Posts Tagged ‘Assange’

I had some adventures in Stalinism, I mean feminism yesterday and today. I may well write about them in more detail at a later date. It is no coincidence that all my interactions, which involved me getting blocked from ANOTHER feminist blog, and being called an ‘asshole’, and a ‘contrarian’ and a ‘troll’, were to do with discussions about rape and rape law and reporting of rape in the media.  RAPE- IT KEEPS FEMINISM ALIVE

But here is a conversation I have just had on twitter. I would be interested to hear your observations about how it progresses and what that may say about feminist discourse…

I am sure he is a jerk. Possibly worse. He is most certainly a narcissist, an egoist.

But I find the way this man is being used by various groups, various interests, to hammer home their version of ‘what makes a man, a man?’, quite disconcerting.

According to Liberal Conspiracy, Assange did an interview with Private Eye in which he said the Guardian ‘failed’ his ‘masculinity test’ in the way they dealt with him and the rape accusations story.  That is obviously a ridiculous way of portraying a newspaper’s editorial policy. Even if I did find some of the Guardian’s reporting of the case pretty pathetic. I wouldn’t call it ‘unmasculine’!

And yet, there are people- feminist, ‘liberal’ people on the whole, who are somehow trying to say that Assange himself is ‘unmasculine’ because ‘real men don’t rape’, because he is a lecherous ‘creep’. Because he is obviously guilty of something.

Someone on twitter today wondered what the ‘questions’ would be to Assange’s ‘masculinity test’

‘Do you think ‘no means no’?’ quipped someone else, quick as a flash.

I said to a feminist columnist I hoped she wasn’t going to write about Assange (I am tired of the discourse of ‘rape’ it is reproducing over and over).

‘You love him. You want to marry him!’ she teased, as if we were teenage girls at school, ribbing each other about the school Pick Up Artist.

Then there’s the jokes comparing Assange to other ‘disgraced’ men in the media at the moment, such as Charlie Sheen, John Galliano and Colonel Gadaffi. As if they are all just laughable, pathetic creatures. Pathetic men.

‘I imagine being touched by the Holy Spirit feels a lot like drinking a psychic cocktail made of Assange, Sheen and Gaddafi’ went one tweet.

‘At least Assange knows he can get discounts on suits for his next court appearance from Galliano’ went another, tying in Galliano’s anti-semetic rant with Assange’s more oblique references to ‘Jewish conspiracies’ in the media in the process.

And here is  a pictorial representation of a parody of the ‘Masculinity Test’ which is bound to become comedy legend before the week is out:

I just don’t find this stuff funny. Especially because, if anyone ever dares to ‘make light’ of ‘rape’, to make ‘jokes’ that refer in any way to sexual violence or non-consent (Keys springs to mind and the hellfire and damnation he received for saying ‘I’d like to smash it’, as does Brian McFadden’s new pop song, in which he says he wants to ‘do some damage’ to his girlfriend when she’s drunk), they get it in the neck from feminists and their allies. They get called ‘misogynist’.  But are these jokes against Assange misandrist?

I don’t have any interest in this person as an individual. Some of the details that have been published of the accusations against him have given me serious pause for thought, as basically the incidents described sound pretty similar to quite a few situations I have been in, in sexual relationships/encounters with men. But I never thought of my experiences as ‘rape’. It’s made me a bit depressed in a way. It’s reminded me that quite often, sex between men and women can be a battleground, a site of power and conflict, and not in a ‘good’ ‘consensual’ way. Thats life.

But I have even less interest in this creation of a comedy ‘idiot’ man figure. A man who isn’t a real man. Not like those decent upstanding men that we all know and love and marry. Not a Guardian-reading, tweeting, father of two, who does the school run and makes risotto for dinner. You know the kind of guy. The kind that would probably find me pretty unpalatable as a ‘woman’.

I don’t like Assange. But somewhere, somehow along the line, I have come to feel for him.

Is that allowed?

I read that in the guardian the other day. The bit about how sometimes you might not want it at first, but then you do…it is so much like all those bloody film scenes where the woman fights the hero off, and then goes limp and moony eyed. It is this whole romanticism of she didn’t think she wanted it, but then his sheer manliness overpowered her. It’s bullshit. but that is what Robertson seems to think about women, and rape. That we all want it really, even when we say we don’t. It makes me feel a bit sick in my mouth to be honest’

This comment was left on a discussion about the Assange case. Another discussion with feminists about something I think is very important that I got hounded off. But fuck it I will bring these discussions here.

The commenter raises a very interesting point, about how she thinks Assange’s lawyer in the extradition case has presented ‘rape’, as if it was a kind of Mills and Boon type story of a dark, manly hero taking the wench and overpowering her. As she secretly wanted all along.

My question is this: if those stories are so common and so much a part of our consciousness, not just in Mills and Boon, but also in classical literature-the picture above is a representation of Wuthering Heights, for example. And also, as the commenter says, in film and popular culture. If this narrative of the strong masculine, dominant man and the weak, submissive woman is so prevalent in our discourse is there some truth in it? Or rather is it embedded deep in our psyches?

I don’t know what to think about the Assange case anymore or even Robertson QC’s remarks, that feminists have found so offensive. But I do know it is a very interesting example of how we portray heterosexual sex /relationships in our culture.

The feminist narrative is not actually any different from the romantic one, except that it always involves the man ‘overpowering’ the woman against her will. Which, if you think about it, makes him out to be even stronger, even more dominant, even more powerful than the versions of the story which say she eventually is overcome by feminine desire for him.