QotD: “I think it changes nothing”

How do you feel about BDSM with a Dom woman and sub male? I know your not a fan of BDSM , and I’m sure you’ve answered something like this before, but I’m curious as to how you feel on that dynamic.

I think it changes nothing.

There is such a thing as “topping from the bottom”, and from my experience within that scene, whenever I saw a FemDom situation, you could always tell who was calling the shots.

And it was rarely ever the woman.

Most of the time, she would do precisely what the man said—whereas a male Dom would tell a female sub “this is what we’re doing, like it or leave”.

It was just another example of some woman performing sexuality for a man.
I didn’t find it quite as toxic, because honestly I did see a lot less overtly abusive behaviour—but I also saw a LOT less FemDoms, to the point where the second I changed my profile status baaaaack in the day, I got about a hundred messages from men I didn’t know “just saying hello”, within about 24 hours.

So, I don’t think it changes anything, not really.

Appropriately Inappropriate

“Phones don’t hurt women; misogynists do”

The education secretary Nicky Morgan is proposing a “curriculum for life” to help young people deal with what the Guardian calls “modern social issues brought on by the internet age.” These are, we are led to believe, new issues. Brand new, never-been-seen-before, state-of-the-art sources of teenage angst, such as sexting and revenge porn.

True, there was nothing like that in my day. We just had boring, hands-on sexism – sorry, did I just say sexism? It seems we’re not supposed to mention that. It might be the driving force behind this particular misuse of communication technology but no one seems willing to say. Looking for a hierarchy? Nothing to see here. We are meant to think this stuff is just happening at random because “modern times.” There’s no link between rampant individualism and Tory policies, and absolutely no connection between a form of abuse which targets women in particular and sexism at large. It’s just that smartphones were invented before we had time to work out what to do with them. Right? Or are we just finding another way to talk around misogyny because to actually confront it would be more than we could bear?

Morgan mentions NSPCC research showing that “six in 10 teenagers have been asked for sexual images or videos online.” What she does not mention is the very clearly gendered nature of the NSPCC findings. Indeed, the researchers explicitly state that “no understanding of sexting would be complete without an appreciation of the extent to which an often completely normalised sexism constitutes the context for all relationships–both on and off-line”:

As researchers going into the schools to meet with young people, we were distressed by the levels of sexist abuse and physical harassment–even violence–to which the girls were subject on a regular basis. […] Perhaps the broadest level at which sexism operates in the young people’s lives is to be found in the deeply rooted notion that girls and young women’s bodies are somehow the property of boys and young men.

This is not some gender neutral trend. It is young men seeking to claim ownership of young women’s bodies. What’s more, this is nothing mordern at all.

It is utterly pointless to talk in vague terms, as Morgan does, about “peer pressure or coercion” (pressure from whom? who is being coerced?). Pointless, too, to suggest that “the internet and the advance of the digital age […] bring new pressures”; what they bring are new weapons for men to use in their age-old war on women. You can complain about the weapons, sure, but it’s a morally vacuous complaint if you’ve no interest in ending the actual war.

Glosswitch, continue reading here

“How great is the stigma attached to rape?”

The Home Affairs Select Committee have announced that unlike people accused of any other crime, those accused of sex crimes (including rape) deserve anonymity until charged. It’s a decision that has been made without consulting rape victims or rape support charities, instead appearing to be motivated by sympathy for the DJ Paul Gambacinni, kept on bail for 12 months over an allegation that was eventually dropped. According to Committee chairman Keith Vaz “we have seen how destructive [releasing names] can be to a person’s livelihood, causing irreparable reputational damage and enormous financial burden.” We have also, one would think, seen how damaging rape – which happens to an estimated one in five women – can be, but apparently that’s less measurable (or less important?). In any case, the belief that a “special stigma” attaches to rape, making those accused more in need of protection from publicity, persists.

Personally I find it strange to think that we live in a world so appalled and outraged by rape that those accused of it are social pariahs. If that were the case, surely we wouldn’t be surrounded by men telling women that forced penetration and sexual coercion are perfectly fine. A world in which great stigma is attached to rape itself is not a world in which …

  • Teenage boys film themselves raping young women and share it on social media
  • The BMJ reports a “climate of coercion” surrounding anal sex, with men reporting attempts to “accidentally” penetrate women on purpose
  • UK politicians still seek to make distinctions between “serious rape” and what is presumably the non-serious kind
  • More than a quarter of people in the UK think drunk victims of rape or sexual assault are at least partly responsible for what happened to them
  • Male university students publicly chant “no means yes, yes means anal” outside the halls of female students
  • A third of male college students in the US say they would “act on intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse if they were confident they could get away with it”
  • The UK student website UniLAD tells readers that since 85% of rapes go unreported, “that seems to be fairly good odds,” before reminding them that “Uni Lad does not condone rape without saying ‘surprise’”
  • The victim of rapist footballer Ched Evans has been forced to change her name and move more than five times due to being hounded by strangers
  • An estimated 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year

This is not a world in which rape is seen as a truly abhorrent act of violence. It is joked about. It is excused. It is filmed and shared between friends. It is committed time and again, by men who believe it is normal (just don’t say the “r” word, at least not outside your own circle of friends).

The stigma, if there is one, has nothing to do with rape itself. It’s to do with naming it. It’s to do with being accused. An accusation breaks all the rules. You haven’t properly overpowered a victim if she then complains. Her complaint makes you a Rapist with a capital “R,” as opposed to someone who merely “coerces” (every man coerces, doesn’t he? Coercion’s when you get away with it and that’s just fine).

I don’t believe for a minute that the tiny number of men falsely accused of rape suffer more than the tens of thousands of women raped every year who see no justice at all. Only someone who believes men are more human than women – or that forced penetration is no big deal since that’s what women are there for – could dare to think otherwise. If a false accusation of rape is more traumatic than one of, say, burglary or murder, this isn’t because we think rape is more abhorrent. We don’t. Perhaps men feel pressured put on a show of distancing their behaviour and beliefs from those of someone who’s been “officially” labelled a rapist. Or maybe there’s a particular shame – a form of emasculation – associated in having your socially approved right to take penetrate more vulnerable bodies legally questioned. Whatever it is, it’s not that we think rape is worse than other crimes. We just don’t like having to think of it as a crime at all.

Glosswitch, full article here

QotD: “you cannot envision your life without access to videos of strangers fucking each other”

When we present to you the myriad and varied harms of pornography, and you immediately counter with “well, that’s why we need more feminist/free-range/vegan/fair-trade porn,” what you are actually saying is this:

That you are currently dependent on pornography, that you cannot envision your life without access to videos of strangers fucking each other, and that someone had better produce some porn you can use without having to feel like an asshole.

AntiPorn Activist Network

QotD: “My understanding of masculinity is that it refers to behaviour that is constructed by and serves to maintain male dominance”

My understanding of masculinity is that it refers to behaviour that is constructed by and serves to maintain male dominance. Masculinity is not just that which pertains to men, since men can be seen, and consider themselves, to be insufficiently masculine… Masculinity is not, then, a biological fact, something connected with particular hormones or genes. Masculine behaviour or appearance or artifacts, and design, signify ‘manhood’ as a political, not a biological, category. In this understanding masculinity cannot exist without its supposed opposite, femininity, which pertains to female subordination. Neither masculinity nor femininity make sense or can exist without the other as a reference point.

Sheila Jeffreys, Unpacking Queer Politics

(Found at the Bewilderness)

“Grooming bans could stop child sex abuse say councils”

Councils in England and Wales want new powers to combat predatory men suspected of grooming children for sex.

They want the government to introduce so-called child sexual exploitation disruption orders which councils could apply for through magistrates.

Sanctions to prevent the grooming of vulnerable children are too limited, says the Local Government Association.

It says orders could be used against anyone suspected of grooming, banning them from certain places or activities.

David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, told the BBC that, for example, suspected offenders might be banned from hanging around outside named schools, shops or restaurants at particular times or being in the company of young people.

Councils would have to apply to local magistrates to obtain the orders, says the LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales.

Evidence from abuse inquiries from Oxford to Rotherham heard that time and again, police and social workers had no means of intervening to prevent the grooming and sexual exploitation of children, until they had evidence that a child had already been harmed, it adds.

The LGA wants the next government to introduce a bill to bring in the disruption orders in its first term.

“Few parents would be comfortable if their children were spending their time in the company of older men and coming home with expensive gifts and smelling of alcohol – but the reality is that there have been concerned mums and dads who have had to stand by, powerless, as their children have been groomed by vile sexual predators,” said Cllr Simmonds.

“We need to make it easier to intervene earlier before harm is done.

“By making it possible for councils to apply swiftly to the courts for an order to disrupt grooming we can help prevent the lives of children being ruined by sexual exploitation.”

The LGA says the orders would be designed to target people suspected of grooming children, to put a safe space between them and their victims.

Victims would not be required to testify when an application for an order was heard, it adds.

From the BBC

QotD: “If there were any feminist men the feminist women would not know it because those guys would be talking to men, not mansplaining feminism to women and vying for leadership in feminist groups”

If there were any feminist men the feminist women would not know it because those guys would be talking to men, not mansplaining feminism to women and vying for leadership in feminist groups.

The Bewilderness

If the majority of men were decent human beings the subjugation of women would have ended hundreds of years ago. Men prefer exploitation to cooperation. History teaches us if we are willing to learn.

The Bewilderness

“40% of teenage girls pressured into having sex”

Physical violence and abuse also a factor in 20% of relationships, new research finds

Research published today reveals that more than 4 in 10 teenage schoolgirls in England* have experienced sexual coercion. Most were pressured to have sex or other sexual activity, but some cases included rape.

Controlling online behaviour by partners, through constant checking of their social network activity, sending threatening messages or telling them who they could be ‘friends’ with was closely associated with young people experiencing violence or abuse from their partner offline.

Pornography influencing teen attitudes to sex and relationships

The researchers found that a high proportion of teenage boys regularly viewed pornography and 1 in 5 harboured extremely negative attitudes towards women.


Pressure to send sexual images

England had the highest rate for children exchanging sexual images and messages with a partner among the countries surveyed.

More than 4 in 10 (44%) girls and just under a third (32%) of boys in England had sent them to their boyfriend or girlfriend. Just over 40% of girls who sent them said they had been shared by a partner with others.

Just under half of girls and boys in England had received them. Around a quarter (27%) of girls sent messages and images because they felt pressurised by a partner to do so.

Young people who reported violence and abuse in their relationships were at least twice as likely to have sent a sexual image or text compared to those who had not.


Sex education urgently needs updating

We are calling on the government to take action to ensure teenagers get a clearer message about healthy relationships.

Claire Lilley, head of child safety online said:

“The levels of victimisation revealed by this research shows action is urgently needed by the government to make updated sex and relationship education a statutory right for every child and young person. There needs to be a greater focus in schools on topics such as sexual exploitation and violence against girls and young women, as part of a balanced curriculum.

“The high rates of sexual coercion discovered need to be addressed through education and awareness raising that challenges attitudes and helps change behaviour. We need to nurture children to have positive relationships based on mutual respect.”

The highest rates of sexual coercion were reported by teenage girls in England. Around 1 in 5 (22%) also said they had suffered physical violence or intimidation from boyfriends, including slapping, punching, strangling and being beaten with an object. In interviews with 100 of the children, many said the pressure to have sex was so great it almost became ‘normal’ and in some cases rape was not recognised.

Report by the NSPCC

QotD: “Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs”

Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs. This is an old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master’s concerns.

Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider

(Found at the Bewilderness)

“The Whoredom of the Left”

Prostitution is the quintessential expression of global capitalism. Our corporate masters are pimps. We are all being debased and degraded, rendered impoverished and powerless, to service the cruel and lascivious demands of the corporate elite. And when they tire of us, or when we are no longer of use, we are discarded as human refuse. If we accept prostitution as legal, as Germany has done, as permissible in a civil society, we will take one more collective step toward the global plantation being built by the powerful. The fight against prostitution is the fight against a dehumanizing neoliberalism that begins, but will not end, with the subjugation of impoverished girls and women.

Poverty is not an aphrodisiac. Those who sell their bodies for sex do so out of desperation. They often end up physically injured, with a variety of diseases and medical conditions, and suffering from severe emotional trauma. The left is made morally bankrupt by its failure to grasp that legal prostitution is another face of neoliberalism. Selling your body for sex is not a choice. It is not about freedom. It is an act of economic slavery.

On a rainy night recently I walked past the desperate street prostitutes in the 15 square blocks that make up the Downtown Eastside ghetto in Vancouver—most of them impoverished aboriginal women. I saw on the desolate street corners where women wait for customers the cruelty and despair that will characterize most of our lives if the architects of neoliberalism remain in power. Downtown Eastside has the highest HIV infection rate in North America. It is filled with addicts, the broken, the homeless, the old and the mentally ill, all callously tossed onto the street.

Lee Lakeman, one of Canada’s most important radicals, and several members of the Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, met with me one morning in their storefront office in Vancouver. Lakeman in the 1970s opened her home in Ontario to abused women and their children. By 1977 she was in Vancouver working with the Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter, founded in 1973 and now the oldest rape crisis center in Canada. She has been at the forefront of the fight in Canada against the abuse of women, building alliances with groups such as the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network and the Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution.

Lakeman and the shelter refused to give the provincial government access to victims’ files in order to protect the anonymity of the women. They also denied this information to the courts, in which, Lakeman said, “defense attorneys try to discredit or bully women complainants in criminal cases of male violence against women.” This defiance saw the shelter lose government funding. “It is still impossible to work effectively in a rape crisis center or a transition house and not be breaking the Canadian law on a regular basis,” said Lakeman, who describes herself as being increasingly radical.

Lakeman, along with the radical feminists allied with the shelter, is the bête noire not only of the state but of feckless liberals who think physical abuse of a woman is abhorrent if it occurs in a sweatshop but somehow is acceptable in a rented room, an alley, a brothel, a massage parlor or a car. Lakeman is fighting a world that has gone numb, a world that has banished empathy, a world where solidarity with the oppressed is a foreign concept. And, with upheavals ahead caused by climate change and the breakdown of global capitalism, she fears that if mechanisms are not in place to protect poor women the exploitation and abuse will increase.

“We have never stopped having to deal with misogyny among activists,” she said. “It is a serious problem. How do we talk to each other as movements? We want to talk about coalition building. But we want new formations to take women’s leadership seriously, to use what has been learned in the last 40 or 50 years. We deal with the most dispossessed among women. And it is clear to us that every sloppy uprising, or every unplanned, chaotic uprising, devastates poor women. We need to have thoughtfulness built into our practices of revolt. We do not want the traditional right-wing version of law and order. We work against it. We do not call for a reduction in men’s rights. But, without an organized community, without state responsibility, every woman is on her own against a man with more power.”

“We are seeing a range of violence against women that generations before us never saw—incest, wife abuse, prostitution, trafficking and violence against lesbians,” she went on. “It has become normal. But in periods of chaos it gets worse. We are trying to hang on to what we know about how to care for people, what we know about working democratically, about nonviolence, yet not be subsumed by the state. Yet we have to insist on a woman’s right not to face every man alone. We have to demand the rule of law.”

“Globalization and neoliberalism have accelerated a process in which women are being sold wholesale, as if it is OK to prostitute Asian women in brothels because they are sending money home to poor families,” she said. “This is the neoliberal model proposed to us. It is an industry. It is [considered] OK … just a job like any other job. This model says people are allowed to own factories where prostitution is done. They can own distribution systems [for prostitution]. They can use public relations to promote it. They can make profits. Men who pay for prostitution support this machinery. The state that permits prostitution supports this machinery. The only way to fight capitalism, racism and protect women is to stop men from buying prostitutes. And once that happens we can mobilize against the industry and the state to benefit the whole anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggle. But men will have to accept feminist leadership. They will have to listen to us. And they will have to give up the self-indulgence of prostitution.”

“The left broke apart in the 1970s over the failure to contend with racism, imperialism and women’s freedom,” she said. “These are still the fault lines. We have to build alliances across these gaps. But there are deal breakers. You can’t buy women. You can’t beat women. You can’t expect us to coalesce on the ‘wider’ issues unless you accept this. The problem with the left is it is afraid of words like ‘morality.’ The left does not know how to distinguish between right and wrong. It does not understand what constitutes unethical behavior.”

Chris Hedges, continue reading here


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