guardian, the ‘liberal voice’ of Britain, which is normally the feminist voice, and the puritanical voice, has come out in favour of a man who sells hardcore S and M m/m porn. Why this strange turnaround?

Well, if we look a bit more closely at their discourse, we can see it is not a turnaround at all, but business as usual for the Graun.

Nichi Hodgson, the author of the article, was present at the trial of Michael Peacock. He was being accused of selling and distributing ‘obscene’ material under the Obscene Publications Act (1959). It also related to the famous trial over the ‘obscenity’ of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960. Hodgson wrote:
‘Why is that so important? For one, Peacock is the only person to have pleaded not guilty to a charge under the Obscene Publications Act 1959(OPA 1959) and won . He is the first person to have challenged the notion of obscenity in law, a law that was last updated in 1964, and has stood since. A law that is expressly designed to tell us what is “deprave and corrupt” – defined by Justice Byrne in 1960 as “to render morally unsound or rotten, to destroy the moral purity or chastity; to pervert or ruin a good quality.”‘

I agree that this is an important case. I am glad the Guardian covered it. But this is the paper that spends a lot of time and energy promoting the idea that pornography ‘depraves and corrupts’ people, especially men. And that it exploits and demeans people, especially women.

Gail Dines in the Guardian in December 2011, very aware of the charges against feminism and its puritanical approach to pornography wrote:

‘But feminists who organise against pornification are not arguing that sexualised images of women cause moral decay; rather that they perpetuate myths of women’s unconditional sexual availability and object status, and thus undermine women’s rights to sexual autonomy, physical safety and economic and social equality.’

Hmm. Me thinks the lady did protest too much.

In another Graun article in 2011, about a porn industry conference where feminists protested, Gail Dines was quoted as saying:

“You cannot have a massive industry built on the sexual torture and dehumanisation and debasement of women. If you want any gender equality in a society you cannot have this industry steam-rollering into men’s psyches, sexuality and identity,”

So why is the Guardian now supporting pornographers?

The only way I can see that this case has received positive attention in the Guardian is because it relates to ‘gay’ porn. If no women are involved, the Graun does not care so much about its crusade against the ‘degrading’ effects of pornography. Hodgson wrote:

‘Throughout the trial, the court had carefully warned the jury against sentencing out of any impulse of homophobic disgust. So it was disturbing to hear the prosecution lawyer invoke towards the end of his address the following example of the likely audience for the “obscene” material: “a man, in his 40s, married, with a wife who doesn’t know of his secret sexual tastes”, especially considering the defendant’s testimony that his customers were mostly gay men.’

As [redacted] has written, incidentally in a blogpost that got threatened with censorship by his webhost company, straight men enjoy watching men’s cocks in pornography. They may not be the main clientele for hardcore m/m s and m porn, but this divide between ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ porn is false. Also, many women watch ‘gay’ pornography. Again as Simpson has told us, Manlove for the Ladies is a big market and getting bigger.

Hodgson placed this case as a victory for ‘gay rights campaigners’ and ‘everyone who believes in social and sexual liberty’.

‘How ironic that the defence had begun his closing by trying to distance this case from the R v Penguin Books (1961) trial (commonly known as the Chatterley trial), which the recorder had already referenced to as precedent. That trial, in which the infamous test of the book’s obscenity was whether you would let your wife or servants read it, exposed everything that was wrong about the way those who held power and privileged pronounced on the sexual tastes and liberties of the population. Here was that same example of the white middle-class, privileged patriarch, no longer guarding against the sullying of his goods and chattel, wife and servants, but fearing for his own depravity.

Thankfully, the jury did not fall for it as a tenable argument. For gay rights campaigners and for everyone of us that believes in social and sexual liberty, it’s a day to make a five-digit victory sign.’

However, during the trial I did not see any ‘gay rights campaigners’ speaking up for Peacock (with the single exception of  Chris Ashford of Law and Sexuality Blog).  Maybe this was because ‘gay rights’ activists are often puritanical themselves, as they try (and succeed) to separate the ‘gay’ identity from ‘homosexual’ sex, and to make it respectable and almost ‘heterosexual’.

I wrote previously at Graunwatch about how gay activists such as [redacted] have taken a dim view of men demonstrating their homosexuality in public. I am not surprised this case was not taken up by ‘Teh Gayz’.

I am also disappointed that Hodgson used this damning phrase to describe the the hypothetical man who this case is suggesting is the focus of the law:

‘white middle-class, privileged patriarch’.

Patriarchy is always the ‘enemy’ in the Guardian (an imaginary one in my opinion). And this word enables the paper to come across as ‘liberal’ and caring in a case such as this, whilst maintaining its crusade against ‘patriarchal’ pornography and the ‘pornification’ of culture that feminists claim demeans and exploits women.

I rarely identify my own sexual orientation. I take the view summed up so eloquently by Steven Zeeland, that ‘sexual identity is a joke’.

But I do identify with and even practice ‘sadomasochism’. And, whilst I welcome this verdict, I do not think it represents a big shift,  in our culture which still separates ‘good sex’ from ‘bad sex’, ‘normal’ people from ‘perverts’, or in the Guardian,which remains puritanical, misandrist, and conservative.

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Photo by Robert Mapplethorpe

I had an argument on twitter yesterday – call it a discussion- about gender and power and ‘oppression’. My position, that men do not have ‘more power’ than women, and that women are not ‘more oppressed’ than men, as a group, was laughed out of town. I was told that I was ignoring the ‘facts’ and denying the ‘objective’ truth of the situation.

I also chatted to a friend online who told me he’d received Warren Farrell’s The Myth Of Male Power as a Christmas gift. When I was still a feminist, I remember a working class man I worked with talking about this book. It was the first time I’d heard the word ‘misandry’ spoken out loud. I’m ashamed to say that I dismissed the man’s points, and went home to look up Farrell – deciding he was a misogynist and anti-women, anti-feminist, without even reading his book!

I still haven’t read the book but I am a lot more sympathetic to its themes, and the way it describes some of the injustices men face in a gendered society. For example, as regular reader stoner has pointed out, the selective service for men in America:

”In post offices throughout the United States, Selective Service posters [reading “A Man’s Gotta Do What A Man’s Gotta Do] remind men that only they must register for the draft. If the Post Office had a poster saying “A Jew’s Gotta Do What A Jew’s Gotta Do…” or if “A Woman’s Gotta Do…” were written across the body of a pregnant woman…” 28 

http://www.warrenfarrell.org/styled-2/summary.html

I am also reminded of Mark Simpson’s work. In fact, I think he mentions Farrell in Male Impersonators. In that book he also includes an incredible chapter about the miners’ strike in the UK in the 80s and its aftermath in the early 90s. He writes:

‘But it is a Star leader that makes explicit the reduction of ‘the workers’ to the ‘real men’. In a crude style not without resonance on the left, it jeers: ‘If Labour cannot do better for the miners, the founding fathers of the movement, it will prove conclusively that the party is now fit only for polytechnic lecturers, leftie lawyers and twittering* women teachers – NOT the workers’.’

The bitter irony is that media eulogies of the miners have only been possible because they are now so weak, and traditional masculinity so enervated. The Mirror offered a poster of an attractive, exhausted young miner slumped on a bench in a locker-room,posed in a sweaty singlet with a ghostly winding tower super-imposed, emerging from his leg as a kind of hazy memory of the phallus. In inviting pity, this male image also invites the gaze in a way that would have been impossible without the very changes in gender roles that it seems to lament.’

I don’t have a BIG POINT to end on. I am probably left with Foucault, as usual, and the idea that ‘power is everywhere’ and much more complex than we allow for.

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Thanks to stoner and White Mischief for input.

*twittering has another resonance now which brings me back to the start of this post!

This is another section from my post at Graunwatch about Suzanne Moore and the ‘female columnists’ campaign against ‘online misogyny’. The subject is one which is not about to go away and I am emphasising how here at QRG HQ we do not automatically accept that ‘men’ ‘dominate’ ‘women’ in society’s power dynamic. I am also grateful to regular reader and commenter Stoner with a Boner for sharing my recent posts at Feminist Critics blog. I will link back to them and follow up some of those discussions soon.

Here’s Graunwatch:

http://graunwatch.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/suzanne-moore-stupid-woman-columnist/

[Mark Simpson is] not very enamoured of ‘female columnists’. In a piece defending the beauty and androgyny of Andre Pejic, Simpson criticised Amanda Platell who he termed ‘an outraged female columnist’.

In the comments under his post, Simpson emphasised the way ‘female columnists’ such as Amanda Platell like to ‘pose as a defender of [their] sex, dressed in cliches’:

‘She’s just a hack columnist. A hack female columnist (writing for the Mail’s ‘Femail’ section) who likes to pose as a defender of her sex. Dressed in cliches.’

I know Simpson was not aiming this comment at Ms Moore, but it certainly applies to her, and all the ‘female columnists’ and ‘female bloggers’ who have emphasised their ‘femaleness’ in order to present themselves as victims of nasty men online and off.

Something else that Simpson pointed out to me in a private correspondance relating to Platell and Pejic, was that these ‘female columnists’ are not ‘silenced’ or ‘outnumbered’ by men. They dominate the broadsheets column and lifestyle sections. Almost all writing on gender in major newspapers is done by women. And if you include fashion and beauty the ‘female-dominated’ nature of this arena becomes even more marked. Mr Simpson, the leading theorist of masculinity of our times, does not have a column in a national newspaper. Ms Moore, complaining of women being ‘silenced’ by powerful men, has two.

While we are on the subject of ‘domination’ it is interesting to note that Suzanne Moore evoked a familiar figure from all of our psyches in her article: the female dominatrix. She wrote:

‘Other commentators face down the abuse or step in themselves. The last few times I have done this on Twitter I have not been polite and these guys – I am presuming they were male from their names – have apologised or told me they loved me. Since I get a Christmas card every year that says “I know when you see this is from a man you will be sick” I am fairly inured to it. Suffice to say, it comes as no surprise to me that dominatrices make the money they do.’

Here Moore is portraying ‘abusive’ men online as really underneath, just ‘submissive’ weak men. Apart from the *misandry* towards men who like to take the ‘bottom’ position in the sexual power dynamic, she is also suggesting that they deserve and want some kind of ‘punishment’ for their ‘bad behaviour’ from a strong woman.

Again Mark Simpson has already identified the ‘dominatrix’ within contemporay feminism. In an article reviewing a book defending masochism he said:

‘Ironically, the exclusion of masochism from the male psyche has produced a public scenario of their punishment and chastisement by women which continues today. The feminist is Ms Whiplash.’

Once again, I get the impression that Suzanne Moore has not read Simpson very carefully at all. And she certainly hasn’t taken on his ideas. She is just another illustration of his insights.

I however have read his work carefully and I  have taken Simpson’s model of the feminist as ‘Miss Whiplash’ and written:

https://quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/miss-whiplash-and-manboobz-the-mystery-of-the-male-feminist/

‘I am not saying feminists completely dominate men or ‘society’ in a sadistic manner. Rather that they take a punitive approach to anyone who does not go along with their dogma. If you are not a male feminist and are not masochistic in that way, you are seen as a ‘problem’ as a man, a problem that needs punishing.’

As Ms Moore’s article shows, men can’t win. If they accept their ‘punishment’ they are treated as pathetic and weak; if they don’t, they are considered to be nasty misogynists.

Over at my Graunwatch blog I have written another response to these seemingly endless claims by feminists of endemic ‘misogyny’ online and ‘abuse’ by men of ‘female columnists and bloggers’. This has really incensed me, not least because I myself am a ‘female blogger’ and yet I am continually cast as  a ‘traitor’ to my sex, and very often called a ‘man’ (as an insult).

I am including here the section of my post about misandry and how it is denied as even existing by many feminists and their supporters:

There is another word beginning with ‘m’ forming on my lips as I type this: ‘misandry’.

But oh, if we so much as dare suggest that this line that men are nasty abusers of women constitutes ‘man -hating’ we are called … misogynists. As Dorian Lynskey tweeted to Suzanne Moore earlier today:

Someone who Graunwatch admires enormously, and who, apparently Suzanne Moore also admires, Mark Simpson, has had a few things to say about misandry.

Simpson, in an article reviewing a book on the subject, termed misandry ‘the acceptable prejudice’ because nobody bats an eyelid when it is employed. He wrote:

‘Quiet Riot Girl has kindly brought to my attention the vogue online for dismissing anyone who suggests that men might face sexism as well as women with the retort: ‘what about the menz?’And it isn’t just feminists using this school-ground approach.

It’s a rather telling phrase because it tries to project the childishness of the people deploying it against the ones they want to shut up. Ironically, it also seems to depend on the ‘patriarchal’ notion of shaming the whining boy who doesn’t just sup it up ‘like a man’.

Never one to miss an opportunity to whine – or annoy feminists – I thought I’d post this review I did a few years back of a book which argues that abuse and libel of men as a sex is not only acceptable but de rigeur.

Men, say the authors, have become society’s official scapegoats and held responsible for all wickedness, including that done by women they have deluded or intimidated. Women are society’s official victims and held responsible for all good, including that done by men they have influenced or converted’.

Maybe Mark Simpson is just a ‘self-pitying woman-hating cock’. But I don’t think so. And I don’t think Ms Moore has read his work carefully enough, or given it the respect it deserves, because Simpson’s thesis is a direct and strong challenge to Moore’s whiny, misandrist feminism…

My piece ends with this (included here to explain the title):

I called this piece ‘Suzanne Moore: Stupid Woman Columnist’ quoting one of the ‘thousands’ of hate letters she has received over the course of her career. I of course don’t really think she is stupid. On the contrary she is very intelligent and very clever at getting people to think she is the ‘sensible’ voice of feminism. But she does not fool me. She does not ‘silence’ me either and I will continue to challenge her misandrist, victim feminism wherever I see it. I hope you do too.