Moff’s Law states, in a roundabout way, that critical discussions of art and entertainment will inevitably attract a commenter who says something like “it’s just a [book/movie/TV show/artwork], why do you have to analyse it???” and further that said commenter should shut the fuck up.
Because analysing art and entertainment actually makes it more fun for a lot of people.
Today’s fantastic example of this comes from Tumblr:
She is upset, devastated in a way that one is only when someone has died. And the guy’s still bothering her, like her problems are flippant bullshit and she needs to just smile or pay attention to him because ladies are supposed to be pleasing for men no matter what shit they’re going through.
19th-century art as a gateway to critiquing the “pick-up artist” movement. Brilliant.
This post comes to your courtesy of thoughts provoked by this post at Shakesville [trigger warning for sexual assault]. But really, I’m surprised it hasn’t occurred to me previously given, well, the reaction to almost every guest post I’ve ever made at The Standard.
Stop being so angry. You’re hurting the movement.
Stop talking about leftwing men committing sexual harassment/assault. You’re hurting the movement.
Stop criticising Labour, you’re hurting the movement.
Let’s think about that phrase, hurting the movement. What do [usually white straight middle-class cis men who happen to be leftwing] mean by “hurting the movement”?
Making the movement look bad? Scaring people away from the movement?
To refer back to Melissa’s post at Shakesville, I would’ve thought that tolerating, excusing, and ignoring sexual assault hurts the movement in precisely those ways. It certainly makes the movement look bad. It certainly scares some people away from the movement.
Oh, wait. I think I see the problem.
When people talk about making the movement look bad, or scaring people away from the movement, they don’t mean just any old people.
They mean other usually-white middle class hetero cis men who currently aren’t hip to the movement. They mean outsiders who are just like them, so are people they presume will get on board when they realise how awesomely cool that board is.
They don’t, i.e., mean women. They extra specifically don’t mean feminists.
And this is where another of my favourite issues comes up: the entitlement complex of the left.
Because the only way this makes sense to me is if those people who are telling feminists to shut up about fucking sexual assault are assuming that they’re safe in doing so. It’s not like we can stand up and say “well screw you and your thinly-veiled sexism, I’m voting for a party that’s openly misogynist! Haha!” It’s not like we’re all going to flip them the bird and refuse to vote at all in their inherently patriarchal set-up-for-men’s-interests system, right?*
So they feel safe saying “shut up about your silly women’s issues”. Because we have to be on their side. And gods know that they do have a tiny point in that openness about any issues in the Occupy movement will be instantly leapt upon by the media machine as proof that these protesters are just silly/stupid/ignorant/evil/selfish/dysfunctional/doomed to failure.
But it coincidentally also allows them to go on pretending to be amazing revolutionaries sticking it to The Man without questioning their privilege or deep-seated impulse to defend rape culture.
Myself, I’m a fan of professional wrestling (and True Blood, and the occasional trashy romance novel, and South Park) and a ranty feminist blogger. I can cope with the notion of actively critiquing the things I hold dear and admitting they’re not perfect. Dare you to give it a go, dudes.
*Some radfems probably will/do, but I assume the dudebros don’t tend to read their blogs.
Danyl at Dim Post doesn’t think SlutWalks are necessary or have any point or will change anything or are really serious and omg feminists aren’t a hivemind so it’s all doomed to fail.
In lieu of merely typing *EYEROLL* a few thousand times, some shoutouts to those with the spoons and ability to respond to Danyl without just saying (as I did on Twitter last night) OH THANK YOU, DANYL, NOW YOU’VE PASSED YOUR ALMIGHTY JUDGEMENT ON WHAT FEMINISTS SHOULD BE THINKING, DOING AND WEARING I’M GOING TO JUST GIVE THE WHOLE THING UP SINCE WHAT I WAS REALLY AFTER ALL THIS TIME WAS A MAN TO LAY DOWN THE LAW.
You don’t think the right for women to choose their own clothing is important? What do you think about restrictions on women’s clothing in religious countries? Recently a (conservative) Israeli paper erased two women from a picture – I’m sure you’re familiar with this – they don’t print images of women for, you know, the usual reasons: women are dangerous. Our bodies, our images. The way we dress. Our visibility. These women were pretty conservatively clothed: there is *nothing* women can wear to avoid this! “The right to dress like a slut” doesn’t exactly have a ring to it when you put it that way, no. But the right to be seen? The right to be heard? The right to see and the right to speak? *those* are the rights that the word “slut” is used to curtail.
How shameful I find a particular woman’s outfit is a measure of how fucked up I am, not a measure of anything about her. Just a pity the late-night streets are a smorgasbord of male fucked-up-edness.
I personally avoid skipping the other comments due to victim-blaming, mansplaining and some wonderfully petty Danyl v Russell Brown wank.
Lesson for the day, kiddies:
Saying you’d consider docking a tax credit to [in-work] families to pay for earthquake recovery is just a completely political-context-free statement.
Criticising that statement for unnecessarily politicizing the earthquake aftermath is policitizing the earthquake aftermath.
Thus spake Cactus Kate. Also: as a Standard guest poster, am I also a Labour MP in disguise, or maybe a Green?*
Tim Watkin has a nice take on this … up till the point where he demonstrates a lack of understanding as to the difference between anonymous and pseudonymous blogging.
But then I feel somewhat safe assuming Tim has never seen his blogging result in losing a high-profile job, victim blaming, rape threats,** death threats, or having people call your local police station demanding a copy of your rape report.
Gee, why would an angry feminist like me, writing in the 4-million-people-2-degrees-of-separation land of NZ “hide” behind a pseudonym given all that?***
*Internet cookies to whoever creates an OKCupid poll to determine this.
**Oh, what do you know, a link about a Kiwi bloggerdouche targeting a Kiwi feminist blogger. Quelle surprise.
***Because I’m actually Trevor Mallard, duh. Our styles are so similar.
The “reflective statement” required of an unnamed male teacher who was lightly slapped on the wrist with a wet bus ticket for saying things to Year 11 students such as “Bend over and I’ll take a photo of your tits” has been acquired by Ideologically Impure staff. We reproduce it in full here.
Reflective Statement of A Fucking Tool
Over the past few weeks I have learnt many things in a mandated behaviour management course.
I have learnt that just like my former students I too can pass a course by showing minimal interest in its contents, not visibly falling asleep or texting my mates, and memorising the model answers from last year’s class.
I realise I have made many mistakes. The comments I made to students were inappropriate and in any just society would have seen me cast out from the teaching profession because I am clearly a lecherous fucking douchebag.
However, I have been given a second chance and I am grateful for that.
In future, I will change my ways. I will only sexually harass students who are really vulnerable, or whose word and dignity will be completely discounted because they’re ratbags. I will be more menacing in my approach and ensure my victims are too scared of the consequences to rat me out.
My blunt approach, in asking a student if she was a virgin, was absolutely wrong. From this day hence my come-ons and harassment will be more subtle, quieter, vaguer, relying on societal indoctrination to make my victims question if I actually said what they thought I said, or believe that it must be a misunderstanding and they’ll just get into trouble if they make a fuss.
I believe I have changed. I am no longer a man who will be caught sexually harassing fifteen-year-old girls over whom I have authority. I promise to make amends to the teaching profession by encouraging an atmosphere of silence and intimidation amongst all pupils in my care. To the other teachers at my unnamed school, I can only vow that they will never have to face a pupil telling them about my actions, because none of those bitches will talk if they know what’s good for them.
Finally, I want to thank the Teachers’ Council for unleashing me upon the teenaged girls of New Zealand once more.
I’m really just too flabberghasted by the fact that this opening paragraph from a Jezebel article (others have linked, I shall not give them direct traffic) is apparently serious, and got all the way to publication, to really say anything:
Having just returned from living in Paris, I feel more convinced than ever that America gets many things wrong about sex. Right there near the top of the list is our attachment to the idea of consent.
Emphasis mine, though this level of fail doesn’t really need it.
Apparently “Edward Pasteck”* wants to continue writing! I can only wait with bated breath for his musings on how [different ethnic/national group] women are so [blatant sexual stereotype] and could definitely teach [those bitches who won’t sleep with him] a thing or two about fluffing neckbeards’ egos.
*Whose “book about love he wrote while living in Paris” is sure to provide your correspondent with oh, so many more opportunities to cuss like a lady.
From Hoyden About Town direct, two very simple ways to stop the sexual predators who yes, you do know and are friends with from committing rape:
Refusing to affirm speech that is abusive of women and supportive of rape culture is a mitzvah, because that shit is wrong whether the person saying it is a rapist or not, and if people are “just” saying it without thinking it through then this might make them rethink and stop doing that, which will do them and the people around them nothing but good.
And via the Hoydens, at abyss2hope: Seven Simple Responses Which Help Support an Anti-Rape Culture.
When someone says, “The only way to prevent sexual violence is to teach girls and women how to avoid danger,” respond with, “And I suppose the only way to prevent gun crimes is to teach people how to dodge bullets.”
There’s a lot being written about his sense of entitlement (or rather, the exaggerated nature of a sense of entitlement hardly unique to him). And a lot of people uncritically quoting the line from his blog about calculating exactly how many million “desirable” women there were (Lord knows he wasn’t bitter about the ugly “hoes” who weren’t putting out). And of course, the Nice Guy (TM) phenomenon is getting a bit of attention; and this article at Salon gave me an eye-opening moment.
Because we’re taught to be polite, submissive, and generous even when men are making us uncomfortable, we automatically reach for the “nice guy, but…” out….
Guys, you are not being rejected because you are too nice. Niceness is a positive characteristic. I doubt any straight woman — even the kind with a stated preference for “bad boys” — has ever said to herself, “Hmm, I’d be really into this guy if he weren’t so compassionate, thoughtful, and respectful. If he’d just dick me around and insult me a little more, I’d want to rip his clothes off.” If you get rejected by every woman you approach, the problem could be a million different things, but I guarantee it’s not that you’re just too kind for your own good.
There’s an ancient, but pointed, joke.
Q. What’s the difference between a slut and a bitch?
A. A slut is a woman who sleeps with everyone. A bitch is a woman who sleeps with everyone except you.
Suddenly, reading the Salon article, the skies parted, angels sang in heavenly chorus, and BOOM! Epiphany.
Listen up, Nice Guys: the idea you cling to, that women only like jerks/assholes/bad boys?
Is totally valid.
When your definition of “jerk” is “guy currently fucking the woman you want to fuck“.
And if you’re the kind of guy who conceptualizes women as a binary of “do/do not want to fuck”, and perceives all other men – especially men currently in relationships with women in the first category – then guess what?
We’re probably saying “you’re a nice guy, but …” because you give off a fucking creepy vibe and we do not want to have a confrontation with your insecurity and belief that you are owed sex by the universe.
And that’s on top of the fact that as women we’ve probably been told from day 1 of our existences to be demure/polite/quiet/dignified/submissive/accepting/passive/accommodating/to not make a fuss/cause a scene/disturb other people/shriek/nag/bitch/be shrill/loud/assertive/independent/strong/autonomous.
Not that that’ll be taken into consideration when we’re sexually harassed by higher-status influential rich white men or anything.
Two articles of vague interest to the Dr Worth story:
Honest John plays strong hand, or How I learned to stop worrying and love my lack of journalistic integrity, by Richard Long. Two tiny wee points:
For Mr Goff, this saga was a publicity godsend. A real live sex scandal so early in the term.
There seems to be some serious mileage being made out of the idea that it is totally plausible that a politician honouring a person’s confidentiality and taking things to the PM privately is just a cunning tactic to make the PM look even worse.
Perhaps in these fragile economic times, tinfoil stocks are looking surprisingly healthy?
And seriously, Richard, like many other rightwing trolls, it appears you haven’t been informed that Helen Clark isn’t even in the country any more:
We can all recall occasions when Opposition leaders have had to demean themselves to make the news bulletins… Miss Clark, at the margin of error level in the opinion polls, once leaped from a river bank on to inflated rubber tubes and was pictured at impact, legs splayed. Thank goodness she was wearing a wetsuit.
It’s Ms, and it’s a bit rich for a journalist to be complaining about the media’s choice of photograph, and the total obliviousness to just how much it says about Richard Long’s attitude to women that he has to find a sexually-implying phrase to describe her position is at once staggering and hilarious. Yes, Richard, we get it, if she hadn’t been wearing a wetsuit one might have seen her naughty bits and you’re a proper red-blooded man who shies from such things and anyway she’s ugly, amirite?
Actress in stalker crossbow attack horror: *Callousness Alert* Tonight, Simon, I’m going to be playing every idiot troll commenter of the last week:
The man had been sending Casanovas love letters and confronted her after her performance in Night of the Iguana.
WHY DIDN’T SHE JUST TELL HIM TO STOP? GEEZ. HE OBVIOUSLY WOULDN’T HAVE KEPT SENDING HER LETTERS UNLESS HE HAD SOME ENCOURAGEMENT, GOD.
He attacked her after she told him she wanted nothing to do with him.
And no, obvious commenters, no I am not saying Richard Worth is a potentially violent stalker. And no, I’m not equating text messages with a physical attack. And no, “normal harmless guy” and “violent stalker” are, tragically, not mutually-exclusive always-identifiable-in-advance only-options-available. Not that you care, yes?
Over at The Standard, the “how should Worth’s alleged victim(s) have reacted?” debate continues with everyone’s favourite psychic, Cactus Kate.
The case as given by CK and others is that if a woman doesn’t* instantly and firmly react to all and any inappropriate behaviour with a strident “YOU CAN’T AFFORD ME, SWEETHEART, BACK OFF”** well then she has no one to blame but herself.
They then go on to say that, therefore, that all people like me who defend Witness A and attack Worth’s alleged behaviour are the real misogynists, because we think women are passive victims who can’t stand up for themselves.
Which is fantastically logical for people living in a world where sexual harassment goes along the following lines:
- Strange man approaches woman
- Strange man says “Hey, I’d like to hire you, maybe in return you could suck my cock?”
- Woman “stands up for herself”.
- Strange man immediately ceases all inappropriate behaviour.
Unfortunately, human interaction only ever goes like that in the movies and the inside of Cactus Kate’s head. But then, she also thinks people having coffee with a Minister of the Crown to discuss potential job opportunities should take a friend in case things turn nasty, and that victims of sexual harassment are suspect if they keep records – just like the Human Rights Commission advises them to.
I’d like everyone to please consider this: you’re at a cafe in Sylvia Park.*** Over at another table you see a well-dressed older man having coffee with a woman. You may even recognise this man as a former partner at Simpson Grierson Law, or as the Member of Parliament for Epsom, or as the Associate Minister for Justice.
Suddenly, the woman bolts to her feet and declaims, “HOW DARE YOU OFFER ME EMPLOYMENT IN THIS CRUMMY CAFE, SIR! DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN!” and storms out.
Now, how many of you are going to think, “What a fracking weirdo!” and how many of you are seriously going to think “You go girl, stand up for yourself to that pillar of the community offering you employment in a public space!”
Because that’s how it starts. A working lunch. A celebratory drink after work on a Friday. An email asking how your weekend went. And here’s the deal, folks. If you’re going to argue, “Oh no, she didn’t need to rebuff him then, I meant later on when things got inappropriate” you fail. There is no clear line between “professional meeting with utterly no sexual intentions whatsoever no sirree” and “oh, now I’m sexually harassing you.” If we’re going to accept Cactus Kate’s theorem that women should Stand Up For Themselves, it’s got to be right from the get-go.
It’s got to mean shooting down every man who wants to get you a coffee after you’ve done him a favour. It’s got to mean even bluntly refusing to do a coworker or superior a favour in the first place. It means never letting a guy be nice to you, never letting a guy buy you flowers on your birthday or after a big project winds up or when a close relative dies, because if you won’t say fuck no get away from me I have no sexual interest in you whatsoever at the slightest provocation, well, how is he meant to get the message?
Because after that first step – which to you is just coffee or flowers or a pat on the back – your lack of strident strong-independent-woman smackdown is giving him the wrong impression.
But hey, when you can’t get hired because you’ve developed a reputation as an insane overreacting bitch who can’t take a compliment without thinking it’s a come-on**** and you’re still getting dirty texts from your ex-boss because entitled harassing fucks will keep stalking you no matter how often you say no, be comforted with the fact that you stood up for yourself and you’ve made Cactus Kate proud.