Tagged: slut-shaming

Things I do/don’t care about

I don’t care :

Where Len Brown sticks his cock

I do care :

That our media seemingly were on the edge of their seats waiting for a just-credible-enough story to appear on W****O** so they could breathlessly report it.

That it took approximately three nanoseconds for our media to decide that what their coverage really needed was the most infantilising, racist lens possible.

That anyone with a good idea how these stories work knew from the word go that it will be Bevan Chuang who ultimately pays the price in terms of reputation – in five years Len Brown will be “the first Mayor of the Auckland supercity” and she’ll still be his “mistress” – and that Cameron “Wankstain” Slater and Stephen “Woman found dead” Cook absolutely knew this and didn’t care.

That a lot of people being sanctimonious about this story right now are cheating on their spouses, and we may never know – and it wouldn’t be any of our business anyway, but it certainly puts their criticism in a different light.

That plenty of liberal men seemingly were on the edge of their seats waiting for an excuse to use the phrase “honey trap” and feel fully justified in doing so because “well she was“.

That once again if you’re a shitheel rightwinger throwing mud you still get called a “journalist”.

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Teacher abuses position to slut-shame a teenager, gets a slap on the wrist – how moral!

‘I’ve got four years’ good conduct, I have-‘
‘No, that was four years’ Not Found Out,’ said Vimes.

– Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

An unnamed teacher at an unnamed Catholic high school has been disciplined after calling one of her students a “slut” and – in a move which really doesn’t seem to be outraging people as much as it should – scornfully referring to that student having an abortion.

As Coley put it,

It’s interesting that a lot of the commentary about the teacher who called her student a slut hasn’t mentioned that the teacher was holding /

A class on abortion being evil knowing at least one of her students had terminated a pregnancy. And made her stand on a chair 4 not behaving

(1, 2)

The teacher has not been barred from teaching again, because apparently we excuse gross breaches of people’s privacy if they’re tired and emotional and have:

a previously unblemished record.

The above quote from Pratchett’s excellent novel Night Watch sprang to mind, for obvious reasons.

Let me illuminate the point with some personal anecdata.  At my Catholic high school – and if I ever find out this is the same one I’m going to have some fucking unladylike words to say – some girls were told in an RE class that if they didn’t believe in God they would go to hell.  And when they told another teacher that – several of them with the exact same story, mind – they were told “no, [X] wouldn’t have said that.”  Never mind that several girls from the same class were all saying they’d been told the same thing, it was simply hand-waved away on the basis that it couldn’t possibly have happened.

It probably helps that no one left the class in tears, or – and I have to guess here because the story has very few details – has parents who won’t accept that kind of shit, or an ally on the staff.

The opening paragraph of the Herald article says the teacher “[referred] to her having an abortion in front of classmates”.  Think about that framing.  It’s as though the problem is she let some little secret slip, or that it was only problematic because other people were there.  And let’s compare that with what the teacher actually said:

The teacher said words similar to “stop acting like a S-L-U-T” …The teacher then referred to the girl being pregnant and said words to the effect of “if you think having an abortion makes you an adult then it doesn’t”

And let’s remember that this is a Year 10 class, and let’s think the fact that the pupils in that class are 14-to-15-years old, and let’s consider how vicious and unethical a person you have to be to:

  • Know a pupil in your charge who is under the age of consent has had an abortion
  • Force her to sit through a lesson about “Pope John Paul II’s stance on abortion” (spoiler:  used the phrase “culture of deatha lot) – or not even have enough empathy to think about how it would affect her
  • When she (strangely enough) gets disruptive, punish her and – because you really want to demean her – not only call her a slut but spell it out like she’s a toddler having a B-A-T-H
  • Throw the fact she’s had an abortion back in her face – right after a class which has happily laid the ground for everyone to feel moral and righteous about judging and persecuting people who have abortions

I feel quite comfortable stating that this person shouldn’t be allowed near young women, much less in charge of them.

But all she gets is a slap on the wrist and a ruling to “inform” any future employers about what she did.  Like that’s going to hurt her employment chances.

Remember, it’s the antichoicers who are the compassionate, moral ones, and us nasty feminists who actually hate women.

Slutwalk 2012

This weekend sees the second Wellington SlutWalk, which I am attending.

Because there’s still a lot of discussion and questions and concerns around the whole concept of SlutWalk (and probably will be until the vaginocracy perfects its hivemind technology) I want to recap why I support SlutWalk (in general).

It’s because SlutWalk is a big, flagrant middle finger to mainstream, acceptable attitudes which basically dictate all women need to stay indoors dressed in nuns’ habits because damned if we actually care to stop people committing rape.

It’s because SlutWalk is a gateway protest.  I know, far be it for me to preach breaking things to people gently, but the fact is if a group predominantly made up of “respectable” middle-class white women, most from the ever-self-centred Generation Y, stand up and say they aren’t taking some shit, people pay more attention.

What we have to absolutely make sure of is that we don’t stop there and say “oh well, white cis women are OK so let’s go do brunch”.

It’s because SlutWalk makes you feel not-alone in a world constantly invading your head with rape culture and victim blaming.  It lets you know people care.  And within its privileged framing (see below) it sends a hell of a message.

There are large numbers of people in this world who will happily state in the anonymous sewer of Stuff comments that women are like billboards, rape is just men’s way of “reacting” to Hot Chicks, that victims do indeed deserve blaming.  I’m just saying this:  if any of those sad fucks were at last year’s march, I sure didn’t see any of them having the spine to say it to our faces.

It’s because this whole thing kicked off in January 2011 when a Toronto police officer told a group of university students that to avoid being attacked, women shouldn’t “dress like sluts”.

And in May 2012, Whanganui police are saying women shouldn’t walk or jog alone in the CBD.

This shit is not okay.  It’s not actually acceptable.  And when I go to SlutWalk, I and everyone else marching will hopefully be sending a big old message:  we won’t tolerate our police force saying women should live in fear.  We won’t tolerate society excusing violence because the victims dared to live their lives, dress up, have a few drinks, or even stay at home and expect not to be attacked by their friend or partner or ex.

The issues

SlutWalk is by no means perfect.  In the first place, I want to hope that this year we won’t see repeats of that incident.  We won’t see women wearing faux burqa.  We won’t appropriate other struggles just because it’s easier than developing our own language.

Let’s be honest, someone will.  Someone who isn’t thinking about comparative privilege or intersectionality, someone who’s just focused on her own particular types of oppression (oh look, history of white Western feminism coming at ya).  In a way, that’s part of why I want to be there – because the people who are on our side for the wrong reasons need to be educated just as much as the people we’re opposing.

SlutWalk is never going to be able to tackle the totality of sex-policing in our society – not when some groups of women are considered so lowly, so unable to refuse consent, that the word “slut” isn’t really a weapon used against them.  Not when some groups of women are considered unrapeable, and any assault – even murder – committed against them isn’t really seen as a crime.

I do find it ironic, as someone who is so often hardline and unwilling to compromise, that despite all these things I still support the concept of SlutWalk.  But it does feel good to do something, and I do believe it has the potential to start off change which we can spread to other, less-“obvious” (to the privileged) forms of sexual oppression.

More reading:  a 2011 SlutWalk post roundup; my 2011 post on why I attended SlutWalk

Time to show if you care about women, Mana

It’s a bit shit for a political party to have a Facebook page, ostensibly to reach out to potential voters, and then leave it unmoderated so that said potential voters, when asking questions about your policy, can be called “whores” and “lezos” by your supporters, n’est-ce pas?

Your move, Mana.

PS. Please don’t just delete-and-pray, though, the screenshot finger is twitchy tonight.

PPS.  Just let Sue Bradford at him and all hope will be restored.

PPPS.  More thoughts at The Storyteller Project.

I’m having sex with multiple invisible partners right now

I’m again ceding the floor, this time to Gravey who lays it all down on Kiwi women’s “promiscuity”:

You sure as fuck are not a logician – these things are NOT a consequence of promiscuity. And fucking comments like yours do not help. Binge-drinking is NOT at the root of teen depression, it is one of the symptoms of it.

Shit, Gravey, here I was thinking young Kiwis were just horrid drunks/sluts/drunken sluts because they were inherently bad people.

I just can’t get over this.  Claiming that women who like to fuck are the cause of all the world’s violence and depression.

Well, our boobs do cause earthquakes.

This slut is made for walking

Soooooooo the big ol’ SlutWalk issue.  The ultimate expression of grrl power ever or massive enforcement of the dominance of cis white voices in gender-oriented progressive politics?  THAT IS THE QUESTION.  Nah, that’s just me being trite.

That Whole Reclaiming Thing

The aspect I probably have the least issue with is the reclaiming of “slut”, because it’s a reclamation I’ve made for years.  Back in my Livejournal days I was a member of a community called sluts4choice, a group with a stated goal of fucking with the heads of antichoice scum by saying yes, we enjoy sex and yes, we can have abortions if that goes wrong and no, we aren’t going to keep our legs shut or apologise or play the moralistic but-my-contraception-failed-and-I’m-monogamous-and-my-life-was-in-danger, the distancing oh-I-support-choice-but-I’ve-never-had-a-dirty-yuck-abortion games.

And it was pretty fucking successful, and pretty damn empowering.  I was a freaking virgin when I joined s4c, and for years during the beginning of my life’s quest to piss off antichoice scum online.  And I was able to take that word, that entire message which was being used to control and monitor people’s (primarily women’s) sexuality and say “So.  Fucking.  What.”

It taught me that “slut” was one of the thermonuclear bombs in the misogynist arsenal (used primarily against white cis women in this way) because it was so fucking amorphous, so completely devoid of concrete meaning, it could be used against any of us and it worked because it was so ingrained in us to flinch, to withdraw, to immediately deny its assault on our (white cis) feminine dignity.

And when a white cis girl says nah, actually, I’m not going to be shamed into silence and I’m not going to make excuses to justify myself and qualify my defence of reproductive justice … well then antichoicers generally get paternalistic and pearl-clutchy and “I am ashamed of you, young lady” (another assault playing to our privilege because of course we should be expected to behave) … but eventually they shut up and fuck off, because there’s plenty of other “oh but I don’t believe abortion should be used irresponsibly” hacks out there to harass into incremental surrender.

These are my reasons.  They don’t resonate with everyone and plenty of people choose not to reclaim slut, like other slurs – and as a lot of the critiques of SlutWalk have shown, it’s not a word that means the same thing to people who aren’t in a predominantly white, cis, middle-class Western environment so it’s not something they want or even feel they can reclaim.

That Whole Privilege Thing

SlutWalk is a protest form very specific to a certain sector/region/culture/demographic of the world, and one that generally has a lot of privilege and often dominates feminist discourse and certainly feminist media coverage.

This is a problem when it means that that privileged demographic gets more than the lion’s share of mainstream public attention, and when organisers start insisting that actually, it is a protest that does work for everyone and if you’re a marginalized person who ain’t feeling it then well you are just wrong because the nice white ladies say so.  It’s a problem when /if the word “slut” becomes the be-all and end-all of sexual policing of people, primarily women, and the only way in which victims of sexual assault are ever silenced.

I don’t think these latter things have necessarily happened in the SlutWalk movement as a whole (the white cis women telling other marginalized women to shut up and get under the umbrella definitely has).

I like to think (and come from a position of privilee in doing so) that kyriarchal policing of sexuality and behaviour is something we can attack at all levels simultaneously: at the level of police officers telling college women not to dress like sluts, at the level of poor women of colour working in service jobs being targets for rich white men like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, at the level of sex workers being assumed to have no ability to refuse consent or treating rape as “theft of services”.

The trick with SlutWalk is to make sure that we don’t just spend all our energy and vigour on it.  The trick is to not sit back afterwards and pat ourselves on the back and then [in many cases, continue to] ignore the voices of other women and other groups who need our white cis asses to get in behind them – without fucking everything up by dominating the conversation and taking over and talking about ourselves all the time, thanks.

The Criticisms I Find Kinda Hilarious

You’re just giving men what they want!

Because “men” (I’m assuming here we use the term to describe “soulless hetero cis automatons of the patriarchy who are motivated solely by the whims of their cocks”) definitely “want” to see a pack of cis women and allies walking down the street chanting Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me and refusing to accept sexual assault being ignored via victim-blaming.

You’re actually making it harder for young girls!

Because young cis girls definitely need to have it reinforced to them that the word slut is bad and evil, and they will totally have the analytical skills to deduce that this is because it’s a patriarchal weapon of oppression.  And they won’t basically end up associating “slut is a bad word” with “being a slut is bad” and ending up in the same fucking mess of questioning their feelings and urges and sexuality that their older sistren are already in.  It would definitely be damaging for them to see large numbers of women marching in the fucking streets saying actually, we refuse to be shamed, actually, we refuse to accept your judgement and in 100% of cases would never lead to an awakening of feminist thought.  At all.

You’re just making this all about what women are wearing!

Sorry, were you paying attention?  Cause, um, I’m not sure how to break this to you, it’s already about what women are wearing, because of that whole don’t dress like sluts to minimize your chances of getting raped thing, which does in fact go back just a liiiiiitle bit further than this one Toronto douchebag (sorry, good peeps of Toronto).

IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT WHAT WOMEN ARE FUCKING WEARING.  Now go back to your pre-101 readings and look up male fucking gaze, objecti-fucking-fication, fucking beauty standards, and basic fucking victim blaming.  In the meantime I will happily collect whatever ridiculous sums people like Gail Dines get paid to talk out their asses.

~

NB  I’ve used the qualifier “cis” a lot here.  I don’t think SlutWalk is universally or automatically exclusive of trans* people but it is an issue that has been raised and I want to avoid just referring to “girls” or “women” when my points are generally more relevant to cis women.

Mother of all (Australasia-centric) SlutWalk roundups

Wellington SlutWalk is coming up on 25 June, and I’m going to be there.  But there’s a hell of a lot of different views out there on the SlutWalk phenomenon,and gosh darn it if I don’t think this is a damn good discussion for feminism to be having.

I don’t agree with all the perspectives linked and cannot vouch for the safety or non-triggering-ness of comments on other blogs.  It’s also going to be pretty Southern-Hemisphere-centric!

New posts added at the top:

The stupid, it burns at news with nipples (whom I give major points for persisting with a “I’m not blaming the victim, I’m just saying your short skirt will get you raped” commenter)

An Open Challenge to mainstream media re SlutWalk Sydney at Hoyden About Town

In Defence of SlutWalk at Versatile Identities

SlutWalk: A testimony by a transgendered man

Brief Thoughts at iced-chai

Octavia Spitfire – Walk don’t walk – how we remain BFFs is beyond me for clearly we girlish harpies cannot handle disagreement or divergence from the hivemind.

Kiwiana (one of the Slutwalk Aotearoa organising crew!) on SlutWalk Aotearoa and victim-blaming

News With Nipples on “personal responsibility” and what effect SlutWalk could have

Racialicious – To March or Not To March

Clem Bastow (a Melbourne SlutWalk organiser) in The Age – Hey girls, we’re all sluts now

Karen Pickering, another Melbourne organiser, on Crikey

Another View at The Angry Black Woman (Muslim WOC perspective)

LudditeJourno – However we dress, wherever we go

Crunk Feminist Collective: Slut Walks vs Ho Strolls

A link round-up at Feminist Frequency (critical)

Small round-up at the Institute of Feminist Legal Studies (mixed)

Related but not directly on topic:  Chally asks Are We Really Going To Do This? (see also Part 2)

Post your own links in comments!  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some utter corkers of posts!

Next up on Ideologically Impure:  my own view on the whole damn thing!

SlutWalk: I guess we’ve been told!

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.

Tui:

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.

Psycho Milt:

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.

Privileged whinging and spamtrolls: Nature’s way of saying you’re doing it right

Last Thursday I made a post about the Newlands College dean and her many fans who think it’s totally reasonable to call a pupil under her authority a slut.

My points were pretty basic feminist analysis:  slut-shaming is a phenomenon of using sex to control women’s behaviour; skirt length rules in school uniforms are inherently sexist and based on the same notions of policing women’s appearance and behaviour.

But oh my, did that piss some people off.

Ladles and jellyspoons, the QoT semi-annual How Stupid Are You? awards!

First up, to the whinger who started it all, I present the Male Privilege:  Lurkers Support Me On Facebook award to

Chris

Chris just wanted to clear things up, people!  He just felt there were important matters to be address about how, um, the girl in question is evil!  And her parents cried to the media!  And, um, how dare you question the school which he totally has no connection to, except that he knows all the people involved and … oh shit, there I go Googling things and blowing his cover.

Then your beloved QoT looked at her blog stats and holy shit was she getting a lot of traffic from Facebook, and all of it to one post … and then other people posted using their real names and whaddaya know if they were all friends on Facebook too … and then I bemoaned the fact that apparently all of those mass-panic docos about young adults being oblivious to the consequences and lack of privacy of the internet were correct all along.

Once I started moderating all comments and posted to that effect, what do you know but Chris came along again to let us all know it totally wasn’t his fault and he totally didn’t condone the trolling of my blog by his friends.

And if we had any doubts about Chris’ privilege?  Well, there went that.

Chris, it must be wonderful to live in a dreamworld where just posting a link to a person’s blog, presumably with some kind of “this horrid person is totes denying me my freedom of speech!” has absolutely no predictable, negative consequences.*  It must be great to have such a sunny view of your Facebook friends that you honestly thought they would truck along here and say “Gracious QoT, I do humbly beseech you consider the most eloquent commentary of Chris, for he is verily a man of good heart”.

I would frankly love to live in this world of yours, where it somehow comes as a surprise, in the context of a post about women being attacked using sexist language, that the people on the side of the person using sexist language might also use sexist language.

But Chris need not have any fear of a double-award evening today, for the Do You Even Know Where You Are? award goes to his pal

Jordan

who decided that the problem Chris was having was obviously down to me not being able to read or something, so he repeated Chris’ but-she-was-evil-and-she-did-break-the-rules post down to a T.  Please note that’s “repeated”, not “summarised”, because dear Christ do these people wax lyrical.

I say it again because apparently this can’t be said enough:  anyone can start a blog.  It is quick and easy and free and then you can talk shit about whatever to your heart’s content.  How the hell do you think Ideologically Impure got started?

Jordan’s crimes went on to include having a moan about “just” wanting an “open-minded” discussion and all the usual “it’s not derailment if it’s me derailing” excuses, but he earned a special place in my heart when this popped up in my inbox:

QoT do you have a feminist stance?

And that’s why he’s a winner tonight, for achieving that perfect balance between obliviousness and trollbait, leaving the moderator to ponder, “Is this a joke?  But it sounds so sincere.  But … surely a joke?  Maybe he hasn’t read any other posts.  But … what about the tag cloud?  Or the other comments?  Or the actual post he IS commenting on?  SO CONFUSED.”

Jordan, you should be very proud right now.  With such subtle trollery you have a great career as a privileged asshole in front of you.  Alternatively, with such massive obliviousness you must lead a charmed life.

Our final category recognises that some people have great potential but just can’t go the distance without attention from enemies and peers alike.  The Is That All? award goes to

Bob

for sending 8 identical comments  in 48 minutes trying to make your blogger feel self-conscious about being a righteously angry feminist (using much smaller words, of course).

The judges felt Bob got off to a strong start, but failed to grasp that the art of the true spam-troll relies on volume and speed, not waiting to see if the fifth identical comment got deleted like the four before it before posting the sixth.

They noted however that Bob probably wasn’t helped by the utter lack of interest shown by his friends at bodybuilding.com in his surprisingly amateur “let’s troll this feminist like real men!” post.  Presumably they had better things to do, like, um, talk about actual bodybuilding.

In conclusion, dear readers, one thing is clear:  anti-feminist trolls and over-entitled privileged white boys are but two sides of the same coin.  Each thinks that what you have to say can’t possibly be important if it’s not something they agree with, but the former merely wants to bully you into silence while the latter desperately wants you to stroke his intellect-cock and tell him he’s a clever boy.

Stunningly, both types actually think they have a right to wave their asses in your space.  They don’t actually comprehend that you are the one in control, because the joys of being privileged little men mean they’re used to people bowing and scraping and letting them walk around with no pants on because they Deserve To Be Heard.  And because they conflate “stating my viewpoint” with “everyone agreeing with me”, they’re never content to just comment, “I disagree and here’s why.” and then go away.  As soon as someone engages with them and says “Well you’re actually wrong and off-topic”, they simply must keep talking until you agree or start deleting their comments – which has nothing to do with their behaviour, it’s obviously because you know you’re wrong but like a total girl you just can’t handle being wrong.

And of course they can’t possibly be off topic, because if they think something is relevant to the debate (usually because it Totally Proves Them Right) then it must be and how dare you point out that it’s irrelevant, it’s actually a much more important conversation to have so you must have it now!!!

The only thing we can do, dear friends, is remember that these sad little people will always find someone to pamper their egos and tell them that of course they’re allowed to walk around with their ass showing.  But we do not need to pamper them or even acknowledge them, because our blogs are our spaces and there is actually no obligation on anyone to put up with asshattery or provide teaching moments to those who plainly do not see there is anything to learn.

Besides, nothing pisses off these douchebags like never letting their crap see the light of day.  Poor diddumses, to never have their awesome smackdowns of the silly feminists (or people of colour or people with disabilities or any types of activist bloggers) published so everyone can say “YOU ARE SO RIGHT MR TROLL, YOU ARE AWESOME AND YOUR BLOG-COCK IS TRULY MAGNIFICENT”.  Don’t you feel sorry for them?

~

*I make the assumption here, because I have no idea, that Chris’ post was somewhat innocuous and not of the “fuck this bitch is a bitch fuck her let’s spam her blog” nature, but that’s because I apparently have some faith left in humanity.  Besides, oblivious male privilege fits the bill so well here that I don’t think we need put Chris on a level with his friend Bob further down.

The joys of comment moderation and the misconception of free speech

Dear friends,

My blog is currently experiencing a highly flattering influx of LOL GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN comments, which I’m sure are nothing to do with a commenter on this post running away to Facebook to whinge about Being Silenced By Nasty Feminists.*

As such, comments are being moderated until the petty wankstains fuck off.  Carry on!

ETA: Comment policy updated.  Suck it and see what your prize will be.

~

*As stated in that post, of course I don’t give a shit what people publish, or don’t publish, on their Facebook pages; but if you’re going to try and summon an army of support, at least tell them to use creative pseudonyms that can’t be immediately traced back to you, as the impact of a half-dozen critical comments is somewhat lessened when they’re all obviously your mates.