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Mar 16 2009

Spinster aunt leafs through Daily Mail, requires anti-emetic

dailymailyou

Hold the Batter Blaster! Down at the Spinster HQ Barfology Lab things are really spewing this morning. But before we get going, here is a handy a synopsis of the following post, for those who are disinclined to slog through the looming Twistgasso Sea of dependent clauses.

Today’s exciting post will say this: The Daily Mail’s website uses a story about “corrective rape” in South Africa to lure readers into a pink “Femail Today” yay-femininity lifestyle sidebar, apparently oblivious to the correlation between femininity and rape culture. In addition to denouncing “corrective rape,” I will take a swipe at a couple of the pink sidebar articles showcasing most spectacularly the imbecility of femininity. Finally, I will re-assert that femininity and violence against women are points on the same continuum.

On to the post.

What caught my jaundiced eye was a Daily Mail article headlined “South African men are ‘raping women to cure them of being lesbians’,” and its jarring juxtaposition to an all-pink “you you you you you” girl-section.

Not that an article about rape as a “cure” for lesbosity doesn’t stand alone as a particularly abhorrent accompaniment to my morning waffle. They — whoever “they” are — actually call it “corrective rape.”

Hey, whoever-who-coined-this-absurd-term “corrective rape”: you’re an idiot!

Rape is rape, and all attempts to categorize it (“date rape,” “spousal abuse,” “prostitution,” “arranged marriage,” “conjugal duties,” etc) represent the rationalizations, clinicalizations, and normalizations of the occupying forces. But the ideas festering behind rape as a “cure” for anything represent patriarchal toxicity at its most virulent, and are the logical conclusion of enforced femininity.

The Mail article in a nutshell: gay rights groups in South Africa are using the occasion of a high-profile rape trial to gain support for long-overdue government intervention in hate crimes that take the shape of “corrective rape.” Practitioners of “corrective rape” supposedly believe that they can “cure” lesbians by assaulting them.

It is lobe-blowing that even a moderately sentient being could put “cure” and “rape” together in the same sentence and expect not to be punched in the face, but people do, because the idea is as old as the hills. Lesbianism as a concept profoundly irks Dude Nation, since it suggests that there exists a group of women who don’t (at least in theory) embrace femininity (i.e. maintain a permanent state of availability for male use).

Well, you know what happens in our crush-thy-neighbor society to anyone who even passively challenges male authority. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Your “cure” will be indistinguishable from punishment. Efforts to keep the upper hand over women who decline to self-receptacle-ize in service of male power run the gamut from pathologization to murder. In between are assorted species of objectification, derision, and criminalization (by secular or magical godly law).

Pathologization: The idea that lesbianism is a mental illness needs no introduction. Patriarchal authorities in charge of identifying and classifying various species of aberration kept homos on their list until the mid-Seventies. Categorizing it as a sickness facilitates the medicalization of patriarchal contempt.

Objectification: like all women, lesbians are encouraged to adapt to a culture of male domination by practicing femininity. Engaging in feminine practices results in increased acceptance by Dude Nation, but beware the caveat: men retain the right to co-opt and phallocentricize lesbian sexuality for their own pornulated fantasies. Variants on this theme entail straight girls pretending to get it on for the camera or for their boyfriends, as well as those dipshit dudes at parties — you know the ones — who pretend intellectual curiosity when they single out the “hot” lesbian and ask the incredibly rude but sadly inevitable question “So what do you guys do, exactly?”

Criminalization and other official social sanctions: Can gay women get married in your neck of the woods? Adopt kids? Openly serve in the military? In some necks, you can get life in prison. In other necks, getting busted for living while queer incurs the death penalty. Lesbianism is an aberrant behavior controlled by godbagsim, government, or godbag government.*

Here is where they can legally kill you for being queer:

Iran
Mauritania
Saudi-Arabia
Sudan
United Arab Emirates
Yemen
Nigeria

Of course, vigilante hatebags might kill you anywhere, for no reason.

Derision: Lesbians who dare to appear in public sans femininity — i.e. women who openly declare, merely by omitting the agreed-upon set of beauty-and-behavorial cues, that they are not available for male use — are kept in line by the threat of mockery and contempt. In fact, it is not even necessary to leave the house to experience this. If, for example, you write a patriarchy-blaming blog, nary a day goes by but what you don’t receive a transmission expressing the idea that you are a cunt who just needs a good fuck. Which carries with it the odor of looming violence, from which it is, for the dude offended by displays of female non-submissiveness, but a short cognitive leap to rape and/or

Murder: Last year openly gay South African football star Eudy Simelane was gang-raped and stabbed 25 times. The trial of her three murderer-rapists is what is galvanizing the aforementioned activists to activate against “corrective rape.”

I was fascinated in an its-hideous-yet-I-can’t-look-away way with the the “Femail Today” sidebar attached to the Eudy Simelane story. It is full of cautionary tales about women who don’t do femininity right. Britney is photographed in a bikini with an “unsightly bulge.” Somebody named Ronaldo’s mother is photographed with large knees in “some VERY ill-advised hotpants.” Princess Fergie’s daughter’s “mumsy outfit didn’t do her any favors.”

And the “lifestyle” articles! They are marketing ploys, exerpts from women’s self-help books with titles like Sizzling Sex and Lost and Found.

“Why 50 is a dangerous age for a woman” expounds on a “trend” — confirmed by the author’s list of celebrities (apparently limited to actress Kristin Scott Thomas) who have ditched their marriages — toward cinquagenarian women to suddenly realize they’re unfulfilled. Whereupon they biff off with their personal trainers and go gallery-hopping, leaving their Nigels in front of the TV. The “danger” appears to be that these foolhardy women are willing to sacrifice “security” for the opportunity to escape domestic slavery.

Well, I say huzzah!

Here’s what a phallotarian reader says:

“It is certainly strange that these rather misguided women choose 50 as the age to ‘start their lives again’. At least if they were to pursue the same selfish actions at 40, their looks and figure wouldn’t have eroded completely.”

It goes without saying that, in closing, the article warns middle-aged women who are contemplating divorce not to actually do it. The problem might actually be with you, you miserable old hag, not with the fact of your oppression; or, seeking your liberation might be too “disruptive,” so probably you should just suck it up for the greater good. But above all, don’t trust yourself! Get “feedback” from an outside source to validate you before you start imagining you’re an actual human being.

What does all this malarkey have to do with rape? This one Daily Mail webpage, featuring a story about South African rape culture alongside photos of Britney Spears’ imperfect ghastly abdomen, is a mainstream media reflection of the division of the human species into a dominant male class privileged over a female sex class. The sex class is responsible for maintaining its perpetual availability for the use of males. Any dereliction of duty in this quarter — having large knees, divorcing the patriarch, playing football while queer — exacts harsh punishment: ridicule in the press, loss of security, and murder.

Where does anyone get the idea that lesbians, or anybody else, ought to be fucked into submission? One guess.

Masculinity is what phallotarians do to keep women feminized. Femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.

____________________
* From one godbag website: “Homosexuality is a form of social behaviour, which is caused by failure of governments to educate the people on the correct use of their reproductive process.”

[Thanks for the original link, Jennifer]

79 comments

3 pings

  1. MLH

    You nailed it!

    And, regarding the Mail Online, did you see that story on today’s issue that talks about women using “one night stands” to get themselves pregnant on purpose??? Good grief.

  2. Feminist Avatar

    “Homosexuality is a form of social behaviour, which is caused by failure of governments to educate the people on the correct use of their reproductive process.”

    Surely, this is an argument against abstinence only sex-ed?

  3. CLD

    “Homosexuality is a form of social behaviour, which is caused by failure of governments to educate the people on the correct use of their reproductive process.”

    Because people in that country are apparently so stupid they can’t figure out what to do with their own naughty bits without government intervention.

  4. Miss Gonzo

    Crikes, I love you!

    I laughed so hard reading this, you’re sharp and funny, and (most importantly) right.

  5. Laughingrat

    Sometimes the reminders of patriarchy’s omnipresence and brutality are utterly overwhelming. How can one talk to these people? How can one argue with them, reason with them? I mean, they don’t even grasp that women are human beings. What the hell can we do?

    Argh, it’s only just past noon and already I need a drink.

  6. Sophie Lagacé

    The odds are pretty high that being raped might cure me of heterosexuality.

  7. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    The rape of a lesbian is something of a victimless crime in that it is a quest for ownership. See, a lesbian is an unowned woman. By raping her, a man has planted his pole in her / on her as a way of claiming her, both for himself and for manity, closing the momentary lapse in patriarchal order. No woman can be unowned.

    Femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.

    I would add the corollary: Crimes against even the most feminized of women: including abuse, rape and murder are done to women at random in order to keep them in line, no matter how well they have been complying. We see the good cop / bad cop scenario played out time and time again; for there is no attainable goal in femininity- the goal posts keep shifting. You actually CAN be too thin. You can be too hawt, you slut, you! But you can never just Be. The corrective measure so thoughtfully implemented in all cases is the same.

    For the Rape class, it’s a win/win: They rape with impunity, regardless of whether there has been a female challenge to patriarchal omnipotence: there is always a fifth column that must be demoralized. Besides, it’s fun. The only sticky point is when an owned woman is raped. Then it becomes a property struggle betwixt men to see who is the maniest of them all.

  8. :: Wendy ::

    The situation is dire here in the UK, the Mail is a very popular newspaper and reflects the language and attitudes of many people that I meet.

  9. Noble Savage

    The Daily Lobotomy is very good at perpetuating that which they claim to hate. I can’t look at that trainwreck of a rag anymore, it makes my blood pressure skyrocket.

  10. Lu

    “It is certainly strange that these rather misguided women choose 50 as the age to ’start their lives again’. At least if they were to pursue the same selfish actions at 40, their looks and figure wouldn’t have eroded completely.” Thanks, patriarchy. Speaking as someone who finds herself in this position halfway between your “acceptable” and “unacceptable” ages, it’s nice that the self-defeating message you’ve poisoned my mind with all these years has remained consistent. At least I know now that my grief over lost years, and my irrational fear that starting over now is pointless, exists for a reason.

  11. liberality

    Masculinity is what phallotarians do to keep women feminized. Femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.

    I knew this intuitively as a young woman but didn’t have the words for it. I am merely surviving my gender but I have never been allowed to be a full human being.

  12. phiogistic

    Twisty for Pope! Of the First Church of Phallocynicsm.

  13. A nancy

    Twisty dear,
    Could you clarify a point for me?

    I don’t completely follow your argument about the terms ‘corrective’ and ‘cure’-

    “It is lobe-blowing that even a moderately sentient being could put “cure” and “rape” together in the same sentence and expect not to be punched in the face,”

    Would you like to punch a) the idiot coiner (probably a perpetrator?), or b) all users of the words in inverted commas (all UK news coverage of this that I have seen)?

    “Rape is rape, and all attempts to categorize it (”date rape,” “spousal abuse”) represent the rationalizations, clinicalizations, and sanitizations of the occupying forces”

    Of course agree that the terms ‘date rape’ and ‘spousal abuse’ are abhorrent and offensive, implying reasonable expectations and shared responsibility. To me, the terms ‘corrective rape’ and ‘cure’ (when used by journos) aren’t there to rationalize, but to point out the full horror of the rationale- viz, probably all flavours of rapists have delusional justifications for their actions, but these ones have the evilest possible delusions.
    Surely, even readers of the Daily Mail will pick up on the inverted commas and read in the shudder of horrible irony they are meant to convey?

    All murder is equally murderous and results uniformly in death, but is there REALLY no difference between being chosen at random out of a crowd for stabbing by a psychopath, and being specifically targeted because of your sexual orientation and exterminated?

    I wanted to make a comparison to the use of the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ here, but it punned unfortunately with ‘sanitizations of the occupying forces’

    Hugs,
    N

  14. LCforevah

    My niece is now at an all-girl high school. She gets to be herself, not be intimidated in math class, and strive for excellence without boys teasing her about her ambitions. She likes boys, but they are not a priority.

    What. A. Fucking. Relief.

    When it comes time to deal with the ugly realities awaiting her, she will be more mature and better prepared.

  15. belenen

    “femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.”

    You said it all right there. Of course, it doesn’t work, but it works better than the alternative.

  16. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Isn’t all rape “corrective?” Supposedly?

  17. Nepenthe

    @Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Being raped sure corrected me of the desire to sleep with men.

  18. Sydney

    You’re absolutely correct about rape only being a terrible thing when the woman is already owned. Or, of course, if the woman fits the patriarchy’s idea of a role model female. If someone’s wife is dutiful raped, then it’s a national tragedy. But if a lesbian or a prostitute is raped, everyone shrugs. Surely if wouldn’t have happened if they were protected by a man, after all.

    Oh, but I almost forgot. If a man rapes or beats his wife, she must have done something wrong. She’s his property and he can do what he wants to ‘tame’ her. Sometimes, the public might actually put some the blame on the male (but don’t be deceived, even the most awful and violent of men have their supporters). Of course, if a woman fails to leave her abuser, then all the blame falls on her once again. The same people that wag their fingers at women who dare to leave their men at age 50 are the same people condemning an abused woman who finds it hard to leave an abusive man who threatens her and that society says loves her and deserves to own her. Good job, patriarchy.

  19. Mooska

    Thanks for joining the dots so eloquently, Twisty.

    If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard ‘God, it’s just a newspaper..!’ or ‘I only read it for the weather/horoscope(hah!)/gardening column’, I’d be on holiday somewhere, not posting this.

    They love pretending to be shocked at horrific crimes such as this (but as you spotted with the Sun’s recent coverage of the computer rape game, it’s mainly so they can lovingly report every detail), but give them an opportunity to link gay men and paedophilia, or lesbians and any kind of rights issue, and they’ll be spewing the hate-burps before you can say ‘reactionary arseholes’.

  20. Betsy

    Thank you, Twisty.

  21. humanbein

    Your post is so perfectly structured! Your writing just gets better and better.

    This corrective rape idea is a construct of the pornographic mindset. All porn rape scenarios result in mind-blowing orgasms all round. Actual rape scenarios result in mind-blowing emotional damage all round. You probably can’t get to this idea without porn as a reference.

    I wish that it were some use to point out that many ways of referring to rape are actually porn story plots rather than real descriptions. But the day is fast approaching where any hint of shame about being outed as a porn enthusiast will be completely gone, even among god bags.

  22. Twisty

    A nancy: Would you like to punch a) the idiot coiner (probably a perpetrator?), or b) all users of the words in inverted commas (all UK news coverage of this that I have seen)?”

    I personally don’t want to punch anybody. I was suggesting that the idea of rape as a cure is so offensive and over-the-top sick that anyone who uses the phrase with a straight face should not be surprised if somebody did punch them in the face.

  23. Kathleen

    Do you suppose the Daily Mail’s set-up is linked to marketing research? The assumption that rape and fashion commentary — both being “girly subjects” — go together like peas and carrots is grotesque, yeah, but what if they sort of do in the sense that men just don’t read the articles about rape? Which is of course part of the patriarchal dealie-o (I love your writing, and if I am especially grateful for anything it is for the introduction of this word to my vocab), all I am saying is that this might also tell us something depressing about how men vs. women read the news.

  24. Cottonpants

    It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if the only reason I want to transition (from female to male) is so that I can live my life as a human. It’s sad to think that if I just grow facial hair and a deep voice, I can likely continue to be the exact same person I am now and be accepted (for once) as “normal”. Or, I can remain sans-beard and instead continue to be an aberrant, fat, ugly, man-hating dyke. Hard choice indeed.

    Gender roles are so bogus. It’d be bad enough if everyone had to pick one role from the two rigid choices presented (remind anyone of our political system?), but, as it is, you’re almost totally fucked if you end up by birth on the wrong side. Why should anyone HAVE to change their physical sex just to be accepted for who they are? Why can’t we all just be human? IBTgoddamnP.

  25. bertalou

    “It is certainly strange that these rather misguided women choose 50 as the age to ’start their lives again’.”

    It is not strange the Man-o-pause made me do it.

    And I am so glad.

  26. Aodhán Williams

    I completely agree with another excellent post. BUT this isn’t remotely surprising – the Daily Mail has nearly a century long history of horrific politics, having printed membership forms for the British Union of Fascists, and launched nearly every crusade possible against remotely liberal social reforms, they simply CANNOT do anything more to lower themselves.

    Though, on a laughable note I do quite like to observe Quentin Letts’s (Daily Mail political journalist) obsession with women politicians and their fashion choices – if you’re interested look at all the articles on the DM wesbite about Caroline Flint!

  27. Lovepug

    Ditto on what’s been said about the whipsmart writing on this post.

    The high quality post also spun off some high quality blaming in the comments.

    The comments about rape being a better “cure” for heterosexuality – spot on.

    And this:

    “Crimes against even the most feminized of women: including abuse, rape and murder are done to women at random in order to keep them in line, no matter how well they have been complying. We see the good cop / bad cop scenario played out time and time again; for there is no attainable goal in femininity- the goal posts keep shifting. You actually CAN be too thin. You can be too hawt, you slut, you! But you can never just Be.”

    Brilliantly stated.

    I think also worth mentioning his how much feminization women have to participate in just to get and keep a job.

  28. Felicity

    A brilliant summary; I love how things sometimes just click into place. It happened that everything on a webpage representing ideas sold to the public, ads, articles, images and thoughts sold telling us what to think, all clicked into place perfectly for someone with the brain to fathom it.

    If you’re smart, the patriarchy is a brilliant thing to analyze. It’s not like science where big geniuses spend their lives trying to get laid by solving the truths of the Earth. The pariarchy is left to those women brave and smart enough to uncover what the world desperately tries to hide. It’s an amazing secret, once you know a bit about it everything else clicks into place. You see the constant attempts to uphold P (Britney unshaved = yuck), against only the constant denial it exists.

  29. yttik

    Let’s hear it for the “misguided” women over 50! I can vouch for the fact that the patriarchy lies, youth and beauty for women are highly over rated. Life starts to get much more fun after 40. Something magical happens, you just stop caring about what they want, how they define you, to differing degrees of course, but I absolutely love hanging out with older women. In general they know how to cut thru the crap.

    “Lesbianism as a concept profoundly irks Dude Nation…” Oh so true. And anybody can be a lesbian, all you have to do is step out of line.

  30. taggles

    this video is a snippet of a documentary regarding this in SA.

    it has graphic descriptions, no pics, of these women’s rapes from the women themselves and interviews with the men who support raping women.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/12/eudy-simelane-corrective-rape-south-africa

  31. Chai Latte

    What a marvelous gift….just to BE. It’s a fine dream.

    And all-girls schools are the BOMB. My college was all-female, and it was awesome. :D

  32. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    MAN-O-PAUSE! Brilliant! I always called it “mentalpause” due to the effect it had on my mother’s (and now my) brain, but, mmm, yeah.

    Yesterday I received an unsolicited email from a gentlemanly character who volunteered – in an oh so kind and erudite way, as he only had my best interests at heart of course – that my “sauce” – what he imagined I was offering on my blog – was no longer “working” because I was aging past the point where WHATEVER. And then he offered me his services should I be interested. It was by far the funniest thing I’d read all day. Ah, men: The woman’s cure for heterosexuality.

  33. Joy

    It’s true — femininity is a game women play to avoid torment, and it doesn’t even work.
    I used to get beaten up and degraded constantly when I looked “like a dyke”, but ever since I feminized myself in an attempt to better fit in, I’ve been mercifully relieved of this torment.

    However, now I must torment myself. I work at a small company with only women, including a woman boss and company-owner, and although they are all friendly I still spend cumulative hours every week wondering, “Do they worry that I might be a sexual threat or a weirdo because my hair isn’t long or cute?”
    And while I am probably the dykiest of all of us, I am the only one who puts makeup on in the mornings — to go work at a warehouse.

    After all of that, it doesn’t even matter if my shirt looks too masculine and my hair more butchy than pixie, or that I have on green eyeshadow and look good in a pencil skirt. If some man wants to rape me, degrade me, anything, then he still can and there is absolutely nothing I can do, before during or after the fact.

    It’s a trick the P plays and I’m stuck in it. I come here for reassurance that I’m not alone — because the friends I try to talk to tell me I am crazy, and it would be better if I didn’t think of life “that way.”

    By the way, Cottonpants — what you wrote about is EXACTLY why I transgendered a few years ago, and EXACTLY why I transgendered back.

  34. oscuro

    “Do you suppose the Daily Mail’s set-up is linked to marketing research? The assumption that rape and fashion commentary — both being “girly subjects” — go together like peas and carrots is grotesque, yeah, but what if they sort of do in the sense that men just don’t read the articles about rape?”

    I rather suspect that rape is one of the few “girly subjects” that men DO read about. Porn is rape, therefore rape is porn. An article like this might just be titillating to men who read it. Excuse me, must go kill brain cells with booze.

  35. Tigs

    I have to say, the batter blaster is fantastic.

  36. nails

    “Masculinity is what phallotarians do to keep women feminized. Femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.”

    Thats how the media paints it, they are so happy to draw attention to stories of women who were killed or raped for not being feminine but dont exactly tell you what your chances are if you do conform to gender roles. No one is going to run the story “X amount(a shit ton) of women got raped today, just like yesterday, and almost none of the rapists will go to jail.” You run an increased risk by not conforming to femininity… but you still have almost no chance of making it through life without punishment for your gender. Un feminine women run a higher risk of sexual harassment as well, or at least thats what the american psychological association concluded awhile back. so much for it being a compliment.

  37. Cottonpants

    @nails
    “Un feminine women run a higher risk of sexual harassment as well, or at least thats what the american psychological association concluded awhile back.”

    Really? Do you have a link? I’m interested in hearing more about this, because I’ve definitely received a lot less overt male sexual attention (both “positive” and negative) since I stopped wearing the feminine uniform, started binding my breasts, etc.

    My guess is that said “finding” is just another attempt to scare women out of deviating.

    You know, now that I’m thinking about it, though, I can tell you that other young women used to stare at me coldly when I was out in public in female swag. The young men mostly ignored me. Now that I go out in male swag, however, it’s the young men who give me the cold stares, and the young women who ignore me. Kind of interesting.

  38. gorillagrrl

    Great blog this.. that last sentence about femininity really gelled with me. I have been discarding this stuff for years.There’s just so much of it; so pervasive down to tiny details.. just yesterday in the bank queue I was peering at other women’s feet and the ones that I could see the toenails of, all had nail polish on. The shoes were constrictive yet “decorative” .. tired swollen feet squashed inside..all the men stood flat footed and comfortable.

  39. slashy

    taggles- the most depressing thing about that video is that there are people willing to go on record, on camera, to state matter-of-factly that of course rape is viable tool for curing lesbians. We hear these things implied or dog-whistled constantly, but to hear it said so bluntly is… disturbingly illuminating.

  40. slythwolf

    Because people in that country are apparently so stupid they can’t figure out what to do with their own naughty bits without government intervention.

    No, no–the godbags are arguing that queer people are too stupid to figure out what to do with their naughty bits without the government’s assistance. Straight people are smart enough to get it on their own.

  41. PandanCat

    Yay Twisty! This is just what I needed today. I saw this article yesterday and it made me want to die or kill something. (Given, it was in a newspaper less offensive, but that didn’t help the vileness of the story.)

    Yay Felicity about the femininity requirement for working. I had a little talk with my job agent about that just this week. The upshot was that pornifying myself was not an option and that I would be leaving. Sorry, bub. There goes your $200/month commission for this year! We all end up making sacrifices just to survive in the patriarchy, but pornulation isn’t one this hairy dyke is going to make.

  42. taggles

    slashy, that is what got to me too about that video. to know that those thoughts are just under the surface here and everywhere is shameful. to hear them spoken is startling but to know/realize they are often thought is quite disturbing.

  43. Lara

    Interestingly enough, these British/American news articles usually talk about rape or the abuse of women in OTHER countries, while posting other headlines and ads of the misogynist variety about Western female celebs and weight loss on the same web or newspaper page. Hypocrisy much?

    This corrective rape idea is a construct of the pornographic mindset. All porn rape scenarios result in mind-blowing orgasms all round. Actual rape scenarios result in mind-blowing emotional damage all round. You probably can’t get to this idea without porn as a reference.

    I wish that it were some use to point out that many ways of referring to rape are actually porn story plots rather than real descriptions. But the day is fast approaching where any hint of shame about being outed as a porn enthusiast will be completely gone, even among god bags.

    Kudos to humanbein for pointing this out. I never thought about these rape “type” labels in that way exactly, and it’s very illuminating. Rape is rape is rape. Period.

    What I’ve noticed, ever since I have cut my hair much shorter and got a nose ring, is that some people (whether male or female) are not sure how to react to me. My guess is they think I might be a lesbian, and they find this unsettling or irksome in some way. Then again, sometimes I still got rude looks and sexually harassed in public places when I am all femmed up, wearing makeup, heels, etc. When you’re a woman in the Patriarchy, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  44. Jezebella

    Cottonpants, I’m not convinced there’s any kind of correlation between overt sexual attention of the so-called “positive” kind and the likelihood of being raped or assaulted.

    “Flirting” and “hostility to the hairy dyke” behaviors exist on exactly the same continuum: the “are you fuckable” continuum, in which women are merely more or less acceptable receptacles. Both the flirting and the hostility can escalate to rape.

  45. yttik

    “I’m not convinced there’s any kind of correlation between overt sexual attention of the so-called “positive” kind and the likelihood of being raped or assaulted.”

    There’s an old cynical piece of gallows humor from those who work in sexual assault programs that says, if you try to dress down and hide your femininity all you do is attract a lower class of rapist. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Look good and you were asking for it, don’t and you were asking to be “corrected” for not meeting the expectation.

    In some places in the ME they wrap women up from head to toe and they are still raped. Of course the actual number of rapes don’t show up on official counts, since reporting a rape is likely to get you ostracized, jailed or executed, which needless to say, discourages reporting.

    Hidden in all of this is the fact that hearing about a lot of rapes is not always a bad sign, it can just mean that there is a system in place that makes it possible for women to speak out. I discovered this checking out colleges for my kid. Rape is everywhere, sometimes those places who appear to have more sexual assault really only have better awareness and stronger services for victims. So as depressing as the atrocious wording of the South African story is, somebody is speaking out and objecting because rape didn’t just start happening.

    It’s insane, but having high rape statistics can mean you’re in an area where women at least have enough support to speak out. We have a police chief here who brags about how our county has almost no sexual assault and he credits himself for the low crime statistics. He’s so totally FOS.

  46. nails

    heres the link to the information.

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/may07/harassers.html

    I think that the sexual harassment of women who dont perform femininity is done for the same reason as the rape in the main article.

    The apa has a wealth of information about how femininity and masculinity are social constructs and how they create serious problems for society. they do some good stuff too.

  47. Cottonpants

    Jezebella, I agree with you about all attention being potential rape attention. I was trying to say, though, that other than the weird stares, I seem to be invisible to men. And even the stares are a recent development. And I’m still not entirely sure what they’re even about; no one’s ever said anything to me, they just look me right in the eyes with a blank expression.

    And, nails, thanks for the link. I will check it out as soon as I get up. I’m long past due for sleep.

  48. gayle

    bertalou
    March 16, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    ““It is certainly strange that these rather misguided women choose 50 as the age to ’start their lives again’.”

    It is not strange the Man-o-pause made me do it.

    And I am so glad.”

    I can totally see the appeal of leaving it all behind and changing your life at 50, and although the article’s title is dreadful, I thought some of the quotes were awesome.

  49. Margaret

    A few months after I turned 50, this misguided woman left her Nigel with a note on the table, probably rightly figuring that if he spent 10 years not listening to a word I said, and I don’t talk much, there was nothing further to say. This incurred his wrath and the wrath of everyone who decided that leaving that way was terribly cowardly and low. What? No last-ditch talks or effort to save things? How selfish! I simply packed my bags, got on a plane and left everything behind. That was some years ago and I never looked back. It had to be the best thing I ever did. It was the most daring for sure. So, what is it about women and 50? It’s the first I’ve heard of this “misguided woman” theme. Is it long awaited escape from domestic slavery after the kids are grown?

  50. Nolabelfits

    I’m 50 this year and I have to say that with me, it is a long awaited escape from domestic slavery, but more than that, its a long awaited escape from living with male privilege 24/07/365. Of being colonized and treated like a third class citizen even in my own home. I yearn for dude free space.

    On the ‘corrective rape” topic-
    In Richmond, Ca, a lesbian woman was brutally attacked and raped by four men (two were teenage minors). She was abducted right outside her own home. During the gang rape, the attackers made several references to her lesbianism. So…the same thing, right here in the good ol’ USA.

  51. Emily

    What’s the article about how women who act “like women” (who are feminine) are technically female impersonators? You know the article I mean? Can’t remember the title.

  52. birkwearingblamer

    I was hoping that you would take this on. Thanks, Twisty.

  53. coathangrrr

    Interestingly enough, these British/American news articles usually talk about rape or the abuse of women in OTHER countries, while posting other headlines and ads of the misogynist variety about Western female celebs and weight loss on the same web or newspaper page. Hypocrisy much?

    Not hypocrisy, racism. These stories are exclusively about non-white countries and this follows the standard line. A friend of mine was recently raped and beaten to death. She was a lesbian. I can’t help but think that the two were related given the number of lesbians I know who have been raped because they are lesbians, and that is here in the U.S., in the San Francisco Bay Area which is suppose to be “progressive”, whatever that means.

  54. birkwearingblamer

    What about “corrective wiener wacking?”

    When a women leaves a guy I wonder what the asshole did and why she stayed so long.

    BTW, women seeking divorced often show up with photographic evidence of the Viagra that the husband was *not* using with her.

  55. gayle

    “It’s the first I’ve heard of this “misguided woman” theme. Is it long awaited escape from domestic slavery after the kids are grown?”

    I think so. Kids are, among other things, a huge distraction from a marriage. Once they’re grown you’re suddenly confronted with your spouse, and life, as is. Half the time couples don’t have anything to talk about anymore.

    I don’t usually put much stock in hormone related arguments but I thought the comments on menopause were very interesting, too. I’ve never really thought of it but I can see how menopause (or really post-menopause)could be very liberating. I never knew that being post menopausal could make one more sexual, as the article implies. I thought it would be the opposite. Interesting.

    BTW, good for you!! Obviously you made the right decision.

  56. rootlesscosmo

    I never knew that being post menopausal could make one more sexual, as the article implies. I thought it would be the opposite. Interesting.

    Hamlet is scandalized by this when (as he believes) it affects his Mom; he calls it “mutiny in a matron’s bones.”

    See, they know it’s about power–mutiny indeed!

  57. Lara

    Not hypocrisy, racism. These stories are exclusively about non-white countries and this follows the standard line. A friend of mine was recently raped and beaten to death. She was a lesbian. I can’t help but think that the two were related given the number of lesbians I know who have been raped because they are lesbians, and that is here in the U.S., in the San Francisco Bay Area which is suppose to be “progressive”, whatever that means.

    Totally, coathangrrr, I failed to mention the racism bit explicitly. And I am happy someone else sees this in the media. Simulating a “concern” for women’s rights simply to spit on brown people, in order to make Whites look oh-so-grand and perfect, is such a double blow to feminism and women’s rights.
    I am really sorry to hear about what happened to your friend. That’s awful. Was there sufficient reporting of the violence in her area? And were the attackers brought to justice?

  58. Serene Wright

    If Lesbians are so despised, why are Ellen Degeneres and Rachel Maddow the toast of the town these days?

  59. denelian

    appropos of nothing, those are NOT hot pants.

    there is a lot i want to respond to, but i feel i shouldn’t. i am the only straight woman i know (although i do know a couple of bi-but-mostly-straight women) – i know NOTHING about how it feels to be a lesbian.

    Serene Wright: there have always been “stars” made of minorites. as someone said “the wonder isn’t how well the bear dances, but that it dances at all”. i am sure that that is a huge potion of it. please note that you are very close to trolling

  60. TwoBees

    Something just clicked… rape being about power and control, porn is (among other things) about sexualising rape and making it normative.

    An earlier poster wrote of the mainstreaming of porn, which is absolutely happening. We are told to tolerate porn collections as part of a normal and ‘safer’ sexuality… adverteasing resembles or even is what once was soft-core tittillation. Porn transitions the (usually female) body into consumable object.

    What the fuck is going on? Rape becomes a ‘normal’ activity when few, other than the victims, speak out. As such it can be put to work in the service of the patriarchy and it’s ineffctiveness as a corrective will be blamed on the shortcomings of the victims themselves, who are clearly not normal and therefore cannot be expected to know what is good for them.

    It is sometimes very hard to see a way out.

  61. tinfoil hattie

    Femininity is what women do to keep from being pathologized, criminalized, ostracized, jailed, raped, and butchered.

    Look how well that works. There isn’t a way out. It’s patriarchy.

  62. Dicey Venison

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Articulate and thought-provoking, I Blame The Patriarchy.com is a beacon of light in an otherwise insane world!
    Thank you for articulating the thoughts and ideas that I have always known to be true, but didn’t have the lexicon to express.
    Because of your ability to cut through the bullshit veneer of the patriarchy and shine a light on its rotten core, I have found my own Obsterperal Lobe.
    Wouldn’t it be grand if the whole Blametariat could come together for a Grand Ole Butt Dance in the woods?
    Huzza!

  63. Twisty

    “If Lesbians are so despised, why are Ellen Degeneres and Rachel Maddow the toast of the town these days?”

    Really? Are you arguing that two attractive celebrities disprove the hypothesis that lesbians experience discrimination?

  64. taggles

    oh yes, ellen and rachel’s success means all is well in the world of utter contempt for women in general.

    Wonder what we are all doing here in the first place. We have Oprah, Katie Couric, Hillary Clinton, Rachel and Ellen. I’m suprised any woman is raped now a days. I’m suprised any woman is beaten. I am suprised any woman is murdered when trying to leave her husband. I’m suprised women still earn only 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same job as a male. I’m suprised that the Senate of the US is made up of 17% women. I’m suprised that there are reports every day of violent homophobic assaults every single day, and systemic discrimination.

    Nice to know that a few women on the tube have stopped all the misogynistic bullshit women face on a daily basis.

    I guess all women should just pull themselves up by those bootstraps cause if they can’t be as successful or end up in a bad place it is their fault. I guess it has nothing to do with the heirarchy of male dominance controlling all facets of women’s lives. Afterall, we have Ellen and Rachel!

  65. Fred

    Cottonpants, straight men try not to look at men. That would be like totally gay, dude. Real mens only notice things they might like to rape if it weren’t for all these dumb laws and shit. That’s why men ignore you. You aren’t either making them hard or being offensively dick-wilting.

  66. Beth Younger

    Twisty, you are so sharp, smart and funny. I like to read you because you remind me so well the evils of patriarchy and the purpose of femininity. Thank you–

  67. Jezebella

    Re: men not looking at men. You would not believe the amount of kvetching I am hearing from my nerdy dude friends about the Giant! Blue! Penis! in Watchmen. FFS, dudes, it’s pretty frickin unobtrusive if you don’t look directly at his crotch.

  68. ivyleaves

    Hey, everybody, I am 75% certain that Serene is a man. I am 100% certain that Serene never misses an opportunity to express woman-blaming MRA attitudes – i.e. is a troll.

  69. Squiggy

    My life feels much better since I stopped jonzin’ to have sex. For whatever reason I was able to give up that addiction after men-o-pause. Before that I overlooked far too many racist/anti-feminist/misogynist words and actions from my (what I see now as) creepy partners. I was in a full-blown addiction for 54 years to male partners. Partners that I was sure were monogamous. Not only they were NOT monogamous, most were regularly exposing themselves and me to every STD (including AIDS) known to humans. I find this out after. Years after. If I could live my life over again I would love to have had some drug that woman-geared science figured out. Something that would have dampened that uncontrollable urge and full-blown addiction to sex so I could have actually had a REAL life. It’s taken me 58 years three children and lots of therapy to have a dim vision of the new tiny buds forming of that real life beginning to emerge. I hope I have at least 58 more years to see some fruition in the novel science experiment that is me living, finally, a REAL life. A real life as much as it is possible living in the P.
    P.S. I still have plenty of sexual juice. I just won’t ever be with a man who’s unworthy. Probably that means never being with one. That (surprisingly) feels fine and good. That thought would have horrified the younger me. Yippee! I’m finally free!

  70. Claire

    Agreed, Ivyleaves.

    As for the article, rape, femininity, and racism are a bundled package in patriarchy. The frogdamned trifecta.

    It’s painful to understand this reality and live in it at the same time. Incredibly.

    I just keep getting up in the morning and finding things to be happy about, and trying like hell to raise a pro-feminist son. It’s all I can do.

  71. Squiggy

    Claire- it’s entirely possible. My son who’s now 30, was the one who turned me onto IBP about a year and a half ago. We were im-ing the other day and he asked what I’m up to. The second thing I mentioned is the thrill of Twisty being back in her full glory on her blog. He was fully up on every post and more than enthusiastic. He thrilled his college professors with feminist thinking in his papers and in class.
    He’s my only son so it’s not a big sample, but he definitely BP.

  72. Hattie

    Lesbian women are not “covered” and are therefore fair game. IBTP!

  73. Jonathan

    @Lara:

    “Then again, sometimes I still got rude looks and sexually harassed in public places when I am all femmed up, wearing makeup, heels, etc. When you’re a woman in the Patriarchy, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

    And of course the Patriarchy ensures that femininity mandates leave women in the most physically disadvantageous situation possible, for the safety of its misogynist footsoldiers. Femininity mandates stilettos and pencil skirts to prevent running and mobility, long nails to prevent proper fist formation, long earrings to pull, body shape mandates that forbid building muscles, jeans that runners legs can’t fit into, and crash diets to keep women starving and too weak to fight.

    The P essentially looks at these women, and decrees the opposite to be feminine.

    After all, we can’t risk the poor perps getting their heads popped off like champagne corks when they decide to commit felonies against another person. IBTP!

  74. yttik

    It is true, what is regarded as feminine is whatever hobbles you so that you are at a disadvantage and can not fight back.

  75. Cottonpants

    @Fred
    “That’s why men ignore you. You aren’t either making them hard or being offensively dick-wilting.”

    Dare I say.. Mission Accomplished?

  76. Jonathan

    @Cottonpants:

    “Dare I say.. Mission Accomplished?”

    Or at least, invisibility accomplished. My S.O. uses a similar tactic at her work: non-feminine pantsuit and decent women’s shoes, with one or two femininity concessions thrown in to keep the enforcers off of her (in her case, decently maintained long hair and nail polish). It reduces trouble for her and increases invisibility.

    As an aside, the pantsuit does carry class power with it. Harassment by lower class perps drops a lot when she wears suits (to echo Yttik’s point above, except the upper-class suit has the same effect as upper-class femininity).

    IBTP for leaving yet another form of inequality as one of the few avenues for (microscopically) mitigating women’s oppression.

  77. eb

    Melissa Etheridge once claimed celebrity trumps race or sexuality or any other label.

    Rachael Maddow and Ellen DeGeneres are the toast of the town because people see beyond their exterior and accept their humanity. It’s all part of the illusion that you ‘know’ them or they ‘speak to you.’

    The butch dyke walking down the street doesn’t get that same break. In fact, there are those who purposely go out of their way to avoid her humanity.

    The Queer Eye guys were the toast of the town too. But, I could name plenty of towns in Texas where toasting them would happen after the beating was finished.

  78. Miss Gonzo

    Ellen might be a celebrity, but she still got blamed for Hurricane Katrina.

  79. Springy

    Excellent. For someone who lives in London and has this sheet of vileness thrust in his face every day on the way to work, it is wonderful to hear it denounced. Especially from a spinster aunt in Texas. Which brings me to ask, why the fuck are you reading it? You have your own crazed newspapers to read.

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