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Feb 08 2006

European Honky Dudes Whacking Wives At Alarming Rate

Yet another call for a permanent international tribunal on violence against women comes to us this morning from France, where opinion columnist Ignacio Ramonet, writing for Le Monde diplomatique, cites the usual appalling statistics that make patriarchy-enthusiasts’ eyes glaze over. Here’s a little taste:

For European women aged 16-44 violence in the home is the primary cause of injury and death, more lethal than road accidents and cancer. Between 25% and 50% of women are victims of this violence. In Portugal 52.8% of women say that they have been violently treated by their husbands or partners. In Germany almost 300 women a year – or three women every four days – are killed by men with whom they used to live. In Britain one woman dies in similar circumstances every three days. In Spain it is one every four days. In France six women die this way every month: 33% of them are knifed, 33% shot, 20% strangled and 10% beaten (1). In the 15 member states of the European Union (before enlargement to 25), more than 600 women die every year because of sexist brutality in the family.”

Of course, you and I don’t need Ignacio Ramonet to tell us that the epidemic of violence is not just limited to bride killings by rural primitives in India and Africa; we are patriarchy-blamers, and we know what time it is. But there is no doubt that we do need loud proclamations reminding us of the suffering of non-European women whose advocates in the West are few and far between.

I say this because our racist conceits are more thoroughgoing than we care to admit. As I have oft opined, Americans display a notably high tolerance for the suffering of others, especially when those others are brown. Like white dudes and their birthright of male privilege, Westerners are indoctrinated from birth with a sort of first-world entitlement. This allows us to keep “exotic” cultures at arm’s length, to luxuriate in a cavalier unfamiliarity with their strange, primitive ways, and ultimately, to think of them as ideas rather than people, as less real than we are, and therefore less important. My own unscientific, blog-centric survey, based on the much-lower-than-average number of comments generated by posts that focus on violent misogyny in “third-world” countries, is that even seasoned patriarchy-blamers are rather less outraged by ritual stonings in Pakistan or mass rapes in Rwanda than they are by Dove soap’s attempt to pass off skinny white models as fat girls.

Educated European honkys are whacking their fair share of wives and girlfriends. Dudes in Botswana are whacking them, too. Assholes in India are trading them for goats. Godbags in Saudi Arabia are throwing acid on them. All over the world, in fact, women are getting the shit kicked out of them every single day, and the international community needs to step up and call the thing what it is: an epic human rights catastrophe. Every moment that passes without such a declaration is a moment that all women pass as marginalized, objectified, despised sub-humans.

[Thanks, Jaylene]

91 comments

2 pings

  1. Sharoni

    I agree. There should be no recourse for any criminal who does these things to women. But really, we don’t generally even think about European women, they’re too far away. My major beef is with African cultures where they teach the WOMEN to mutilate each other. What about those stories where the old grandmothers, aunts and mothers hold down a screaming teenage girl while they castrate her with a piece of broken glass? The more “enlightened” members of those societies go to a male “doctor” who might use a razor instead!!!! My head tries to explode when I think about these things. Where do we go? How do we prevent whole countries from their centuries-old, long-revered practices? Not to mention the fact that when they do get married their husbands are likely to be disease-carrying scum-bags who delight in de-flowering and infecting virgins????? I could go on, but my head feels funny . . .

  2. darkymac

    Like white dudes and their birthright of male privilege, Westerners are indoctrinated from birth with a sort of first-world entitlement. This allows us to keep “exotic” cultures at arm’s length, to luxuriate in a cavalier unfamiliarity with their strange, primitive ways, and ultimately, to think of them as ideas rather than people, as less real than we are, and therefore less important.

    And in the youngest colonial outposts, here in Australia, carriers of the white man’s burden have so successfully kept the indigenous population “at arm’s length” – translate: banished to isolated service-deprived compounds called oh-so-cutely “communities” – that the universal male pastime of woman bashing has accelerated without police prosecution into the epidemic in the communities that it is these days. I can’t give you any statistics. No Australian government instrumentality has seriously aggregated them.
    I have in my own family lost 9 women to beating and cold-blooded murder.
    My friends can all give similar accounts.

    And here in Western Australia the patriarchy is seriously considering creating a separate jurisdiction for “customary law” just so that my darky relatives can justify raping children as “customary marriage” too.

    Bastards.

  3. Dr. Brazen Hussy

    I think part of the reason people don’t comment on violence and misogyny in “third world” countries is because of the sadly widespread perception that those countries are somehow “uncivilized” and bad stuff always happens there. While Eurocentria is nice and “civilized” and people know better than to treat each other than that. These statistics you’ve presented here about violence in Europe certainly put the lie to that one.

  4. A White Bear

    Now, hold it right there, TF. Anyone knows that posts don’t receive the most comments because they are the most interesting or deal with the most important subject matter. Posts receive a lot of comments when they touch off a memory or quarrel in the reader. Your posts on whether it’s ethical to have babies or not cause loads of comments because all women are forced to make a conscious decision about how they feel about babies. Your post on beautiful madness inspired a lot of people to tell about their personal responses to the sexism of psychiatric care. However, in response to your recent post on sexist assholes killing their ladies in Botswana, even you wrote:

    “I’m gonna have to turn off the blog for the day. I can’t think about this crap anymore.”

    We read it, and we’re glad you post it, because no one else does. TF gets mad about sexism no matter where it happens and no matter how it manifests itelf. And your readers get mad, too. Perhaps our outrage toward European wife-stranglers is more expressed because of the hypocrisy of the way certain European societies look down on Americans as un-Enlightened rednecks beating each other up on Jerry Springer. Our helplessness in the face of sexism as it is reported in many non-Western countries is that there seems to be no pretense of treating women equally.

    Also, I believe we respond more strongly to sexism not because it happens among whites, but because it happens among people who are not trapped in an impoverished society. I used to live in an area of Brooklyn that was absolutely destitute. My building was sandwiched between projects as far as the eye could see on one side and a santitation dump and a fortune cookie factory on the other. People in that neighborhood, white, black, and brown alike, had an angrier sexism than I’ve ever seen. They came home from miserable, belittling jobs (or job searches) to torment their partners, who’d also come home from miserable jobs. If I stood up to every man whom I saw treat his wife like shit there, I never would have gotten to (my miserable, belittling) work in the morning. Now that I live in a more bourgeois neighborhood, I’m in people’s faces all the time about it. Why? Because I give people who aren’t already genuinely suffering fewer excuses. Is that wrong?

  5. TP

    I think a lot of people base their perception that feminism has achieved equality on ‘the west’, but reading and hearing about the plight of women across the world only makes me more fierce that feminism is still so important – and that perhaps from the slightly better off level women have achieved in the west we can use our voices and work for change across the globe too.

  6. A White Bear

    Darkymac, 9? That took my breath away.

  7. Mandos

    My own unscientific, blog-centric survey, based on the much-lower-than-average number of comments generated by posts that focus on violent misogyny in “third-world” countries, is that even seasoned patriarchy-blamers are rather less outraged by ritual stonings in Pakistan or mass rapes in Rwanda than they are by Dove soap’s attempt to pass off skinny white models as fat girls.

    You note, though, how often the American right wing, particularly the LGF crowd, suddenly turns into rampant patriarchy-blamers when certain “third-world” countries are brought up, right? Don’t you think that this has something to do it with it?

    Unfortunately, even feminism can become an instrument of the Empire when handled improperly. There’s no shame in saying that some countries simply haven’t had the opportunity to work out some of their cultural detritus. Because, frankly, they haven’t. The beam out of your own eye and all that.

  8. A White Bear

    Upon reflection, I am wrong, because the more we hold our tongues about male domination just because those men are poor, the longer impoverished women suffer.

  9. Mandos

    Upon reflection, I am wrong, because the more we hold our tongues about male domination just because those men are poor, the longer impoverished women suffer.

    I suggest, though, that beyond a certain point, you can actually make it worse.

    Like the ham-handed position of certain Western feminists at the time of the Iranian revolution, etc, can be said to have created an even greater dynamic of opposition to feminism as such.

    On the other hand, groups like RAWA do good work. But that’s because they’re there, on the ground.

  10. Steph

    yes. yes. yes.

    When I was teaching Women and Health last year to a very multi-cultural student crowd (ie very few white chicks like me) I had a very hard time finding academic and non-academic information about most health topics relating to Non-white/Non-Western women unless it had to do with reproduction (even feminist scholars spend a lot of time on women’s wombs).

    When it came to information on violence I could find almost nothing. And students who decided to do research on anti-violences services for women in Pakistan, India, Somalia and other countries they were interested in (mainly because their families were from these countries) they told me the same thing. This is partly because these services don’t exist, but also because nobody has bothered to study the issue (and I know, why study something we already know is happening–but even statistics were hard to find).

    That lead to exactly the discussion you blog about here–that violence against white women merits study and outrage, yet violence against women of colour is part of normal, backwards life for “those people”.

    Great post. Thanks.

  11. midwesterntransport

    I tend not to respond to posts about “third-world” violence against women because it usually comes with blatant ignorance about violence against women in “developed” nations. Like when Laura Bush started talking about “those poor women in Afghanistan” during her hubby’s march to war, and suddenly the press was filled with stories of how women suffered under the Taliban. Yes, of course they suffered; yes, it was awful; yes, women under the Taliban were starving if there wasn’t a man around. But it seemed a little coincidental, didn’t it? NOW and The Feminist Majority had been screaming about that treatment for years.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all supportive of violence or the patriarchy. It just struck me as a little grotesque for Laura Bush, whose husband is virulently anti-woman, to claim sympathy for women abroad while turning a blind eye to the violent strategies of W. I think often the focus that some individuals place on violence in “third-world” countries is a reflection of racism.

    Know what I mean, bean?

  12. B. Dagger Lee

    Arundhati Roy talks about the special responsibilities of the American people because we live inside the grounds of the imperial palace—her metaphor. The rest of the world—largely brown in color–lives outside the palace grounds and suffers accordingly.

    Yours, etc.
    B. Dagger

  13. darkymac

    Be not breathless. It’s not a whitefella mum and dad and kids family White Bear, so while there are more woman deaths proportionately in the communities, it’s not as logarythmic an increase as 9 women dead in a European family might indicate.
    Relationships in Australian indigenous people connect people within families, and groups, across relational social systems of blood, kin, skin, totem and moiety.
    To give you an idea of what us mob call family, here’s a list of things we take into account as easily as you do when talking about your blood line aunt and uncle and cousin:

    What is the sex of the person?
    · Are they married?
    · Who is their brother married to?
    · Who is their sister married to?
    · Who are their cousins, second cousins, third cousins married to?
    · Have they given birth to children?
    · What is their totem?
    · Who is their mob?
    · What is their skin group?
    · Is the individual an initiated member of their community?

    Oh yes, we are really good at making relationships of appropriation. Our social work is never done. Whew.
    But at least the kids have a brazillion aunties and uncles who will look after them if their mother gets bashed to death.

  14. Sylvanite

    Mandos brings up an interesting point about the hypocritical condemnations of white, western sexists of brown, third-world sexists. I guess it makes them righteous in their own minds, i.e,”Look at those people! At least we don’t make women suffer as much as that! Aren’t we great in comparison?”

  15. the bewilderness

    When I read this sort of report I am rendered speechless with rage and despair. I always think I will calm down and post a comment later, when I can make a coherent point. Truth is there is no point to make. The appropriate response to this outrage is to be outraged, scream a primal scream, and overthrow the patriarchy.

  16. Mandos

    The appropriate response to this outrage is to be outraged, scream a primal scream, and overthrow the patriarchy.

    Except that with outrage and a primal scream, you won’t. But at least you’ll feel better.

  17. A White Bear

    I’ll agree that the white conservative obsession with “those people” and their “evil ways” is way gross. On the other hand, my mother (a white conservative) only came to recognize the sexism around her because her conservative friends at church were all shaking their heads, saying “what can be done about Africa?” She did her research and realized that much of what she’d been condemning “those people” for was also happening in her own neighborhood.

    In fact, my mother has started to recognize sexism in my father. It’s upsetting her so much that now, after all this time, she’s thinking of leaving. She can’t stand the way he limits her and subtly degrades her. Sure, there are some godbag fucktards out there who use the semblance of feminism to further their racist grotesqueries, but it may eventually dawn on more conservatives that sexism abroad is at least an allegory for their own hatred of women. As Nathan says to King David, “Thou art the man.”

  18. darkymac

    Never mind the allegory, feel the little brown people’s hunger to use technology to get a firm decision on whether to abort un-masculine foetuses.

    In India it seems that those who are nearest the gates of Empire; educated, cashed-up and socially upwardly climbing just may be contributing to a second acceleration in woman bashing about 15 years down the track.
    This recent article in the Australian public broadcaster’s radio health magazine is as damning of the better educated Indian’s attitude to women as it’s possible to be without official statistics

    Low Male to Female Sex Ratio of Children born in India

    It echoes the Korean farmer’s dilemma story and both have put a bigger shadow over my week than I like.
    Fewer women in a patriarchy can only lead to more violence towards them.

  19. antelope

    I agree w/ everything that’s being said here, but on the other hand, it SO pisses me off how frequently I see feminism and feminists get BLAMED for problems outside the U.S. & Europe, as if to say, “Well how can you call yourselves successful in any way when brown women are still suffering? Aren’t you just a bunch of pampered, self-centered neurotics, really?”

    Changes that have happened thus far in some countries are a success.

    Making it possible for women in bad situations (here and elsewhere) to at least IMAGINE something better, and in some cases to work towards getting themselves out of one situation b/c they can imagine another, is a HUGE success, even when it means the only way to do it is to move across town or across an ocean. The rapid increase in the percent of women who decide not to get married in countries like Italy & Japan where nearly all marraiges suck rocks for women is, in fact, a success that may yet lead to some surprising changes.

    I know I’m preaching to the converted here, so this is really just another one of those, “yeah, but be careful how you phrase it outside the fold” type comments.

  20. Sharoni

    I have a cross, given to me by my (highly religious) step-mother-in-law, that she bought in Afghanistan, made by a woman artisan. It is set with peridot and amethyst. Apparently, the bombing in that country has rucked up the landscape so much that the women can wander the hills and “harvest” the gemstones just by picking them up off the ground. They then have a “cottage” industry and can support themselves somewhat by selling said gemstones. So you see, all this violence produces good things – namely godbag symbols for rich americans to purchase at rock-bottom prices from poor artisans (women, as this work is not considered fit for what men there are) so they can support whatever families they happen to have left over after the bombing.

  21. Twisty

    One of my favorite themes–not surprisingly, one for which I generally take much heat when linked to from other blogs–is the lack of a real substantive ideological difference between patriarchies East and West. My assertions, for example, that a casual observer from the planet Obstreperon might have some difficulty distinguishing between Hamas and the Bush administration, or between boob jobs and infibulation, are meant to expose the lie that “we” are so much more advanced than “them.” It’s a tough slog. Whitey sure loves that lie.

  22. the15th

    the hypocritical condemnations of white, western sexists of brown, third-world sexists

    I’m a little more concerned about the response of the non-feminist left to anyone who raises the issue of gender inequality anywhere except the US or Europe. Try it on an enlightened liberal site like Metafilter sometime. “Oh, I see — you hate those brown people and their culture.” To them, women’s rights are just a right-wing wedge issue that provides a screen behind which Western xenophobes can cast stones at other societies. The “much-lower-than-average number of comments generated by posts that focus on violent misogyny in ‘third-world’” countries is a direct result of the idea that there’s something imperialistic about condemning non-Western abuses of women’s rights.

  23. laughingmuse

    Criminy, my post got lost.

    And all I really said was: Twisty, I loves ya, but this has got to be the best entry you’ve got on the blog so far. It encapsulates a few interconnected (but often ignored) issues mightily.

  24. antelope

    It’s kind of amazing how little talk is going on about the fact that women’s rights, or lack thereof, is right at the center of everybody’s favorite conflict – the one between Islam & “the rest of us.” In a lot of ways, the behavior & appearance of women is not just a symbol of the larger, deeper problems Islam has w/ the Western lifestyle, it IS the problem. In that sense, it’s actually true to say “they hate our freedom” – although I’m confident that’s not what shrub meant by the statement.

    That’s the rock that breaks my attempts at cultural relativism every time. I don’t for one second think that we are bombing & invading for the right resons or that the whole process is going to help anybody in the short run or the long run – but I CANNOT say that particular culture should be left alone to do it’s own thing either, because everything awful about Patriarchy is built into it in such a direct & unquestioned way. We’re talking about a culture where it’s not at all uncommon that moms encourage their sons to beat up on their sisters, becasue it helps little girls & boys prepare for married life!!!

    I’ll take the American style of freedom combined with ridiculous social sanctions, lack of respect, and deep-seated hypocrisy over that shit any day.

  25. iximche

    Here in Guatemala, more than 1,300 women have been killed since 2001.

    It´s femicide, friends. No doubt about it.

  26. Sharoni

    Antelope, you comment cogently. I am SO grateful that I and my daughter and my sister and my granddaughter are privileged to be subjected to the sophisticated, modern, western forms of patriarchal godbaggery, I can hardly spit. Rather this travesty any day than having to be a party to stonings, castrations, or just wandering the hills in danger of being bombed, raped and/or killed to pick up my daily bread!

    Twisty, may you live a thousand years and see the downfall of the patriarchy.

  27. Galloise Blonde

    darkymac, have you seen this http://www.voices-unabridged.org/index.php?numero=5, (part one) http://www.voices-unabridged.org/index.php?numero=7 (part two)

    There’s a slideshow on the ‘Perils of Womanless Societies’ at the bottom of each page. talking about exactly that thing. Seems like there’s such a shortage of women that your poorer dudes are clubbing together to buy a low-caste woman to share between them. And the sufferings of women desperately trying to have sons, having repeated abortions, being thrown out by their husbands for producing ‘worthless’ daughters (but of course the whole XX/XY thing is seminal so technically the guys should kick their own worthless arses out the door) and taking quack medicines to have boys (very disturbing picture). Ugh.

  28. Galloise Blonde

    Apologies for not knowing how to embed posts (the spamulator is hiding my shame for the moment).

    antelope, yeah, I hear you. I’m currently volunteering for a women’s shelter which wants a campaign website against every lizardoid’s pet cause: honour killing. And it’s horrific. The site isn’t live yet, but I feel like I’m walking a fine line already. I can make all the obvious points: there’s honour crime amongst Hindus in India, of course, there’s honour crime by Christians in the Middle East, that these crimes predate all the Abrahamic faiths (the Big Angry God faiths, as they are known in my household). But its Pakistan, Kurdistan, Jordan, Syria and Palestine that pop up on my Google Alerts. In Europe, it’s Kurds, Pakistanis and Arabs. If I wasn’t living north of Paris surrounded by nice, neighbourly, non-car-burning Muslims I think I’d get a bit lizardoidy myself.

    Sensibly, they want the site to be secular, and obviously I don’t want to be pissing off potential supporters by getting in their faces going on about how much their god sucks, and how many wives? and how old were they?

    When I was back in the UK, I lived in the middle of the Pakistani part of Leeds. One of my neighbours was the late Shehzad Tanweer (London bomber), I noticed with shock when I saw my old house on the TV. The guy next door was merciless in beating his wife. I mean, my dad was a bastard, but I never heard my mum cry like that. Not every night. The kids used to come and play in my yard. The boy was always beating up the girl, who was at least three years younger. I gave him a smack myself one time, and told him to stop that right the fuck now. He gave me the filthiest look you can imagine on a five year old and said: “Women are lower than dirt.”

    I believe I’m venting. Thank you Twisty for providing this fabulous blog, which I have read for months and never commented on until today.

  29. SisterJ

    Twisty, et al. At the risk of being banished for defending the patriarchy, I have to agree that much of the reluctance on the part of “anti-oppressionists” like myself to speak out about the misbehavior of brown men comes from a tendency to be apologists for non-Western “culture” in general. If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then I tend to overlook my friend’s faults. Of course, that is wrong.

    And, since brown MEN are the universally accepted (read “patriarchy-patented”) arbiters of all things brown, AND, as my own African American men (fresh from the civil rights struggle) have no problem dismissing feminism as a “white woman’s issue”, it is easy to see the rights of brown women being moved down the list of demands. It is seen as a luxury to be enjoyed in the future, like some long awaited holiday cruise.

    For those against oppression who still have the gall, nerve (willful naivete’?) to profess a particular religion, it is extemely difficult to balance ourselves between the world’s patriarchs and their blamers. I am still of the opinion that there are some things borne of the patriarchy that can be redeemed and made to work ‘for good’. The fact that the patriarchy is to be found in almost every corner of the world, in every society, and every communications medium, can be looked at as a positive. I mean, we won’t have to waste time rebuilding a network once the patriarchy is deloused. And, in all seriousness, the latest tool of the patriarchy – the internet – has become a valuable instrument of the patriarchy’s own destruction.

    In my own Muslim community, ignorance of Islam leads most converts to latch onto anyone who SEEMS knowledgeable. I cannot speak for Galloise Blonde’s British experience, but here in America, there is a fast growing community of African American Muslims, representing at least half of America’s overall Muslim population (about 10 million).

    While most of us are subjected primarily to the western, sophisticated brand of patriarchy enjoyed by our Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and secular neighbors, there is a certain group whose practice of the religion more closely mirrors the Pakistani, Saudi Arabian, and Egyptian communities they steadfastly emulate. Simply put, there are Muslim converts who have not taken the time, nor developed the knowledge necessary, to separate the cultural traditions they’ve learned from the religion itself. Needless to say, these are the folks more prone to “marry” children, beat and kill their wives, and murder their daughters through “honor killings”.

    Not to apologize for those who misread the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions in favor of men who choose to oppress, but the only way this will ever be cured is for Muslim women to arm ourselves with knowledge of the religion. Hence, practicing a certain religion does not automatically disqualify one from being a very effective blamer.

    This wholly misogynist strain of Islam is relatively new to the faith. In the early days, women taught the religion to men, and were respected jurists. Our salvation lies in returning to those days, and in speaking up, as knowledgeable Muslim women. Our particular brand of patriarchy will not be dismantled by Western bombs – even in the US, war tends to unite and excite the patriarchy – but by women of knowledge.

  30. Becker

    Speaking of Dove, they’re going after our children now:

    http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com

  31. AoT

    If you want to help women in 3rd world countries, specifically afghanistan, I would suggest getting involved in RAWA (rawa.org). I am sure they need donations and all the morale support they can get.

    Also, I am reminder of an experience I had a few years back in a speech class. There was a woman who had moved to the US from afghanistan a few years earlier and she told us the story of why she had to move.

    One day she was walking with her brother, always forced to be acompanied by a male, through the street of her city and she heard a big commotion a ways off. she and her brother moved towards the noise and found that there was a man beating his wife to death. No one was doing anything to stop him. She watched until she could no longer take it, then started screaming at the man to stop, that what he was doing was wrong. The crowd turned on her and she and her brother were forced to flee the confrontation, and then flee the country, because she would be killed for what she had done. Most likely killed by the rest of her family.

    What amazed me most was that when, later in the speech class, we had to give a persuasive speech, she gave her speech on why abortion should be illegal, using the Qoran as backing evidence.

  32. DrSue

    I volunteer as a psychological evaluator for an organization that seeks asylum for (mostly third world) clients due to torture in the home country. Not surprisingly, I guess, most of the clients are female, and a lot of the torture involves rape and sexual harassment. What has surprised me is not the treatment of women worldwide, but the commonality of our experience. I realized recently that the reason it surprises me is that all of the history courses I took, from grammar school through college, concentrated on men. I was taught to feel that international politics was men’s territory, and that women “over there” were invisible, and women like me were irrelevant.

    I think, now, that one reason I, at least, haven’t been more conscious of the plight of third-world women is that I was raised to believe that history, current events, and world culture are all about men, with no place for women either as participants or observers. This is not a conscious belief, but rather a feeling that “this has nothing to do with me, and I’m unwelcome here.” It is a huge struggle to overcome this and raise my voice. Thanks for raising yours.

  33. Kate

    I don’t comment on posts like this because I don’t know what to say or do, mainly, whereas I find it easy to mouth of sarcastically about stupid white men in my own country or in the west.

    I also feel deeply unqualified to opine on the oppression of women the world over, especially given my non-history of being oppressed — other than to be horrified and angered and feel powerless. Apart from supporting women’s rights in these countries via financial donations, I don’t know what else to do.

  34. Sunya Harjis

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: everything with a vagina should be issued a gun.

    What is the fucking hold-up here? Are we waiting until some nice authoritative man makes guns legal for women to carry? Are we waitting for daddy to tell us we won’t hurt ourselves?

    Pick up a .45 and shoot to kill. Shoot anyone who lays a fucking finger on you. Even if it’s Daddy.

    Don’t you dare tell me violence isn’t the answer. Not only is it the only answer men understand, it’s the one they prefer. They use it all the goddamn time! Whether or not it’s a good idea! Don’t fuck around with me about how there must be another way blah blah blah. It is hugely clear that men have been waging a civil war on women for at least five thousand years and now every woman in America can easily, for the price of an iPod, purchase for herself an item which makes her physical disadvantages irrelevant and permits her to command the respect of her fellow human beings. Glocks are cheap, ridiculously reliable, and available in a variety of calibers suitable to anyone’s grip strength and personal preference. It is well worth your time to train with a .45 or the equivalent thereof, ladies: while a smaller caliber means easier handling, the first and foremost idea here is Stopping Power.

    But women hate this answer to male-on-female violence. They sure do hate it when Sunya talks about buying guns and shooting their boyfriends, husbands, brothers, fathers, and friends… and yes, these are the people who are endangering women way WAY WAY WAY more than strangers in dark alleys. Why do they hate it so much?

    That’s the question I want to ask patriarchy-blamers here today. Help me out with this one. Unsarcastically. What happens in your mind when I propose the Final Solution here? Because the way I imagine it is that women who don’t like it must be saying to themselves, somewhere along the line, that their personal safety is not worth the taking of a life. I imagine they must be saying that it’s too scary, too dangerous, and too bold to handle such a deadly weapon on a regular basis. And I of course consider both of these reasons triumphs of patriarchal brainwashing; while completely understandable so far as brainwashed reasoning goes, how would I even begin to convince women that yes, their safety is worth protecting with lethal force? How do I convince women that the potential danger of guns is as nothing compared to the potential danger of cars, much less the very real danger of wifebeaters and acquaintance-rapists?

  35. kactus

    “The appropriate response to this outrage is to be outraged, scream a primal scream, and overthrow the patriarchy.”

    Except that with outrage and a primal scream, you won’t. But at least you’ll feel better.

    With all due respect, Mandos, bullshit. We need to be outraged and the world needs to hear our screams. Being nicey-nice and polite and non-threatening is just more patriarchal naval-gazing. I’ll take an outraged, outrageous, loud, patriarchy-hating woman over a patriarchy-placating wimpette any day.

    Cuz this is how revolutions start, see? In the hearts and minds of people who decide to fight back.

  36. Shalfalfa

    I don’t think it’s necessary to guilt-trip ourselves over this. Every battered woman is as far away from “us” as the next. No matter geography, really. The fact that the rate of rapes, child molestations, spousal assault, spousal homicide are still high – not decreasing – here in our own backyards is sickening enough without adding it to the rest of the globe, and we owe it to ourselves to stop all of it.

    After all, what is the point of bemoaning a perceived lack of interest in the violent treatment of women in other countries when we can’t stop it here? To me, this is terrorism. Women can’t walk the streets safely?? They can’t be safe from their partners and the law won’t intervene with proper sentencing and protection?? Children are being raped and molested daily in this country and we can’t get a handle on it. How do we have a hope in hell of freeing women in countries we can’t even enter safely until we get a clear picture of how to deal with it here.

    Clearly, I am not advocating that we stop talking about women in the developing world, women in Europe, or women on Mars, for that matter who are being beaten and killed by the patriarchy. But what have *we* got to offer them that we are withholding? Nothing. Yet.

    It is here that we must start – by changing language, by changing laws, by changing culture. THEN we can export it.

  37. Becker

    Sunya, speaking as a guy I have a hard time responding, but I feel I have some sort of duty. I’ll be starting with these preconceptions:

    1. You are a woman who has been horribly hurt by more than one guy in your life.

    2. I am a guy who only hurts anyone by accident, and only because they expect behavior from me that I don’t anticipate. For instance, I once hurt a woman I was dating by asking why she didn’t wear makeup. I liked that she didn’t wear makeup. She heard, I later realized, that I thought she should wear it.

    3. You are missing the idea of patriarchy as a system, and perceiving it as men against women. Men and women both grow up with rules around us and act accordingly.

    Having said all that, I guess my only response is: don’t shoot me.

    Actually, don’t shoot anyone, you selfish hateful fuck.

    No, wait, that’s selfish and hateful on my part. But that’s only natural, right? When you feel attacked you get selfish and hateful. In this way you, Sunya, and I are in the same boat. Feeling a lot of aggression and nowhere to go but the gun.

    Guns are for the weak, hopeless and hateful fucks. I’ll cop to it if you will. Then we can move on.

  38. Galloise Blonde

    Thank SisterJ for your perspective. It is hard to keep the appropriate balance, particularly when I have 7 Google Alerts waiting for me to go through. I don’t share your optimism re: religion, it all seems to me to be made by patriarchs for patriarchs.

    All power to the women trying to reread the Quran to bring a bit of equality into it; its an essential work, but difficult. There’s some bits in there that are going to take a bit of creative interpretation. (Symbolic beating with a feather? OK, if you say so. Aren’t going to feel a bit silly? But creative interpretation works both ways and its 4:34 that ‘honour’ killers use.) I do take your point about cultures: I can easily compare the Pakistanis I lived with up North in the UK, with the Kurds down South and the Arabs here in Paris. All carrying different personalised versions of the Patriarchy, like all of us, but a Patriarchy reinforced by divine decree. I can neither dismantle the Patriarchy, nor organised religion, but I would if I could.

    There’s been another honour killing in Britain by the way, Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha, a 20 year old Kurd.

  39. NancyMc


    2. I am a guy who only hurts anyone by accident, and only because they expect behavior from me that I don’t anticipate. For instance, I once hurt a woman I was dating by asking why she didn’t wear makeup. I liked that she didn’t wear makeup. She heard, I later realized, that I thought she should wear it.

    That’s an odd response to what Sunya said. She said:

    “Shoot anyone who lays a fucking finger on you.”

    You hurt a woman through incorrectly reported gossip. Sunya is talking about using a gun in self-defense against physical attackers, not against the expression of opinions.

    If you never lay a finger on a woman then Sunya isn’t talking about you, yet you seem to assume she is. Do you identify with the attackers? Is that what it means to speak “as a guy”?

  40. jc.

    In Sweden immigrants who rape, abuse or murder females are seen as members of an inferior culture which holds women in contempt and can not integrate themselves to the superior swedish culture which has gentically endowed all full blood swedes with a full understanding and practice of gender equality, democracy and all human rights. Male Swedes who abuse, rape and/or murder women are always represented as being aberant. The fact that most rapes, abuse and murder of women in sweden is done regularily by swedish men is of course not in any way a pattern or a result of the swedish culture and civilisation.
    In Sweden we are, as a nation, much more concened with “honor murders”, muslim veil wearing and oppression of women in the third world than what are manly neighbours may be up to in their homes.

  41. Galloise Blonde

    Hi jc. Of course the case of Fadime Sahindal and others has made Sweden very sensitive to so-called honour crime, and as you say, it runs the danger of ‘othering’ violence against women.

    But the core of the issue is that honour killing is collectively, not individually, committed. A Swede abusing a woman is an individual, and he is seen as aberrant because in one sense he is — even under our Western permutation of the Patriarchy the manly Swede doesn’t accrue status for his abuse. Honour killings are different; killings are not performed in some burst of machismo but are planned and executed deliberately by the men of the family collectively, sometimes with the support of the family. Rukshana Naz in Britain was held down by her mother as she was strangled by her brother. Your Swedish meatbag isn’t likely to brag about his rape, murder or abuse, but (and I quote) “an honour killing provides status, and more. It makes the murderer into a kind of saint, it gives him an aura. As honour is collective in these societies, murder in the name of honour can raise the standing of those involved.”

    No reason to ignore suffering Swedish women though.

  42. Galloise Blonde

    jc, can I ask you a question? I don’t read Swedish and the case has dropped out of the English Language media. Did they ever find anything suspicious in the death of Patrik Lindesjö? I know it was being investigated after Fadime’s murder, but I have no idea what the upshot was.

  43. Meribeth

    Leaving lurk mode for a while.

    My brain boils on this subject, so I will try to put down some brief thoughts.

    One of the best things my father ever taught me was how to throw a punch. It has come in real handy many times. It should be mandatory teaching for all girl children.

    The patriarchy has a lock on things. Religion is by, for and about power and by extension it is the back bone of societies. Religions have taught over the years that women are dirty, stupid, a commodity, evil and inferior and need to be “managed.” Hence, the Patriarchy rules and women have to accept the fact that they are not worthy.

    The patriarchy is a gutless bully. And the best way to take care of a bully is to stand up to them. What can be done? RAWA is a good start. But we can and we must take the responsibility to stand up and fight it in our own lives, in the lives around us. To wring our hands and ask nicely that women have basic human rights around the world will not get the response that is needed. Anger directed at the Patriarchy and vocal pride that we have a vagina/uterus that does not belong to anyone but us to allow the Patriarchy to “visit” will help get their attention.

    I hate to sound defeatist, but unless there is a catastrophic shift on this planet, I don’t see it happening. In a “modern” country where the leading cause of death of pregnant women is murder, where is the anger? Where is the action taken to stop this? Why the hell aren’t women up in arms about this?? Sure, the there is a lot of head wagging by the Leaders and by the obedient penis deficient followers, but nothing is done. The bully remains the bully.

    There was a special report about why husbands kill. blah, blah, blah The answer is not in all the fucking psycho-babble, it is because the CAN.

  44. Galloise Blonde

    RAWA’s got a few mentions, so can I chime in for OWFI? You gotta love the picture of the woman burning her veil. Her expression is downright churlish

    But about why husbands kill — did you see the piece from Women’s eNews about the Manalive programme right there in Twisty-country, Austin? “Instead, while jailed, the batterer is increasingly being asked to confront something fundamental: his own sense of superiority over women and his choice to use violence against them.” Less psychobabble, more Patriarchy-blaming. I hope the programme is succesful.

  45. Twisty

    Sunya in # 34: “What happens in your mind when I propose the Final Solution here? Because the way I imagine it is that women who don’t like it must be saying to themselves, somewhere along the line, that their personal safety is not worth the taking of a life. I imagine they must be saying that it’s too scary, too dangerous, and too bold to handle such a deadly weapon on a regular basis.”

    Sunya, I have a pretty high opinion of my own life. I got no problem shooting some asshole in the eye.

    Whups! After five fun-filled minutes fantasizing about shooting rapists in the eye, I recall that there’s that unfortunate prisony aftermath when you go around killing people.

    Whups again! Upon further reflection I am forced to recognize that your “final solution” scenario bears an uncanny resemblance to the patriarchal dominance/submission dealio I have sworn to defeat.

    But hellfire! If we ever start a gang (or a government, whatever you wanna call it) I want you in it.

  46. Twisty

    Galloise Blonde in #41: “Even under our Western permutation of the Patriarchy the manly Swede doesn’t accrue status for his abuse.”

    I get what you’re saying here, but I kind of disagree in a larger sense. Although an individual Swede may suffer public censure, or even go to prison, the truth is that any time a dude takes a whack at a woman, he’s scoring another point for male dominance and female inferiority, which, by reinforcing women’s fear, has the effect of shoring up male status generally.

  47. Sylvanite

    “Women are lower than dirt.”

    Wow, Galloise Blonde. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more thoroughly enraged at a story posted here. I don’t even know that Pakistani man, but I hate him with the white-hot fury of a thousand blazing suns. He’s a monster, and he’s made his son into a monster, as well. A culturally, religiously sanctioned monster.

  48. Sunya Harjis

    Twisty, what’s up? We are now more worried about prison than wifebeating?

    Legally, you are allowed to shoot to kill in self-defense in a number of situations. But it’s still true: juries convict people of murder who kill in self-defense. However it seems to me that there are people who are threatened a WHOLE LOT who kill in self-defense VERY SELDOM: our estimable friends, women. My position isn’t that shooting your abuser is a free card out of Womanhell – it’s that shooting your abuser stops your abuser from abusing you anymore. And that, data point after data point, men will stop feeling it is safe to abuse women.

    Who made the laws? The patriarchy. Who built the prisons? The patriarchy. Who holds the trials? The patriarchy. Needless to say: the cops are on the patriarchy’s side too. Where are the laws and cops, trials and prisons, when a woman is enjoying the rich pleasures of unconsenting marital sex? Where are they when fourteen-year-old girls get (literally!) peed on by their musical idols? Where are they when daddy comes home from work all tired and mommy has, to use the classic example, burned the pot roast, and that bitch has to get beat down? And how about those “UCLA Varsity Rape Squad” t-shirts!

    The cops, lawyers, judges, and juries are certainly around in Twisty’s cause celebre, the CSI: Bitches Get Cut shows so popular on TV. But they are around to lend a patriarchal perfume of legitimacy to a show which celebrates hot young bitches getting voluptuously killed. Imagine with me, just for a moment, if a nation of people watching CSI: Bitches Get Cut suddely got jerked out of the plot in unison, thinking “why would she even let that guy put his hands on her? She’s got a .45 in her belt holster and a 9 mm backup in her purse!” That would be so pretty. They’d have to start re-writing those shows to tell the story of a hot young bitch’s trial at which she is exonerated for killing the dude who, in the old CSI, would have cut her. That’s my fantasy.

    I think it’s totally weird that you go on to liken the use of lethal force in self-defense to patriarchal domination. Where did I talk about turning men into a sex class, stripping them of their autonomy, or forcing little boys to do well in school? Guns For Hot Bitches is a social program designed to alleviate the pervasive and insidious problem of the physical abuse of women by anyone – not to punish men for being men. It is certainly intended to punish the fuck out of physically abusive and violent men but that’s where the legitimacy train stops, and I don’t condone the use of guns a general means to get whatever you want.

    But guns have three qualities that no other solution to this problem has:
    1. They are equalizers, destroying the physical advantages enjoyed by most men over most women as far as fighting and self-defense.

    2. They can be everywhere the woman is. (With exceptions for, you know, federal buildings, etc.)

    3. They provide immediate relief with a minimum of effort or skill.

    What other kinds of solutions for all that woman-abusing do we have? What would pass the “Not Patriarchal At All” Twisty Faster test? That’s the other thing that happens when I try to discuss this – women are all “but if you shoot people who abuse you… aren’t you as bad as they are?” I know that’s not quite your position here, but I can’t help but feel that there is in my mind a sharp and clear distinction between self-defense and general violence that is perhaps less sharp and clear in your mind. It’s not like I’m unwilling to entertain the notion that I’m just a bloodthirsty reactionary, you know, but I’d like a little more discussion before I accept my warlike mantle.

  49. Becker

    NancyMC:

    Sunya asserted that guns are the only thing men understand. She didn’t limit her position only to guys who are hurtful. I disagreed, but unfortunately I did so in my usual roundabout way which obscured my point.

    If someone wants to carry a gun to defend themselves when attacked, I’m generally all for that. I’m not so much in favor of angry people carrying guns, because that’s how bad things happen.

  50. Chris Clarke

    3. You are missing the idea of patriarchy as a system, and perceiving it as men against women. Men and women both grow up with rules around us and act accordingly.

    Becker;

    Our host, in her boundless charity, often takes pains to distinguish “The Patriarchy,” in its manifold avatars, from “Men,” usually as a reminder not to engage in sloppy thinking, but often, I am guessing, as an act of charity to those of her bepenised guests who might feel a tad more defensive than we ought.

    This is being nicer than she needs to be.

    But just as it is of limited utility to blame Joe Liberal Male Blog Reader – as opposed to The Patriarchy – for infibulation or bias in medical research, it is rather missing the point to solely finger The Patriarchy for rape and murder of women.

    I have known a lot of women who have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. I have known, distantly, a couple who have been murdered. And it wasn’t The Patriarchy that committed those crimes.* It was individual men.

    And even if The Patriarchy set up rules for men to follow that inevitably lead to rape and murder – which it does not, at most creating a context in which systemic rape is possible or even condoned – that would not excuse men from their responsibility not to be rapists, or restrict women from their right to defend themselves.

    Which is not to say I’m an enthusiastic supporter of Sunya’s idea: reading her comment, I found myself remembering the strangely clean-cut guys who’d show up at radical meetings with five-o-clock shadow, mirrored sunglasses and a brand new radical t-shirt, who’d exhort us to break windows or commit pyrotechnical mayhem and who then would vanish, until we’d see some strangely familiar police face talking about the ecoterrorist threat on the news. But I find I can’t fault her on specifics other than from a pacifist perspective.

    * except in that pesky metaphoorical sense that is lately controversial around these parts

  51. Galloise Blonde

    Yeah Twisty, I don’t disagree with you at all in the broader sense. I can readily agree with you that male violence is always a manifestation of the patriarchy, but that regional variations apply. When a man hurts a woman, when women are firghtened, the patriarchy gains, no matter what the cultural backdrop. Whether the keep-in-line violence is delivered by one man working under the influence of his toxic male privilege, or a family or jirga under their toxic misogynistic culture, the intents and results are simillar. Not the same maybe, but simillar.

    Sylvanite, yeah. I can still see the little creep’s face. He was completely enraged that I dared to challenge his male superiority. I never saw the mother. I lived there for eight months and she never left the house. I was on the dole, (welfare) and spent all my time sitting in the yard smoking hand rolled cigarettes so it’s not like I could have missed her. I had leaflets on women’s shelters in Urdu and stuff. I think it’s stuck in my mind because I should have done something more, like maybe call the (racist) police or (crap) social services.

    Sylvanite, yeah, it was horrible. I’m

  52. Jezebella

    This is what goes through my head when someone suggests we all arm ourselves with guns: Many cops who get shot on the job get shot with their own guns. I’m pretty sure they’ve been trained in hand-to-hand combat and yet if they can’t keep their guns, why do I think I can? It’s just too easy for a gun to be turned back on its owner.

    Which is not to say women shouldn’t take up arms against their oppressors if it comes to it. Honor (or “passion”) killing usually gets a man a slap on the wrist; killing your abusive husband? Say goodbye to the open sky.

    I suspect that Entwistle guy who just got arrested for killing his wife and child may actually go to prison – but only because people are horrified by the baby-killing, not by the wife-killing. If it was “just” his wife he’d killed we’d likely not even be hearing about it.

  53. Galloise Blonde

    Jezebella, here’s some cases from the UK:

    In 1997 Joseph Swinburne killed his wife by stabbing her eleven times when she told him she was leaving him for another man. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 200 hours community service.

    In 1992 Zoora Shah snapped after 12 years of physical and sexual violence when her partner turned his attention to her eldest daughter. She poisoned him and was convicted of murder, sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years, she is still in prison.

    From Justice for Women

  54. Finn

    “What happens in your mind when I propose the Final Solution here?”

    Hey, I totally understand the anger and outrage. But, no matter how strongly I feel about injustice of any kind, I come back to this:

    The ends don’t justify the means.

    What you’re suggesting is akin to vigilante-ism, which, does often provide a few moments of initial satisfaction at the thought of a Bad Guy getting a comeuppance. However, I don’t think any of us want to rely on the broad variance in morality that might emerge from a vigilante society.

    What you’re suggesting is a return to the Wild West, albeit with different shooters for different reasons. Still, it’s Gunsmoke… it’s lawless determination of moral standard of behavior and I can’t get down with that.

    The society that emerges post-Patriarchy will have to have advanced past ‘ends justifying the means’ in order to truly provide any progress. Regression isn’t the answer… though the NRA sure does try to make us believe otherwise.

    So, I would offer the following as an alternative to Armed Vaginas:

    How about applying the outrage and anger toward finally passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.

  55. Nebris

    The solution is simple: the perfecting of egg-to-egg fertilization for humans, develop a safe, effective, and comfortable egg harvesting technology, and just stop having male childeren. Seriously.

    ~M~

  56. the15th

    I suspect that Entwistle guy who just got arrested for killing his wife and child may actually go to prison – but only because people are horrified by the baby-killing, not by the wife-killing.

    Reading the Boston.com boards, you can already see a lot of that. “How could he kill a BABY? What could the BABY have done to antagonize him?” Then there’s the more sophisticated blogs. “Why do we only care when PRETTY WHITE WOMEN get killed?” I’m sure that if a British man were being extradited for killing an American father and his baby, we’d be hearing about the crime and its international legal implications just as much, but we wouldn’t be hearing from these self-appointed media critics that it’s a tawdry tabloid case that doesn’t deserve our attention.

  57. Twisty

    What Sunya’s getting at, Finn, and what Galloise Blonde illustrates with the UK cases, is that women don’t have time. We’re getting murdered here. No simpering bit of watered-down American legislation is going to stop this from happening, especially not overseas, where our own American government is doing its level best to keep women in a state of perpetual submission via wars, stupid godbag anti-birth-control programs, and generally turning a blind eye to global patriarchal terrorism.

  58. Mandos

    The solution is simple: the perfecting of egg-to-egg fertilization for humans, develop a safe, effective, and comfortable egg harvesting technology, and just stop having male childeren. Seriously.

    I dunno. Not to sound *too* defensive or anything, but seriously contemplated eliminationism generally doesn’t stop on its own.

  59. Mandos

    Cuz this is how revolutions start, see? In the hearts and minds of people who decide to fight back.

    Actually, all the successful ones actually start with cold, calculated planning.

  60. Shalfalfa

    Did anyone catch the bike-courier assault story in Toronto? There are a bunch of photos preceding a lengthy (albeit nearly unreadable) “discussion” of the incident. I’ll link to it but want to save you all the pain of trying to decipher what happened first:
    - Bike Courier (Leah) witnesses SUV driving, egocentric testosterone-sac (Asshole) toss a whack of food out of his car window onto the street.
    - Leah opens asshole’s door and tosses in the offending litter.
    - Asshole throws a cup of coffee onto Leah
    - Leah keys Asshole’s car
    - Asshole gets out, and then the pictures explain the rest of history.

    The guy looks like a demon. Honestly. I saw that face when I was being thrown around and beaten by an ex-lover (only once, don’t worry.. I left that night. Had to pay for my own hotel and leave all my worldly possessions behind, of course, but I got away) People balk when I use the term “woman hater” for men who make that face. But if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. It’s easy to spot.

    Anyway. Here’s the url: http://www.citynoise.org/article/2770

  61. NancyMc

    Sunya asserted that guns are the only thing men understand. She didn’t limit her position only to guys who are hurtful. I disagreed, but unfortunately I did so in my usual roundabout way which obscured my point.

    I missed the part where Sunya says shoot any man you see just for being a man.

    I’m pretty sure Sunya was talking about self-defense.

    And last I heard, it’s legal to shoot somebody in self-defense.

    If enough women started shooting rapists and other attackers in self-defense, attackers will stop assuming that assaulting women is a risk-free activity.

    Men can get away with attacking women so often because most men are physically stronger than most women. A gun is a great equalizer. The smallest weakest woman can take down the biggest strongest man with a gun. It makes the idea of women arming themselves very tempting.

  62. Lisa

    If enough women started shooting rapists and other attackers in self-defense, attackers will stop assuming that assaulting women is a risk-free activity.

    I can’t help but think that if women started shooting rapists and other attackers in self-defense, the patriarchy will find some way to either make it illegal for women to carry guns, or increase the penalty for shooting a male attacker — perhaps if the man is unarmed, women would be charged with murder rather than self-defense. Or the woman was wearing a skirt that invited attention. Whatever. The patriarchy will not — can not — stand for women to protect themselves.

    I didn’t used to be such a pessimist. Goddamn patriarchy.

  63. Finn

    “What Sunya’s getting at, Finn, and what Galloise Blonde illustrates with the UK cases, is that women don’t have time. We’re getting murdered here.”

    Hey, you’ve got the right to keep and bear arms and I ain’t stoppin ya. I just don’t think it’s going to work out the way Sunya suggests. Violence begets more violence and all that.

    Guns are one of those concepts that look good on paper, but usually backfire.

    Examples abound and I’ll give you one from personal experience. I have an uncle who bought a pistol for self-defense and kept it in the nightstand by his bed. Recently, some idiot pot dealers mistakenly broke into his house thinking he was the kingpin dealer. They ransacked the joint, even tore open all the presents looking for the goods, but found nothing except his pistol in the nightstand. When my cousin arrived early for Christmas, they idiots held him at gunpoint for more than an hour demanding that he give them the drugs. Cousin somehow managed to keep them talking long enough for other guests to arrive, at which point the dumbshit redneck dopers realized they really had gone to the wrong house. They fled. With the pistol.

    My cousin was lucky to be left alive. The gun saved nobody.

    Even if you carry that gun with you 24 hours a day, loaded… you’ll probably end up shooting yourself or someone you care about.

    I’ve got no beef with anyone who acts in self defense, but I don’t know how much confidence I have in that as an agent of change.

    -finn

  64. Tony Patti

    I love the rage filled idea of shooting the motherfuckers, of course. I would only like to amend it slightly. If at all possible, it is much easier to deal with the aftermath of shooting a man on the periphery of the vital organs than actually killing him.

    If anyone has ever read any of my other posts on the subject, they will roll their eyes heavenward in aggrieved supplication as I inevitably add that the genital area is the most promising spot to aim for, as the complete destruction of the offending glands will give the rapist something else to think about as he lays around gaining weight and losing muscle and aggressive tendencies in the prison hospital.

    The theme of providing perspective to the various problems of women in our patriarchal world is a good one, and something I think of often as I split my little feminist hairs and obsess over the unconscious assumptions of male privilege that I commit daily.

    For myself, I see some of the smaller issues, like body image and such, as things that I never knew would improve my happiness in life and that contribute towards an awareness raising atmosphere that makes the world a slightly better place, so that’s all good, and many times, highly amusing, when my beloved Twisty cranks up the rhetoric a Wodehousian notch or two, as is her wont.

    The huge and tragic issues of daily rapes, whether in Chicago or Bumfuckistan, or the femicides we see around the globe on a daily basis, belong to a far more horrifying level of awareness that is plagued by the sheer horror and utter helplessness one feels when confronted with it. Not only am I rendered helpless and keenly feel my own futility when I think about it, but I also am outraged by the ignorance and indifference of the media and governing bodies of the whole world. So these realities are a bleak hole into which I can only pour so much of my empathy before mental illness threatens to render me incapable of being amusing and flippant. And we can’t have that; can we?

  65. Finn

    “So these realities are a bleak hole into which I can only pour so much of my empathy before mental illness threatens to render me incapable of being amusing and flippant. And we can’t have that; can we?” TonyP

    “Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.” – Jane Wagner

  66. Sam

    If at all possible, it is much easier to deal with the aftermath of shooting a man on the periphery of the vital organs than actually killing him.

    I dunno. I think Loreena Bobbit might have gotten justice for the rapes and abuse her fucksband John perpetrated against her if she had killed the prick outright instead of cutting his prick off. Dead rapists don’t lie about consent, a woman’s sluttitude, or how much their victims really like rough sex.

  67. thebewilderness

    Sunya,
    What you suggest is a perfectly apropriate response to stranger attack. Given that a woman has practiced enough to be capable of dealing with the massive adrenalin hit that causes physical tremors. Unfortunately most gun owners do not have the highly developed skill necessary to hit a target when under duress. There is also the problem of stranger who attack with a weapon.
    Most attacks are not stranger attacks. By the time an abuser gets to the point of physical abuse they usually have laid the groundwork mentally so that the victim feels helpless, even if she technically is not.
    On a personal note, I do not think I would be willing to kill anyone. I have had to consider it carefully over the years and have concluded that I am not willing to do so. Better to die than to kill has been my conclusion. The physical and sexual abuse I have suffered was as a child and young woman. As an adult I was involved in law enforcement and had an opportunity to teach unarmed defensive tactics. Perhaps the most satisfying thing about it was seeing the change in attitude among the students, both men and women, when they discover that it just isn’t that easy to force or be forced, regardless of relative size and strength. Knowledge and confidence are formidable weapons against the patriarchy. Guns, not so much.

  68. Sharoni

    YAY Sunya!!! For all you people who say “isn’t self-defense with a gun going too far?” I say what about the men who regularly beat, maim and kill the females in their lives? Isn’t THAT going too far? I say what about the children who are daily raped, traumatized and taught to hate by the males in their lives? Isn’t THAT going too far? I also believe, personally, that guns are not “THE” solution. But they’re damn sure a good one if what you want is equalization with someone who is generally bigger than you, stronger than you and willing to hurt you a whole lot just for HIS own personal pleasure. YES. I think all women should carry a gun and know how to use one. When I was attacked on the street for no reason but that I was walking, female, alone and perceived as available, the policeman who came to take the report (within 3 minutes, mind you) stated that very opinion. Luckily, I was not raped or murdered because I did NOT go meekly or quietly, I kicked and screamed and carried on until the man who had come up behind me and PICKED ME UP OFF THE STREET literally dropped me because I was too much trouble. MAKE trouble, MAKE noise, RESIST with all your fiber, because anyone who approaches you with that intent will do what they want to do regardless, and resistance is the only answer.

    May we all see the downfall of the patriarchy!!!

  69. kactus

    For years I’ve been saying flippantly (flippantly because I’ve never been the victim of physical abuse) that women ought to just shoot the motherfuckers. My exact words, too. I’ve even blogged about it. And the inevitable question people have is what is going to happen to the kids if the dad’s dead and the mom’s in jail? Well, I kinda figure that a mom in jail for standing up for herself might just be a better example than a battered doormat of a mom who can no longer think past the necessities of daily survival. But once more, I have never been beaten; never even had a finger laid on me in anger, and I am extremely lucky. And even using a weapon on a guy isn’t a sure-fire solution–what if he gets it away from you and uses it himself? What if that baseball bat you were gonna bash his head in with ends up bashing you to pieces? Hard questions. I think every woman who’s on the receiving end has to make that decision for herself. She might figure the risk is worth it.

  70. tigtog

    Shalfalfa: wow, what great pics about the bike courier.

    I love the wiry little guy in the sleeveless warmer who raced in to pull the much bigger arsehole back from the courier. I hope he got laid ten times that night and every night since.

  71. SisterJ

    thebewilderness: “By the time an abuser gets to the point of physical abuse they usually have laid the groundwork mentally so that the victim feels helpless, even if she technically is not.”

    Amen. I have always told my daughter not to feign weakness or submissiveness just to entice a man. Thankfully, my warnings have been unnecessary, as she has grown into a beautifully confident young woman.

    I have made it my business to lay the groundwork so she knows what to tolerate from another person, and what not to. The first layer, of course, is that of example. She knows her mother is small but no-nonsense. And, as she’s gotten older, I have learned to tone down the hyperbole. While at first, I gave the unequivocal “shoot him” speech – completely free of nuance – we now have serious discussions about what leads some people (men) to become physically abusive.

    We were discussing OJ, and contrasting his purported treatment of his first wife with his years of abuse and (unproven in court, but understood by every sane human being) eventual murder of Nicole. How can the same man be relatively normal with one wife and turn out to be a physically abusive tyrant with the other? Well, if we are to believe that he actually did not abuse his first wife, we can only conclude that the balance of power in his relationships was different. Maybe his first wife refused to allow him the absolute control necessary to “advance” to pugilism. Maybe Nicole was young and submissive enough that he took that control over her. And, drunk with power, he eventually believed he “owned” her enough to decide whether she lived or died.

    Funny how nuance sometimes leads you right back where you started. This whole balance of power thing has me convinced that the law should be applied to women and men differently, SOMETIMES.

    For example, girls should be exempt from public schools’ ban on defensive weaponry. When I was in highschool, we all carried pepper spray. Carrying it was just part of getting dressed for the day. Now, students are expelled for carrying nail clippers. So, perverts know that any young girl they see walking in the morning, headed towards school, is unarmed, and therefore totally unprotected. Boys might carry pepper spray to school just to clear the lunchroom as a joke. But, girls shouldn’t be left unprotected just because their brothers might misbehave.

    Similarly, women should not be held to the standard of “equal force” when it comes to self defense. No matter how many karate classes a woman takes, she’s not going to be as strong as the average bear. So, if a bear is coming at her, he might just need to be shot. No offense.

  72. Sunya Harjis

    I don’t have much to add to this spirited discussion of the places and uses of violence (my favorite kind of discussion!) But I did feel it worthwhile to put in a few expert words:

    1. It ‘s MUCH better to kill someone you’re shooting at than leave him alive, from a legally-in-self-defense point of view. By better I mean you will have a much better time in court. It’s odd but true – when you shoot to kill, you aren’t leaving any live victims to testify against you. Gun enthusiasts and their haunts – ranges, gun magazines, sporting expos, that sort of thing – are gravid with advice and hundreds of compiled cases for every state and many foreign nations. All to advise the fledgling gun owner on when and how to shoot someone! These guys are great if you can get past their whole “strangely clean-cut guys who’d show up at radical meetings with five-o-clock shadow, mirrored sunglasses and a brand new radical t-shirt” thing. Anyway, one of the first things they tell you is “always shoot to kill. Never shoot to wound.”

    2. Guns can hurt the people who use them, but that’s no more a worthwhile reason to not use guns than “people can crash their cars” is a worthwhile reason to not use cars. Accidents happen, people fuck up, and sometimes the fuckups can cost lives. But that doesn’t stop us from breaking traffic laws; much less does it keep us from driving altogether. This segues nicely into my next point.

    3. I maintain, from my privileged position of familiarity with weapons, that most people are nervous around guns and about guns due to a lack of experience and education. I consider their anxiety part of the same family of anxieties that make me hate my boyfriend’s Blackberry and incline young children against mysterious casseroles. It’s always good to be cautious and careful with deadly weapons, but I think it’s a mistake to let caution become blind fear. Human beings make guns and can take them apart, and a gun won’t do anything to you that a person doesn’t make it do. Responsible gun owners are just like responsible car owners, responsible penis owners, and responsible chainsaw owners: they possess the power to destroy you or themselves at any moment! And are wildly unlikely to use it.

    4. Pacifism is a beautiful dream, but nothing wakes you up from dreaming quite like having your face held to a burner or getting pushed down the stairs. Peacebringers can do their work later after women are in a position to bargain for peace. Right now pacifism for women means taking what we are given without fighting. Even Ghandi beat his wife! I’m not going to wait around for Mankind To Wake From Its Violent Misogynistic Past And Move Into The Gilded Peaceful Future; people in the US still have a hugely hard time with the concept of international law. I doubt very much that peace will spread over such a troubled, grasping, doubtful world in time to make me look like a fool for having a concealed carry permit. All things in their time, place, and proper scale.

  73. Chris Clarke

    A clarification on my “pacifism” comment, Sunya;

    I’m not sure I’m a pacifist. I was mentioning it sort of abstractly as one possible source of criticism of your position, but I’m not sure I share it anymore. And even in my extreme pacifist days, I would never have clucked my tongue at someone defending herself violently against misogynistic attackers. Most pacifists can tell the difference between oppression and self-defense.

  74. Jezebella

    Sunya, say it ain’t so? Gandhi beat his wife? I do hope you aren’t serious. I’m a little bit nauseous now, just thinking about it.

  75. Kathleen

    Hey, on the subject of the Toronto incident, who do you suppose the blonde woman in the final photo was, and what do you suppose the look on her face implied? She seems to be an intimate of the psycho. I wonder if her look could suggest that she is thinking “holy shit, I can’t beleive he tried to beat up that woman–I knew he was a sexist loudmouth but I never thought he’d go that far”. He seems to be holding her pretty tightly.

  76. Sharoni

    I LOVE the new button!!! If Ghandi beat his wife, it’s because the patriarchy encouraged, allowed, taught him to do it. When males feel that they can perpetrate violence on other members of the human race, the patriarchy is at fault. Let us all put our fists in the air and blame the patriarchy!

    Good morning Twisty, I hope you are feeling well and have the proper impetus to go on with your patriarchy blaming ways.

  77. Piig

    Sharoni: “I did NOT go meekly or quietly, I kicked and screamed and carried on until the man who had come up behind me and PICKED ME UP OFF THE STREET literally dropped me because I was too much trouble. MAKE trouble, MAKE noise, RESIST with all your fiber, because anyone who approaches you with that intent will do what they want to do regardless, and resistance is the only answer.”

    Exactly! I have been trying to impress this point upon my friends and coworkers for years. Studies have shown that women who fight an attacker are significantly less likely to be raped and are no more physically injured than women who don’t fight back and are raped. So don’t believe the patriarchal hype that tells us that it’s safer to be passive and raped to ensure coming out of it alive. Any advice that is earnestly proclaimed by the patriarchy is most likely a patriarchal reversal of truth.

  78. ehj2

    As a privileged member of the patriarchy who has experienced and enjoyed an interesting life, I’ll risk the following comments for your consideration.

    I suspect that Gandhi cannot be your role model, and pacifism cannot be your philosophy. Gandhi was fighting the British Empire, which he calculated was too moral to do other than give way in the end.

    Your situation is different. Women are oppressed everywhere in the world, and whether it’s true or not (time and honest academic study may tell), the evidence suggests the reason is closer to nature than nurture. You’re going to have to fight your way to equality, and then use your political acumen to insist that nurture be employed in the cultures of the world to overcome men’s patriarchal nature (goodness, even as ten-year-olds, boys organize themselves almost automatically into hierarchies just to play baseball, the two alpha guys taking turns to select the members of their respective “teams”).

    If you know you are a member of a class victimized by another (and if you’re a woman I believe you are), then you are obligated to decide how much you are willing to invest in yourself to never be a victim. If you decide that investment should be nothing, then you’ve effectively decided how much you are worth.

    A long time ago I taught combat judo and knife fighting techniques to women on an air base … and what became obvious to me was that women are clearly equal members of my species … an incredibly predatory species that enjoys a catholicity of food tastes that is hardly matched in the animal kingdom. We can live almost anywhere and eat just about anything that doesn’t eat us first. We aren’t at the top of the food chain because we’re reticent.

    I have occasionally traveled in dangerous parts of the world with women carrying concealed arms. If it’s important for you to know, you quickly learn how to pick them out in a room or a crowd. I’m not talking here about a person who just casually carries a knife or a gun. I’m talking about someone with considerable training who is confident enough to travel alone just about anywhere, assess risks, and manage them. A woman comfortable and trained with weapons really can’t hide being the potential predator she is. Her real weapon, of course, is the “wet ware” between her ears. Yes, weapons and training are equalizers, but once one has felt the confidence and self-assurance of competence and capacity that is one’s birthright to achieve, one wears it whether carrying weapons or not.

    This post brings back memories.

    About two decades ago, at a bar in Colombia, I danced with a friend who was also the bodyguard of a diplomat. For a few hours that evening, I was simply part of her cover. While we danced, her eyes took in everything in the room. And every once in awhile I would brush against her suit jacket and feel the unyielding metal of a concealed light machine gun under her arm.

    She’s in a different profession now and rarely travels armed. Someday she may lose a fight. But no one would ever mistake her for a victim.

    Returning to Gandhi. Gandhi had little respect for people who would not defend themselves and then pretend that their victim-hood was somehow a choice for nonviolence. He was interested in people knowing how to use the sword who then chose not to … because that choice was a purposive decision, in his mind a moral decision, and not simply an outcome imposed by an implacable foe.

    The distinction is significant. And interestingly, my experience is that once people have the training to be dangerous, and know themselves to be dangerous, they almost never need to be so.

    I look forward to a time when women are trained to be as competent and dangerous as they want to be — when women are equal.

    /e

  79. AyMayZed

    ehj2 We aren’t at the top of the food chain because we’re reticent.

    If your “we” is Homo sapiens sapiens, then Homo s isn’t at the top of the food chain.
    It’s got very little to do with reticence. It’s got a bit to do with other things eating humans. Like most top carnivores, for example.

    The rest of your post makes me very uncomfortable.
    I can’t put my finger on it, but this purple passage has something to do with it:

    This post brings back memories.

    About two decades ago, at a bar in Colombia, I danced with a friend who was also the bodyguard of a diplomat. For a few hours that evening, I was simply part of her cover. While we danced, her eyes took in everything in the room. And every once in awhile I would brush against her suit jacket and feel the unyielding metal of a concealed light machine gun under her arm.

    What the hell is your motive in posting this dreck about brush(ing) against…the unyielding metal of …gun under her arm?

  80. ehj2

    AyMayZed,

    Someone with a formal knowledge of both wilderness and linguistics could do a much better job of writing this for me, but I would offer three pieces of an answer to your question.

    Firstly, the wilderness can seem serene and peaceful to us, even though it never is. Our frame, because we are at the top of the food chain, is not to feel too threatened in most managed environments. But even a woods of birds and deer and chipmunks and squirrels and insects is, without sentiment, filled with constant foraging for food and the continuous struggle for life.

    We forget much of the time that we live in that world. We take most of what goes on around us completely for granted and forget the sustained violence that supports it. Behind a grocery store is factory farming. Behind a shoe store is a sweat shop somewhere in the world. Behind the smile of the woman we see on the subway may be a story of abuse and unfathomable loss.

    But if we are dropped for a moment into a place that has not been cleared of claws and fangs (we’ve obliterated many species to seize our “world”), where we are vastly outnumbered and we are the prey, our minds are focused instantly. If we are dropped for a moment among the billion people of the world who live on the equivalent of $1US a day, where starvation is never more than a thousand calories away, and where malaria stalks without opposition and kills a child every few seconds, we are reminded powerfully that we do indeed live in that unsentimental and unforgiving world.

    Secondly, some images are an unresolvable dichotomy and for me jarring (such as the one I posted), in part because of the very confluence of utterly opposed interpretative frames. And here a better grounding in linguistics and knowledge of the way we symbolically interpret our environment would help me articulate this better than I can. The world of a bar with dark woods and soft lights, convivial drinking, the cacophony of voices and laughter, conjoined with the presence of a woman dancing, all invite a completely different response from my nervous system than worrying about tigers and lions and bears.

    When one is prey, one is preternaturally aware and can’t afford not to be. Whether in the woods at night and suddenly hearing the sound of a wolf in the near distance, or in a city where people are kidnapped every hour and noticing a threatening glance, there’s a kind of relaxed tension that never goes away. Believe me, if you’re in a room filled with people and someone has a gun, you’re going to pay attention with some part of your being to where that is. And while the environment may invite you to forget about it, each sight or touch of it will shatter a part of your repose. My experience in the moment I described was of my interpretive frame flickering like a candle between two opposed states — safe place — dangerous place — safe place — dangerous place.

    Thirdly, an unexpected and powerful sense of complete role reversal. The image I shared was an expression of my direct experience, and my words focused on what in my memory remains the iconic symbol of that moment. The jarring touch of hard metal where I expected softness is what I remember in that otherwise almost romantic evening in which I, as an unarmed male, was (like others around me) in the protection of a woman.

    AyMayZed, my goal in posting here isn’t to affront you, but to describe the world I see, just as your goal in articulating the flaws of the patriarchy is (I hope, I can’t read your mind) not to affront me, but to describe the world you see. I believe we both want a better world.

    This site does an incredible job providing information about how pervasive patriarchy is (the statistics routinely cited here are as repulsive and repugnant as they are necessary), and the conversation in this thread has touched briefly upon equilibrating strategies that might include training and arms for those so inclined. If feminism means anything, it means women are equal. And I suspect that until women are considered equally dangerous (in the ways they decide they want to be dangerous), they will not be perceived as equal, as equally human, as human.

    /e

    p.s. I too love the “Blame” button. Pushing it … now.

  81. AyMayZed

    Thanks for the response, ehj2.

    I regret that your writing still makes me feel a touch disturbed.

    AyMayZed, my goal in posting here isn’t to affront you, but to describe the world I see
    Now that is understood, surely? Nobody has to justify their presence in a web forum.

    just as your goal in articulating the flaws of the patriarchy is (I hope, I can’t read your mind) not to affront me,
    So I was brung up to be civil but not to go round the houses in discussion. Therefore I certainly wanted to confront you with my unease. However I have no control over any affront that you may have taken from my post, just as you have no control over any affront that I have taken from your purple prose. ::smile::

    but to describe the world you see. I believe we both want a better world.
    Good-oh mate.

    If feminism means anything, it means women are equal. And I suspect that until women are considered equally dangerous (in the ways they decide they want to be dangerous), they will not be perceived as equal, as equally human, as human.

    Feminism is an approach to life that indeed works towards eliminating inequality of power structures in a patriarchal society.
    But it’s not anything as sweeping, or as constricted, as “it means women are equal”.
    Saying that is as meaningless as saying “it means men are equal”.

    I do understand the call for women to arm themselves against violent men as the only logical response remaining in a society that still drags the chain on giving equality of justice to women.
    But I think your Red In Tooth And Claw armed equality is a nonsense.
    That kind of thing is how international relations between patriarchies are looking like getting a lot more people killed right now. Once the general smiting back and forth begins, people get killed. It’s never any different.

    I prefer a condition where the rule of law is applied to each citizen equally and where no citizen needs to feel as though they are vulnerable to being preyed upon.
    Furthermore, I prefer it when the law sanctions violence; I like relaxing when I go out.

  82. ehj2

    AyMeyZed,

    You have the higher ground in your arguments, and on that ground I agree with you. I will always discourage anyone from becoming their enemy in order to defeat him.

    Both philosophically and in “real world” reality, I think we both would prefer pacifism to unending war. Our challenge is that the pacifists of the world are not taken seriously, and many cultures (including the Native Americans of this continent with whom I share blood) who took corporatists at their word, and trusted in “rule of law,” ended up obliterated.

    Iraq wasn’t invaded because it had weapons of mass destruction; it was invaded because it didn’t. The demonstrable presence of such weapons is why North Korea is at the moment ignored … and why Iran is struggling to develop them as quickly as possible. The only obvious “immunity” from preemptive American invasion (which, you may recall, was Hitler’s crime) is to be forearmed.

    In spite of how women are treated, women are not a separate culture that can be safely oblitered, but are integral and embedded in every culture … so rather than obliterated, women are marginalized (by no more than fiat, we simply say it is so) as somehow unimportant to the “real work” of “running the world.”

    You, as a woman, are not taken seriously by your own liberal democratic culture. Once an issue is successfully labelled a “woman’s issue,” it is immediately consignd to the trivial and unimportant.

    I think you’re going to have to be obstreperous for awhile, step on toes, live out loud, jostle elbows, boycott some things, ignore politicans that betray you and build your own political action committees (i.e., EMILY’s List), and in short, fight to be taken seriously. If that means you learn to do what boys do in dangerous circumstances and travel together in pairs or threes, then do it. If that means a few of you decide you want to be armed and poke a few boys in the eyes with their own stupid pointy sticks, I’ll applaud.

    My job entails (much less now than in the past) visiting those smashed places where the idiot boys with their pointy-stick stupidity have been, and trying to clean up the messes.

    I don’t want you to change. I just want you to win. It will be a better world for both boys and girls when you do.

    /e

  83. Becker

    Sunya, NancyMC, Chris Clarke: first of all my apologies for taking so long to respond. I had to think for a bit, and thinking isn’t my strong point. Along with everything else I’m embarrassed for taking so long.

    Sunya, first, I apologize for my very angry response to your comment. As NancyMc tried to tell me, your main point was the need to level power between men and women, a point I agree with. I still don’t agree that guns are the answer, but I’m forced to admit I don’t know of a better one to offer.

    NancyMc, I apologize for being defensive when I should have been listening. But on that note, a clarification about my anecdote: it was not misunderstood gossip. I asked my girlfriend, out of curiousity, why she didn’t wear makeup. She heard from my asking that she should start wearing it. Communication is a tricky beast.

    Chris, I apologize for not having responded at all. I agree that a dude shouldn’t be able to shoot his wife, drop the gun and cry that society is to blame. But what the Patriarchy amounts to is privilege, and whether you’re a Kennedy or a Cheney, an OJ or a Dubya, privilege does allow for behavior that would not ordinarily be condoned. When a slave owner rapes his slave, one finger should be pointed at the rapist, but the other nine must be pointed at the institution of slavery. And if one dude in mirrorshades is infiltrating peaceful protesters, nine fingers should be pointed at those what sent him in. This is, I suspect, why Twisty points at Patriarchy and not those who, women and men, thrive from its privilege, rather than any urge to play nice with the boys.

  84. Twisty

    As long as we’re pointing fingers, may I suggest THE finger?

  85. alsis39.5

    Sharoni’s post #20 reminded me of this article about female artisans. If you’re run it before, Twisty, my apologies. I’m not a regular here. And thanks for the discussion:

    http://lefthook.org/Ground/Cheema052005.html

  86. softdog

    While the conversation this post inspired is honest and interesting, I find the post itself to be profoundly dishonest.

    First, it misrepresents Ignacio Ramonet’s essay, which is titled “Violence begins at home” and starts with European stats because it’s in Le Monde and, as the title suggests, is encouraging self-examination, but it doesn’t stop there. A more honest blogger would have included the following excerpt: “Such violence is worldwide: it happens in all countries, on all continents and in all social, economic, religious and cultural groups…This violence – to which feminist groups have long drawn government attention – is so virulent globally that we must regard it as a major violation of human rights. It is a major issue of public health: not just the physical attacks, however murderous, but also psychological violence, threats and intimidation, and sexual brutality. In many cases all these forms of violence coincide.” Unlike American columnists, the observations are footnoted, and the cited references are decidedly non-Eurocentric.

    Thus in order to support a highly dubious thesis about Eurocentricism in blogs, the blogger commits an act of reductivist misrepresentation. This sort of dishonest decontexualizing drives me crazy, because it undermines the health of the debate which follows.

    And once you get beyond those who strive to be informed many Americans, left and right, make wrong assumptions about Europe on this issue. They stereotype EU countries as being more socialist sensual and thus more enlightened about gender (as if these things were that connected). This column is hardly perfect (for example, it expresses surprise that impoverished nothern countries have a higher rater of abuse than prosperous southern ones) but it is interesting how some stats go against type: “In Finland more than eight in every million women are killed in the home every year: the list runs on down through Norway (6.58), Luxembourg (5.56), Denmark (5.42) and Sweden (4.59). Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland in fact come at the bottom of the list.”

    When it comes to stereotypes, both left and right also share a view of the “third world” as a parade of misogynist horror. This is not some unknown topic, but pop culture – “honor killings” and the sexism of non-white foreingers is regular fodder for prime time crime dramas. I’ve seen TONS of blogs and comments about this.

    It’s sort of odd to read a feminist blog repeating what is very close to a right wing talking point used against feminists, “Yes there are problems here, but feminists are strangely silent about global issue X which proves they only care about wealthy whites” which is both untrue and sneakily racist. I mean, I could almost imagine Ann Coulter writing this: “Educated European honkys are whacking their fair share of wives and girlfriends. Dudes in Botswana are whacking them, too. Assholes in India are trading them for goats. Godbags in Saudi Arabia are throwing acid on them.” While India devalues women in many ways, that goats thing is more bigoted legend than common problem.

  87. Twisty

    Softdog, your comment is nonsensical. I do not not “misrepresent” Ramoncet’s essay; I in fact quote it directly. And to accuse me of “reductivist misrepresentation” is bogus to the max. I don’t claim to have conducted a global study. I clearly cite my “source” as the commentary on this one particular blog, and draw an inference therefrom. The point of my post is that that violence against women is a global epidemic. I have difficulty understanding how anyone but a dumbass can refute that; it’s hardly a newsflash.

    But yes, I got the goat thing wrong. It’s not India, it’s Malawi, and it’s not goats, it’s cows.

    I admire your concern for the health of the debate, however. It thanks you for the flowers, waving to you weakly from its sickbed.

  88. softdog

    I’m not trying to deny or undermine the central idea, I’m questioning a rhetorical flaw. I think the post is full of wit and sincerity. Most posts do not need rigor, but I think when one is urging against patronizing and priveleged discourse being extra careful about one’s own rhetoric is important. Part of making a change is to speak in way which makes that change possible.

    The thesis is a generalized denouncement of Western blindness and racism using comments on this blog as a supporting example. My point, as others have made, is there’s a larger context, which does not involve a lack of awareness, caring or bigotry. Fewer comments may indicate deeper respect for an issue which is more loaded with issues of culture wars and nationalism than a Dove Ad disccussion. People may care deeply, but are trying to avoid flip comments which buy into how the right feigns concern over global women’s rights to demonize American feminists and foreign cultures.

    An actual survey of comments which took into account both content and number on various topics on this blog might reveal readers are in now way “less outraged by ritual stonings” (which reminds me of right wing attacks on NOW). Backlash writing and commentary relies on “unscientific surveys”, impressions instead of reasoning, and questionable casual connections (which patriachs pass of as “masculine logic”). Again, I don’t think feminist critics need a higher standard, but when the topic is misrepresentations and presumptions it’s important.

    For example, the mistake about goats for woman may seem like a picayune detail from our POV, but to someone within the culture it might seem a flippant, insulting error – “goats, cows, India, Malawi, whatever” – reflecting the “cavalier unfamiliarity with their strange, primitive ways” which readers are being urged to rise above. I understand it was meant as a one liner, but in this case it seems like indulging the same problem being criticized.

  89. vandenbrink

    Wife beating in Europe seems a common thing. In beautiful progressive Europe we don’t talk about this but a lot of men beat their wives mercilessly, but being great examples in democracy and welfare and wellcare states how can we confess that we too have “bugs” in our high-brow homes in Europe?

    The centers for battered women are filled with white women who are battered by their white hubbies, the society here ultimately drives those white cows back to their hubbies by giving them a hard time and that’s how we keep the divorce rates at bay.

  90. LOLBall666

    “Educated European honkys are whacking their fair share of wives and girlfriends.”

    hahaha. A disproportionate percentage of this violence is commited by ‘honky’ immigrants from the 3rd world (cuz Allah rox0rz their sox0rz).

  91. Ann Duckworth

    I would like to know if the Male Crisis in conjunction with more women in power – with Males earning less, even than their own spouse could be some source of the problem. If this is so, could we be looking at a general increase not only more violence toward women but more organized violence toward women in general? Are there countries today where one can point to this problem as significant enough to foretell like outcomes down the road for other countries. Is this just the beginning of a more worldwide epidemic that will grow much worse as women assume more power and wealth through their increased prevalence in college and the reduction in men attending college or obtaining information age skills? My learning theory speaks to the reason why Males are falling behind academically and now economically. It will go to all on request.

  1. Politblogo

    North, Women, South, Media

    Twisty Faster writes:I Blame the Patriarchy – European Honky Dudes Whacking Wives At Alarming Rate: I say this because our racist conceits are more thoroughgoing than we care to admit. As I have oft opined, Americans display a notably high

  2. Feministe » What’s Killing European Women?

    [...] And because I am not nearly as eloquent as The Great Patriachy Blamer, I’ll leave you with wise words from Twisty: Of course, you and I don’t need Ignacio Ramonet to tell us that the epidemic of violence is not just limited to bride killings by rural primitives in India and Africa; we are patriarchy-blamers, and we know what time it is. But there is no doubt that we do need loud proclamations reminding us of the suffering of non-European women whose advocates in the West are few and far between. [...]

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