QotD: ‘Why women only?’

sinfest-2017-01-21

Sinfest

QotD: “If you don’t agree with the central aims of a political movement, you aren’t part of that political movement”

All this nonsense about whether prolife women can be feminist is such liberal identity bullshit. Feminism is a political movement, not an identity. If you don’t agree with the central aims of a political movement, you aren’t part of that political movement. I don’t go around calling myself a conservative and then getting offended when people point out that I don’t actually support the goals of conservatism. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course, but you’re not entitled to lay claim to a political descriptor that doesn’t accurately describe you and then throw a fit when someone points this out.

Myterus

QotD: “positivity for male violence is the logical outcome of a culture that only asks for equality and validation instead of working to achieve liberation”

positivity-for-male-violence-is-the-logical-outcome-of-a-culture-that-only-asks-for-equality-and-validation-instead-of-working-to-achieve-liberation

i see lots of positivity for soft boys but what about rough boys!
boys who curse
boys who yell and scream
boys who love horror and gore
boys who stay out all night
boys who love to get dirty
boys with cuts and bruises and bloody knuckles
boys who cant help arguing and fighting
gbt boys who dont fit the feminine stereotype

positivity for male violence is the logical outcome of a culture that only asks for equality and validation instead of working to achieve liberation.

Laurier Rose

QotD: “Testosterone Rex”

“Testosterone Rex”, Fine’s target, is the name she gives to “that familiar, plausible, pervasive and powerful story of sex and society”, which holds that inequality of the sexes is natural, not cultural. After all, testosterone makes men tall, hairy and deep-voiced; it makes a certain superficial sense to imagine it also produces other characteristics we think of as masculine, such as leadership, violence and horniness. For example, neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen (the Alien to Fine’s Ripley in the dispute over brain sex) calls the hormone “that special substance”, and credits it with inducing all manner of adaptive qualities in those creatures fortunate enough to produce large amounts of it. T is the king.

This is an explanation that’s really a justification. If Baron-Cohen was correct that hormones make the man or woman, and we are what we secrete, then efforts to end male dominance would be futile at best and possibly downright harmful. But this, of course, assumes that “Testosterone Rex” is fact when, as Fine compellingly argues, it’s actually fiction. It’s a powerful fiction that shapes our society and our bodies in profound ways, yes – but it’s still a fiction, and one that in no way deserves to be enthroned in our understanding of ourselves.

Sarah Ditum, reviewing Cordelia Fine’s new book Testosterone Rex, full review here.

QotD: “2017 feminist tips”

6) everything is rape culture except porn and sex work, even though most women in those fields are repeatedly raped. “baby it’s cold outside” and “blurred lines” are rape culture but rape porn is empowering.

From Yourkinkisnasty, read all the tips here!

QotD: “otherwise thoughtful men have been educated about women and sex through pornography”

Men do not believe that rape or battery are violations of female will in part because men of influence have consumed pornography in the private world of men for centuries. Men of sensibility and intelligence and cultural achievement have always incorporated its values into their mainstream cultural work in art, religion, law, literature, philosophy, and now psychology, films, and so forth. In many cases, these otherwise thoughtful men have been educated about women and sex through pornography, which they see as hidden, forbidden sexual truth. The most enduring sexual truth in pornography—widely articulated by men to the utter bewilderment of women throughout the ages—is that sexual violence is desired by the normal female, needed by her, suggested or demanded by her. She—perpetually coy or repressed— denies the truth that pornography reveals. It is either/or. Either the truth is in the pornography or she tells the truth. But men are the tellers of truth and men are the creators of and believers in pornography. She is silenced altogether—she is not a voice in the cultural dialogue, except as an annoying or exceptional whisper—and when she speaks, she lies. She hides and denies what pornography reveals and affirms: that she wants it, they all do. He has the power of naming and in pornography he uses it to name her slut: a lewd, dissolute, brazen thing, a whore always soliciting—begging or demanding to be used for what she is. Women, for centuries not having access to pornography and now unable to bear looking at the muck on the supermarket shelves, are astonished. Women do not believe that men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. From the worst to the best of them, they do.

Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women

(found at the Bewilderness)

Male perceptions of women are askew, wild, inept. Male renderings of women in art, literature, psychology, religious discourses, philosophy, and in the common wisdom of the day, whatever the day, are bizarre, distorted, fragmented at best, demented in the main.

Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women

(found at always ask who benefits)

QotD: “We can’t have a women’s movement if we don’t call ourselves women”

I think it is most appropriate to make the first post of 2017 a call for female, feminist solidarity, please read Sarah Ditum’s article in full here.

There are females, of course […], but “female” is not counted as a gender identity. Female is written out. Inside the magazine, you’ll find features which reveal that, actually, femaleness is a highly pertinent characteristic: you can read about the poverty and violence inflicted on girls in developing nations, the pressures of bullying and body-shaming on girls in America, and how the two-tiered market in children’s toys might be harming girls through pinkification. Being female is a matter of life and death, but, per the cover, “female” is not a label under which people may gather.

Here I suppose I should concede National Geographic’s good intentions. National Geographic did not, I assume, deliberately set out to produce an issue showing that female people are exploited and abused for being female, while also announcing that “female” does not exist. Nor is National Geographic doing anything particularly new or shocking by deleting women as a class: reproductive rights organisations now talk about “pregnant people” rather than women in order to be “inclusive”, and even references to vaginas can be damned as transphobic. But if it the express motivation of this cover had been to tauntingly depoliticise everything the inside pages have to tell about the place of women and girls in the world, the patriarchy would give it a 10/10 for threat neutralisation.

[…]

In the circumstances, wanting out of the class “woman” is eminently rational. And being a woman is only going to get rougher in Trump’s America. Michelle Goldberg is correct in her bleak, eloquent Slate column when she writes that Trump’s presidency means the backlash is on. Abortion rights, protections against sexual discrimination, action against sexual violence – these things will be the first to go. Even if you don’t “feel female”, you will be exposed by being female. A label is no defense against male violence. You can disown your body, but your body is too valuable a commodity to be left alone. It can make babies. It can make dinners, mop floors. It can make a man orgasm. You are a resource to be colonised, and simply stating that you are not one by refusing the title “woman” will never function as a “keep out” sign.

To survive, to resist, we need to organise. To organise, we need to acknowledge what we hold in common. Throughout feminism’s waves and wanings, that’s been the basis of every success: identifying the oppressions imposed on us as women, and working together as women against them. Our female bodies are the battleground, and we can’t escape that even if we deny it by claiming some variant identity such as “non-binary” or “bi-gender”. We need a women’s movement. Even those of us who think we don’t need it, will need it. And for that, we need to call ourselves – our female selves – women, without compromise or qualification.

QotD: “A 20-year toll: 368 gymnasts allege sexual exploitation”

No one knows exactly how many children have been sexually exploited in America’s gyms over the past 20 years. But an IndyStar-USA TODAY Network review of hundreds of police files and court cases across the country provides for the first time a measure of just how pervasive the problem is.

At least 368 gymnasts have alleged some form of sexual abuse at the hands of their coaches, gym owners and other adults working in gymnastics. That’s a rate of one every 20 days. And it’s likely an undercount.

IndyStar previously reported that top officials at USA Gymnastics, one of the nation’s most prominent Olympic organizations, failed to alert police to many allegations of sexual abuse that occurred on their watch and stashed complaints in files that have been kept secret. But the problem is far worse. A nine-month investigation found that predatory coaches were allowed to move from gym to gym, undetected by a lax system of oversight, or dangerously passed on by USA Gymnastics-certified gyms.

USA Gymnastics calls itself a leader in child safety. In a statement responding to IndyStar’s questions, it said: “Nothing is more important to USA Gymnastics, the Board of Directors and CEO Steve Penny than protecting athletes, which requires sustained vigilance by everyone — coaches, athletes, parents, administrators and officials. We are saddened when any athlete has been harmed in the course of his or her gymnastics career.”

The organization noted several initiatives aimed at creating a safer environment, including the use of criminal background checks for coaches, the practice of publishing the names of coaches banned from its competitions, and programs that provide educational materials to member gyms.

But IndyStar’s investigation found:

• USA Gymnastics focuses its efforts to stop sexual abuse on educating members instead of setting strict ground rules and enforcing them. It says it can’t take aggressive action because member gyms are independent businesses and because of restrictions in federal law pertaining to Olympic organizations. Both are contentions others dispute.

• Gym owners have a conflict of interest when it comes to reporting abuse. Some fear harm to their business. When confronted with evidence of abuse, many quietly have fired the suspected abusers and failed to warn future employers. Some of those dangerous coaches continued to work with children.

• Some coaches are fired at gym after gym without being tracked or flagged by USA Gymnastics, or losing their membership with the organization. USA Gymnastics often has no idea when a coach is fired by a gym and no systematic way to keep track. Ray Adams was fired or forced to resign from six gyms in four states. Yet some gym owners hired Adams, believing his record was clean.

• Though the vast majority of officials put children’s well-being ahead of business and competition, some officials at every level have not. Coaches suspected of abuse kept their jobs as long as they accepted special monitoring. Others were allowed to finish their season before being fired. In 2009, Doug Boger was named a USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year and was sent to international competition while under investigation for alleged sexual abuse.

• Victims’ stories have been treated with skepticism by USA Gymnastics officials, gym owners, coaches and parents. Former gymnasts Charmaine Carnes and Jennifer Sey said they felt pressured by Penny not to pursue allegations of abuse by prominent coaches Don Peters and Boger. Carnes said she thought Penny tried to keep the claims about Boger quiet for as long as possible to protect the sport’s image and win championships, a characterization that USA Gymnastics disputes.

In its statement to IndyStar, USA Gymnastics said it is constantly striving to improve.

In the wake of IndyStar’s August investigation, USA Gymnastics hired a former prosecutor to evaluate its bylaws and offer advice on how to strengthen its policies. It also established a policy review panel on its board of directors.

“USA Gymnastics is proud of the work it has done to address and guard against child sexual abuse,” the organization said in materials provided to IndyStar.

USA Gymnastics also said it’s playing a central role in developing a U.S. Center for SafeSport to oversee education programs and investigate and adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct for all U.S. Olympic Committee governing bodies.

USA Gymnastics has touted its many successes, including years of expansion and recent domination by Team USA at the Olympics. But administrators in the Indianapolis-based organization have declined numerous interview requests from IndyStar.

Penny, who has been president since 2005, declined to be interviewed for this and other stories. Neither the chairman of USA Gymnastics’ board, Paul Parilla, nor board members responded to interview requests.

During IndyStar’s investigation, USA Gymnastics agreed to one interview with its lawyer and public relations chief. Otherwise, officials have accepted only written questions and responded with often incomplete written replies. Many questions have gone unanswered.

USA Gymnastics and Penny have taken other steps to keep details of abuse cases secret. The organization as well as individual member gyms have entered confidentiality agreements as part of settlements in negligence cases with gymnasts claiming abuse.

And in court, USA Gymnastics has fought the release of documents that would show how Penny and other top officials have dealt with molestation allegations.

IndyStar went to court in Georgia and won a case in August to unseal depositions and sexual misconduct complaint files on 54 coaches. The Georgia Supreme Court confirmed that ruling in October and ordered the documents to be made public. But USA Gymnastics is continuing to fight, delaying the release.

Many who want reforms in Olympic sports said they are frustrated by the lack of meaningful action.

IndyStar, full article here

QotD: “it terrifies me that so many young people are being told that violence & hierarchy are necessary for passion & intimacy”

it terrifies me that so many young people are being told that violence & hierarchy are necessary for passion & intimacy, and that “aftercare” will fulfil their need for comfort & security. sex can do that!! sex doesn’t have to terrorize you so that aftercare can comfort you. sexual intimacy can (should) be an enjoyable experience, not The Gauntlet you have to run before cuddling

it’s monstrous to try to convince young girls that

1. sex is something you have to endure in order to be rewarded with comfort & support
2. replicating abuse during sex makes sex better, ““deeper”“, & more romantic

Fyxan

The EVA Center

Following on from my earlier post, here is a link for The EVA Center.

The EVA Center is a survivor led, social justice oriented program whose mission is to empower women who have experienced sexual exploitation, (prostitution, sex trafficking), to find solutions to the issues they face and exit the commercial sex industry. We also work to challenge public perceptions and strongly advocate for specialized, survivor led, strength based programming that increases awareness of the many socio-economic and situational factors contributing to women’s and girls entry into the sex trade.

Mission and History:

Mission

The EVA Center’s mission is to provide comprehensive exit services for women who are experiencing commercial sexual exploitation, (prostitution/trafficking).

We are committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation by changing women’s lives, addressing the social and economic conditions that enable the sex trade to thrive. We advocate for what is called the Nordic Model, calling for the complete decriminalization of those exploited in prostitution and criminalizing the buying which fuels the demand.

History

The EVA Center, formerly Kims Project, has almost ten years of direct service experience. Founded in 2006 by Cherie Jimenez, a survivor of the sex trade, this project was created in response to the overwhelming need to assist women in the often complex process of exiting out of commercial sexual exploitation. It started as Kims Project, a project created and implemented by and for women that had direct experience in the sex trade, understanding the importance of peer support. It was created through Finex House, a domestic violence shelter. Since 2006 we have provided comrehensive services and long term support for hundreds of women while simultanously working to create needed emergency and long term housing options, providing awareness-raising campaigns to educate the public about the violence associated with the sex trafficking and the role of the demand in driving this trade. In 2012, we incorporated as The Josephine Butler EVA Center to fullfill the need to create a more sustainable emergency and long term housing program for the number of women wanting out of this harmful industry. The EVA Center, standing for Education, Vision and Advocacy, better represented what we do, acknowledging this program as a center, a compassionate and caring space for women.

After almost ten years we are currently in the process of collaborating with new partners to create a sustainable and needed emergency housing program and increase our staff.

What we do

We assist women in creating their own exit plans, providing information and resources to the appropriate services, acknowledging that each woman has her own experiences, needs and cultural beliefs that can vary tremendously. This might include immediate access to safety since many prostituted and trafficked women find themselves caught in relational violence. For many women the Center represents the beginniing of a new kind of connection and sense of community.

We offer financial assistance as well as long term consistent support in accessing health services, safe permanent housing, educational and employment opportunities; recognizing that education is a key component to economic security. The lack of meaningful employment that provides a living wage is a huge obstacle facing young women struggling to support themselves.

We partner with a number of community organizations to help women develop their own educational plans, getting reconnected back into school and work, GED, ESOL, life, job skills, and/or work readiness programs.

The Center is a caring space for women, all services are free and all women are welcome. The door to resources is always open; there is no cut off of support.

We provide court advocacy, support for women arrested on prostitution related charges, working with Boston area district courts. Our goal is to offer women who have been arrested on prostitution related offenses an opportunity to access services in lieu of jail time. We also offer pre-court diversion which enables law enforcement to intervene, breaking the cycle of court involvement, diverting them to community based programs.

The EVA Center provides a free legal clinic to assist women in navigating the court system. This clinic is a unique partnership with the Boston University School of Law and the EVA Center. Clinic students provide a variety of legal services – including direct representation of non citizens eligible for T Visas, as well as a variety of other legal services.