Monthly Archives: January, 2018

QotD: “What does Hollywood’s reverence for child rapist Roman Polanski tell us?”

Forty years ago this week, Roman Polanski went from being one of the most celebrated film-makers in the world to becoming the United States’ most notorious fugitive from justice.

On 1 February 1978, after 42 days in jail, Polanski fled the US while awaiting final sentencing, having pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. On these facts, everyone agrees. There are no hazy conspiracy theories – we know exactly what happened because Polanski admitted to it and later wrote about it in astonishing detail in his autobiography, Roman by Polanski, published six years after he left the US and went to France, where he still lives. There are some quibbles about who said what, but the generally agreed facts are as follows: in March 1977 Polanski, who was then 43, took a child, Samantha Gailey (now Geimer), who he knew was 13 years old, to Jack Nicholson’s house to take photos of her for a magazine. There, he gave her champagne and, according to her, quaaludes. He then had sex with her, drove her home and, the next day, was arrested.

The facts have never altered. What has changed is how this case is discussed in the public sphere. For a long time, the simple – and somewhat simplistic – divide was that while people in mainland Europe viewed Polanski as a tragic artist undone by US prurience and corruption, Americans saw him, as he put it in his autobiography, as “an evil, profligate dwarf”. But, in truth, for many British and US actors, working with Polanski never lost its cachet, and arguably had even more once he became excluded from the US mainstream. Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Winslet and many more have appeared in Polanski movies in the decades since his conviction, and questions about why they were working with a convicted child rapist were seen as tacky, proof of a rigid mind more focused on gossip than art. When Winslet was asked last September whether she had any qualms about working with Woody Allen, another director accused (but, unlike Polanski, never arrested and never charged) of a sex crime against a minor, she replied: “Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director. So is Roman Polanski. I had an extraordinary working experience with both of those men, and that’s the truth.”

When the Harvey Weinstein story broke last October, the reaction among the movie industry was wide-eyed shock that someone so many of them knew and worked with could be a rapist. “I didn’t know. I don’t tacitly approve of rape,” said Meryl Streep. And yet only a decade and a half earlier, Streep had stood and applauded when Polanski won best director at the 2003 Oscars, not so much tacitly approving rape as explicitly celebrating a convicted child rapist. If only anyone had known about Weinstein they would never – never! – have worked with him, movie insiders say. And yet, for the past 40 years, many of them have been falling over themselves to work with a self-confessed child rapist, even defending him by pointing to his artistic credentials. Debra Winger described Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland in 2009 as a “philistine collusion”. Reactions to Weinstein come soundtracked with the distinct sound of bandwagon-jumping; thanks to the #MeToo campaign, the public mood is firmly on the side of listening to victims, and Hollywood has keenly followed suit. On Sunday night, at the London Critics Circle awards, only months after defending Polanski and Allen, Winslet spoke tearfully about “bitter regrets I have at poor decisions to work with individuals with whom I wish I had not. Sexual abuse is a crime, it lies with all of us to listen to the smallest of voices.” Yes, if only there had been some way Winslet could have known about these decades-old cases before signing on to work with two directors accused of sex crimes! This kind of hypocrisy about Polanski makes you wonder how serious the industry really is about dealing with this problem, as it claims to be.

Hadley Freeman, continue reading here

Analysis: Why Are Even Women Biased Against Women?

Women are sexist too. Even avowed feminists are found to be unconsciously biased against women when they take ‘implicit association’ tests. Mary Ann Sieghart asks where these discriminatory attitudes come from and what we can do about them. Evidence for women’s own sexist biases abounds. In one example, female science professors rated the application materials of ostensibly male applicants for a lab position considerably higher than the identical documentation of ostensibly female candidates, in an experiment with fictitious applicants where only the names were changed. The reasons for the pervasive bias seem to lie in the unconscious, and in how concepts, memories and associations are formed and reinforced from early childhood. We learn from our environment.. The more we are exposed to sexist attitudes, the more we become hardwired to be sexist – without realising it. So what to do? Does unconscious bias training help? Or could it make our implicit biases worse? A good start might be to tell little girls not that they look so pretty in that dress, but to ask them what games they like to play, or what they are reading. And so teach them they are valued not for how they look, but for what they do.

QotD: “35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partnered sexual violence at some point in their lives.”

More or Less is a BBC Radio 4 programme that investigates the use of statistics in everyday media; today’s broadcast looks at an advert by the UK branch of UN Women about rates of sexual violence against women and girls, called ‘Draw a Line’.

The programme is available on iPlayer; it’s the first segment, and approximately six minutes long, so it’s a quick and easy listen.

The first thing is that they confirm the statistic that two women a week in the UK are murdered by a current or ex-partner.

Next, they look at the claim that, for 1 in 3 girls, their first sexual experience is coerced, which is more complicated. The claim comes from a 2005 WHO report, which studied ten different countries, all of which have very different rates of sexual violence.

14-30% of women in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, and Tanzania, reported being forced to have sex, while fewer than 1% of women in cities in Serbia, Montenegro and Japan described their first sexual experience as forced. The big difference is due to age, in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, and Tanzania the women were reporting rape from within child marriages (when they were girls under the age of fifteen).

The presenter interviewed Claudia Garcia-Moreno, the woman who co-authored the report, who doesn’t think we have the data yet to support the 1 in 3 claim globally; she and her team are still working on violence against women and girls, and have collated studies on physical and sexual violence against women and girls from around 75 countries, and have come to the conclusion that:

“35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partnered sexual violence at some point in their lives.”

The figure of a third is one that keeps recurring in different studies from around the world (but there are many countries with no data collection at all). The Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that around a third of women report experiencing domestic abuse at some point in their lives.

QotD: ‘The Shill’

Today’s Sinfest

QotD: “sex as emotionless and the body as a tool”

Seeing sex as emotionless and the body as a tool is depicted [in the story of the sex worker] as positive; this is ‘how it has to be done’ and a woman who can’t separate the body from the Self isn’t the right person for the job. (…) When the woman repeats her mantra: I am not here, it will be over soon, what should I have for dinner?, only ten more minutes, focus on the money – the story of the sex worker is there to support her. It says: No, you are not here. You are a businesswoman, an entrepreneur: what is being prostituted is only a ‘thing’. Deal with it, you are strong, a heroine! The story of the sex worker acts as a cheerleader standing on the sidelines, cheering for the split Self.

Kajsa E. Ekman, Being and Being Bought – Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self

(Found at The Bewilderness)

QotD: “Listen your feminism should benefit all women”

Listen your feminism should benefit all women. And looking at 2nd wave feminism it did. It benefited the women who said they didn’t need feminism. It benefited the women who told radical feminists that they would be happier with a husband, and should shut up. Even if these women can’t understand the movement, true feminism (based on liberation) will benefit them regardless. I can’t say the same about liberal feminism… I don’t agree with their stance because it WONT benefit even those who call themselves liberal feminists…they want legalized prostitution we know that will only harm women, they’re normalizing pornography and the incorporation of physical violence in the bedroom, we know the harmful effects of this. they want to destroy female exclusive places that were fought for and we already have examples of this going terribly, they’re making it impossible to even talk about sex based oppression. I can’t see a post about fgm without people equating it to circumcision. Liberal feminists believe there’s nothing to distinguish them from their oppressor other than fucking pronouns. How the fuck it is supposed to get better???


QotD: “Racism is patriarchal. Patriarchy is racist.”

Racism and patriarchy are not two separate institutions that intersect only in the lives of Black women. They are two interrelated, mutually supporting systems of domination and their relationship is essential to understanding the subordination of all women.

… Racism makes the experience of sexism different for Black women and white women. But it is not enough to note that Black women suffer from both racism and sexism, although this is true. Racism is patriarchal. Patriarchy is racist. We will not destroy one institution without destroying the other. I believe it is the recognition of that connection – along with the recognition of difference among women – that is truly revolutionary.

Dorothy Roberts, Racism and Patriarchy in the Meaning of Motherhood

(Found via AndreaDworkinWasRight)

QotD: “On one level, this is nothing more than high-level trolling”

I was a feminist in the early 1990s. We may not have had hashtags back then, but we still had our anger. I was 16 when, in 1991, marital rape was finally made illegal in England and Wales. Writing for The Spectator, the journalist Neil Lyndon described the change in law as a being motivated by a “terror of Eros”, condemning a feminist orthodoxy which “insists that male that male sexuality is actively antagonistic to women”. It’s strange to note how similar this language is to that which appears in many of today’s woman-led attacks on #metoo. The frankly idiotic suggestion that description is prescription – that women make themselves victims by naming their victimhood – has its roots in men’s rights activism, but has been repackaged as nuanced, rational feminism more times than I’d care to remember.

The most obvious example of this may be the 1993 book The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism, written by the same Katie Roiphe now associated with the outing of the author of the Shitty Media Men list. The cooler-than-thou tone and lazy, half-baked arguments throughout this book could form a template for today’s attacks on #metoo. Responding to what she sees as the extremism of “rape-crisis feminists”, Roiphe goes all-out to present basic observations of social reality as examples of self-inflicted victimhood (“by viewing rape as encompassing more than the use or threat of physical violence to coerce someone into sex, rape-crisis feminists reinforce traditional views about the fragility of the female body and will”. Coercive control? Never heard of the thing!).

On one level, this is nothing more than high-level trolling. What are statements such as “rape is a natural trump card for feminism” and “regret can signify rape” supposed to do, other than cause offence? Yet at the same time, this type of trolling can slowly get under the skin. As Ariel Levy was to put it in Female Chauvinist Pigs, “Nobody wants to be the frump at the back of the room anymore, the ghost of women past. It’s just not cool.” The association of women having sexual boundaries with women being weak and passive is false, but it becomes compelling if the message is repeated often enough.


#Metoo will help individual women and push our understanding of consent that little bit further along – and by way of a thank you, it will no doubt be remembered as a movement led by extremist, hysterical sexphobes. Such is the way of these things. We’ll talk about “that time when feminists took things too far” and we’ll blame this “taking things too far” for the fact that we’re still fighting the same old battles.

It’s happened before, it’s happening now and it will happen again. That it will keep on happening is proof of the intractability of patriarchy, but also of the fact that we never give up. There will always be backlash because there will always be feminism. In the future we won’t be saying #metoo – but I hope we will still be defending our bodies and boundaries.


“ignored safe word blooper porn”

This says it all really, ‘safe, sane, consensual’ is a flimsy façade, and women being hurt is a funny joke.

It’s ‘Slut Walk’ all over again

The tweets speak for themselves really, the March on Vancouver has chosen a trans-identifying male ‘sex worker’ as a speaker, confirming their commitment to men, the sex industry, and patriarchy in general.

The response to criticism from ‘Hailey Heartless’ and other sex industry advocates is to threaten physical violence against radical feminists generally, and Meghan Murphy in particular, including the creation of a hashtag stating ‘fuckmeghanmurphy’.

That’s fuck radical feminists, not fuck violent men, because liberal feminism is all about ‘protecting’ violent men.