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Feb 22 2012

For your lady eyes only

Green fedora

No time to blame; I gotta spend another afternoon out in a pasture with a chainsaw, so I’m just gonna leave you with this link. Fine, it’s a cop out. You get what you pay for here at I Blame the Patriarchy.

Anyway, the linked blurb is about an experimental billboard in London that uses facial recognition to make its content visible only to women.

The £30,000 display is set up by Plan UK, a not-for-profit organization that helps children in third-world countries. Female passersby will be shown the full 40-second video of its ‘Because I’m a Girl’ campaign that promotes sponsoring a girl to receive proper education in a developing country. Males won’t be able to see the full ad and will be directed to Plan UK’s website instead. The purpose of this was to show men “a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away.”

I always get a bang out of it when people shake up the genderized status quo. My original reaction was twofold.

1. What exactly makes a face look like a lady to a computer? (see photo, above). Do I get to watch the video?

2. Dudes are probably glad they’re being spared a 40-second video about “third-world” girls, who are arguably the last thing most dudes give a shit about unless they’re in a brothel.

I look forward to your usual pithy analyses. Or, feel free to prattle about anything you want in a sort of open-threadish way.

P.S. Thanks to Aunti Disestablishmentarian for hipping me to the NYTimes paywall hack.

202 comments

  1. Phledge

    Ah, but, just as they do in this here non-dude space, I fully anticipate the howls of the menfolk as they demand to be shown that which is so hidden in the bowels of the billboard. Watch as dudes grab unsuspecting women and hold them in front of the ad so male eyes can access everything, again, still.

  2. Julezyme

    Yeah, I heard about that the other day. Apparently it’s got about 90% accuracy, using facial recognition algorithms that (I think) measure a set of facial dimensions. The technological part of that is quite interesting.
    I was befuddled, though, about the implementation. It’s not as though the women are shown something hilariously funny, and men don’t get to see the joke. That would sort of make sense: women laugh, men get directed to web site, see appeal for charity.
    But this is like, so only women have to see the sad ad – and, in fact, have no choice about whether they want said sad to be foisted upon them, whereas men are free actively choose whether to view or not view the web site?
    That sounds pretty damn much like the P to me.

  3. JR

    There are pretty consistent differences between male and female faces like jaw line shape that computers have been trained to recognize. But no, I can’t see this going anywhere good.

    It makes me wonder what will happen to more androgynous children. My still-maturing son is almost universally mistaken for a girl, although I’m expecting this to change soon. Will boys like him get to see all the girly ads for a few years then suddenly get a shift to the boy ads once their hormones kick in?

  4. Saurs

    Business as usual: the plight of the most disenfranchised people in the world becomes the responsibility of the first world’s disenfranchised. Better get working on solving the world’s problems, ladies! It’s all up to you! Men are conveniently spared the guilt trip, once again!

    The interactive advertisement uses a high-definition camera to scan pedestrians and identify their gender before showing a specific ad.

    Differences between gender and sex being elided. Transpeople being erased. Yuck.

  5. Stoney

    Seems like missing the point for an activism campaign. Male money, if they can be guilt tripped out of it, functions just as well as a female’s money. This ad just places the responsibility for a male-caused problem onto women.

  6. Sarah C

    Well at least it’s getting us (by which I mean people generally) talking about a worthwhile cause, and it will hopefully generate more publicity for the campaign.

    Unlike PETA, (I’m sure everyone’s heard about their ‘go vegan and fuck your girlfriend into the hospital’ campaign by now), Plan is a really good charity that actually does something in the real world, beyond self-publicise and raise money to keep itself in existence.

    As Twisty says, most men don’t give a shit about third world girls, but if this stirs up some kind of ‘controversy’ (‘sexism against men!!!’), at least more people will hear about it.

  7. Saurs

    (Forgot to say that the photograph is awesome. Cover of your next jazz record?)

  8. Saurs

    Also, charities and “public awareness” campaigns specifically raising money, gathering medicine, finding and packaging books and clothes for and directing resources towards girls and their education and health only ever exist but for the work and money and time and energy of other women, starting in the girls’ own home towns and countries. It’s never not a good thing to get better-off folk to contribute, but targeting women (using a weird, gimmick-y, binary-enforcing message) serves to undermine the immediate and most direct cause of girls’ troubles (and women’s worldwide), which is, as Stoney says, men.

  9. Kea

    Right on, Saurs. Of course, dudes do have vested interests in keeping third world (and second world) girls poor and uneducated, and/or trafficked; (1) as slave labour (2) as a perpetual support system for local war inducement and (3) as a convenient talking point whenever a first world woman complains or has an opinion about anything.

  10. smash

    Twisty, I think you are completely right that men do not care about girls in 3rd world countries unless these girls are in brothels.

    That said, I think that this unique advertisement strategy may work to further their cause, so I support it for that reason.

    On the open thread note, here is a recent post I wrote about whether or not women are human. Thanks! http://radicalhub.com/2012/02/22/are-women-human-hefner-angelwish-and-the-patriarchy-say-no/

  11. iiii

    Also on the open thread note – I’m refinancing. On the original deed, I was listed as “iiii, a single person.” Whoever typed up the new paperwork put me down as “iiii, a single woman.” So yesterday I got to go sign off on being officially redesignated from person to woman.

    The nice young man at the title company didn’t get it.

  12. Schnee

    Perhaps the software checks for any signs of an Adam’s Apple. I think this should be fully developed to be able to really recognise all non-Ps and then show them all the Patriarchy that surrounds us, like an aura. That would be awesome.

    Also, totes agree with Saurs about the album cover.

  13. jane

    i think this is terrifying. first they establish the psychosocial gender divide and then they use technology to implant it permanently; even more offensively they use a pro-rights pretext to get us acclimated to their total transparency agenda and biometric tagging… we’re well on our merry way now to total control…
    i absolutely do not support this kind of technological eternalization of our supposed difference from men. First we’re supposed to wear pink all the time, then we’re supposed to wear dresses and shave our legs and armpits, and then, just to finish off our total separation into otherness, we have gender-specific causes imposed on us.
    I don’t see any difference between this use of facial recognition software and the instant female-recognition any man does when a woman passes by in public. It singles women out, and that’s degrading. But this is just part of the larger movement towards tailoring your domination to your liking, by monitoring your set of neatly categorizable “qualities” and “interests” and profiling you on the basis of things you can’t help, things you didn’t choose; whether those are tagged to your DNA, your face, your fingerprints – this is the same kind of reduction of a person’s individuality to measurable quanta that has plagued the 52% (women) for centuries, and is now about to plague the 48%…
    This means using people – exploiting them. This means objectification on the grandest scale. It means another step forward towards completely sterile, abstract treatment by apparatuses doing away with all human interaction. Total immobilization, in fact, in the prison of our predicates, as a simple adjunct to our immobilization in the prison of information detached from experience. The internet is mass suicide; face recognition is, like the concentration camps, a production of corpses – human life stripped down to computer-processable curves, lines, data, free of any individuality or real qualities – on a mass scale…
    Quite disturbing indeed.

  14. KittyWrangler

    @Schnee “Perhaps the software checks for any signs of an Adam’s Apple.” That’s ridiculous, it checks for ickiness and sin. And the color pink.

    @JR Do you know precisely what the jaw difference is? As in, men generally have wider jaws, or more angular, or lower? I’m curious because I’m having trouble separating how I think of “men’s jaws” from either commercially idealized “Man” or actual biological differences. I still think of Magazine Man when I think, “man.”

    I thought most men were *already* blind to the messages women receive. Thus dudes don’t understand what our deal is with body image, educated senators don’t understand exactly how pregnancy works, they’ve got no clue you can use birth control pills for non-contraceptive issues, don’t know maxi pads come with “wings,” often don’t know how to launder their clothes; they’ve stone-walled all those ubiquitous messages that somehow women are able to absorb. It’s kinda funny they used expensive technology to block this particular message about women.

    A very cynical and possibly paranoid part of me wonders if this particular facial recognition project got special backing or if its promotion received special backing because goverments, military and the Powers That Be tend to unveil truly scary, invasive new technology using demonstrations that involve women. For instance I saw a short film produced by the military, maybe two years ago, to demonstrate a new technology they were developing that had to do with a third party having more access and targeted response to a soldier’s cognitive process–whether through eye movement patterns, brainwaves, EKG’s or whatever, I’m sorry I’ve forgotten–that had the distinct appearance of reading minds. Three or four soldiers were featured in the dramatization of the intended application of the technology; one was a woman and she was the one hooked up to the thingy. I assumed it was to introduce the concept in a friendly way, since there’s nothing scary about controlling women. So I wonder if this billboard was chosen to publicize facial recogition because it’s For A Good Cause and the sex/gender predicament creates a smokescreen for the invasive-ness of facial recognition. What could be more socially acceptable than singling out women based on their appearance while they try to walk in public? Or target women for charity? Or show attention-getting images of racialized little girls for the purpose of “first-world” guilt?

  15. EmilyBites

    Officially downgraded, iiii!

    You can sponsor a girl through Plan’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign, which is focused on girls’ education.

    Sucks that the women get to watch the sad video, which would be better aimed at men (who have more money anyway. Just sayin’.), although making the point that your audience contains both men and women is certainly novel.

  16. Frumious B.

    Men may not give a shit about women’s problems, but boy do they get their knickers in a twist about any denial of their entitled rights.

  17. Hari

    Kitty W: “I thought most men were *already* blind to the messages women receive”

    Yeah, the intent of the promoters, however well intended, may be just too subtle for men to get it.

    “A very cynical and possibly paranoid part of me wonders if this particular facial recognition project got special backing or if its promotion received special backing because goverments, military and the Powers That Be tend to unveil truly scary, invasive new technology using demonstrations that involve women.”

    Wow, that is a very scary thought. Scarier than usual, I mean.

  18. Kea

    A very cynical and possibly paranoid part of me wonders if this particular facial recognition project got special backing …

    Not at all unlikely. Military institutions and researchers are unlikely to ignore the potential of pattern recognition science.

  19. Comrade PhysioProf

    Coole-asse motherfucken hatte!!!11!!1!!1!!1!!BDHETY~!!1!!

  20. Saurs

    re jaws. Men have “lantern”-like jaws, like, almost always. This much I know from comics and “young adult” books aimed at teenage girls. Also, if a dude has a weak chin, or whatever, he’s got weak moral fiber and needs to eat more fiber. &c. They don’t mention the butt chin Cary Grant and that Clooney character wore/wear, but I’m pretty sure they’re okay, so long as the dude in question doesn’t also have a receding hair line, ‘cos then he’s your dad. “Fresh-scrubbed” facial skin, lips that “pout,” noses that resemble buttons, and heart-shaped skulls are within the exclusive purview of women. Any woman over 27 years of age is old, and if she’s unmarried and 27 she’s a spinster and normally you’ll feel a pang of sympathy for her terrible plight.

    *The More You Know shooting star*

  21. ivyleaves

    I don’t get how this would work. Presumably a billboard is designed to be seen from both near and far in a high traffic area, so how does it decide which person in the crowd controls the message that everyone will see? If it is the closest person in its line of sight, I would imagine it blinking between the 2 messages and you just need to stand still to get the entire show anyway.

  22. iamlegs

    I assumed it was to introduce the concept in a friendly way, since there’s nothing scary about controlling women.

    A nice lightbulb moment. Thanks for that, Kitty Wrangler.

  23. procrastinatrix

    Men are invested in keeping all women and children poor, in any country. In any country, “developing” or “developed”, women, girls, and boys children are disproportionately poor.

    I know firsthand that Plan does good work, CARE does good work, Save the Children does good work, many big NGO’s do good work. But they are run by whitey white folk at the top, disproportionately male–considering that in the lower ranks there’s like a 70/30 female to male ratio. Not intentionally, but they exist in the P like we all do, and they don’t do enough to fight structural inequities caused by the P, internally or externally.

    Marie Stopes International is effing awesome, however, straight up expanding access to reproductive health services in developing countries, including for adolescents, and including abortion and post abortion care (essential in countries where lots of unsafe self abortion happens).

    Kiva and Heifer too target women and are focused and effective.

  24. procrastinatrix

    Sorry–kindly ignore the word “children” in the second line.

  25. lizor

    This is gender recognition tech is truly creepy and it is, as others have pointed out, questionable why Plan would narrow their potential donor base in this way. The ramifications of this technology for future marketing is chilling.

    On a related note – and further to the perplexing strategies employed by the organizers at Plan – I became a sponsor with Because I am a Girl fairly recently. I found out about it the old fashioned way: representatives on street corners initiating a conversation about their cause. The young woman I spoke to started in with a primer on the horrors visited upon girls in many African countries. The program seemed to be specifically targeted to african girls. My response, of course was “This is fantastic and about time! Where do I sign up?”

    A few weeks later I received a standard Plan sponsored child “package” for a young boy in Bolivia. I called the 800 number to enquire “WTF?” and was told that the funds for BIAAG are simply shunted into the overall pot of money for children in need worldwide.

    It seems somehow inconceivable that a program that purports to specifically address sex-based exploitation, is a front for another more generalized charity.

    I had one of those bizarre shameful and twisted first world moments where I found myself saying something that felt to me like “But I ordered and African girl!!”. I pressed for more information as to whether the program specifically for young females at special risk due to their femaleness actually exists or not and I still have not got an answer.

    However, I did get a package for a young girl in africa and am now operating for the time being on faith that the money pulled from my account every month is actually benefitting her.

  26. lizor

    Sorry, that’s “an african girl!”

  27. polarcontrol

    This came up in my Twitter feed.
    It’s horrible, I couldn’t really even watch it all, my hands are shaking, but I share it here as it might be useful to pass on to whomever is starting with “what’s wrong with porn..”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo1cFx9126Q

  28. Fede

    Reading the comments to that piece about the campaign is a reminder why all men should be shunned on principle.

    The fucking fuckers are just so unbelievably fucking fucked up in their fucken heads. I hope they die screaming. Now.

  29. Mackrelmint

    Lizor,
    My partner and I sponsor two girls in Southeast Asia through Plan. We contacted the Plan office in our country to request that our money go directly to a particular community in the country of our choice as part of our sponsorship. (Plan was already working in that community)
    If we had signed up through Plan’s website, I believe that as you discovered, they would have directed the funds to where they prioritized the need globally unless you specifically requested the country or area you wanted to fund.
    We are really happy with the work Plan is doing and have regular correspondence with the children we sponsor. I’d encourage you to correspond with the girl they have paired you up with. In our experience, it is a mutual delight to all involved! We have no doubt that our money is contributing to the work Plan is doing in their community and in support of the children and have seen first hand the positive results.

  30. pheeno

    “The fucking fuckers are just so unbelievably fucking fucked up in their fucken heads. I hope they die screaming. Now.”

    Haven’t you heard though? A new study has now shown that the US is the only country on the planet where MORE MEN are raped than women.

    ht tp://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/02/20/is-the-united-states-the-only-country-where-more-men-are-raped-every-year-than-women/#comment-435900

    And not only should we not shun the sickos, we should drop what we are doing and fret over them right now!

    If we don’t, we might chase away other men who want to bring their viewpoints to us stupid feminists, who apparently (according to a certain commenter) only have a SHALLOW grasp of male intricacies.

  31. Fede

    Ah yes, because men being raped – that must cancel out women being raped, surely. And who is raping all those men, I wonder… Women? No? Oh, well, who’s counting.

    What’s for sure, though, is that the rape of male prison inmates by other male inmates cannot have any connection whatsoever to misogynist societal mores. One inmate making another his ‘bitch’ is just a figure of speech.

    Oh, what this stupid feminist wouldn’t give to have NO grasp AT ALL of male intricacies.

  32. Fede

    While my latest comment awaits moderation, let me bemoan the fact that seeing the words ‘grasp’ and ‘male intricacies’ together inevitably leads to icky porn connotations in this sick old world.

    This stupid feminist would give rather a lot to have no grasp of male intricacies whatsoever. Alas, such happiness is denied anyone living in a social order where men never shut the fuck up about themselves.

  33. Hari

    It must be going around this week–I was told by a guy that I was being ‘facile and reductive’ in my feminist reasoning, i.e. SHALLOW (but he could help me out, of course). Oh wait–guys send that shit round every week, I almost forgot.

  34. damequixote

    Technology creep is upon us. It’s a good thing our civilization has progressed to the point this can’t possibly be misused. It’s not like our leaders are cave men arguing over birth control or anything. Bullet. Dodged.

    Sex determination with skulls is easier when you have one in your hands that can be weighed and checked for bone density. Even then it isn’t 100 percent. Less accurate but possibly visible by a machine trying to “type” you might be Orbits (eyeholes in skull speak). Males tend to have more circular ones. Superciliary arches (brow ridges) might also be used as males tend to have larger ones and most females have none at all. But none of this is without exceptions and the machines will only be as good as the programmers. In short, they are teaching patriarchy to the machines. Yeah, this will end well. I can feel it.

    @Kitty Wrangler Sony developed a headpiece back in the 90′s that allowed a player to control a video game using brainwaves. “Interests” asked them not to release it and they never have. I’m guessing that technology has been…procured. And I agree, why use expensive technology to keep men from seeing what they ignore to begin with? Testing 1,2,3.

    Doom called. It wants its optimism back.

  35. Insurgence

    polarcontrol, that 3:47 video seemed like an eternity. I know I’m going to be haunted for weeks. And this is coming from an ex- avid hardcore pornography user (until feminism showed me the light [funny how all those years of indoctrination can blind you to the most obvious truths]). I wish I could reach through the screen and rip those men to shreds. I am typically very anti-violence but when it comes to shit like this? Fuck it. I’m not even imaginative enough to conceive of all the ways that I wish these men could be brutally tortured on their way to slow, agonizing deaths.

    Can we get some vigilante justice? Find centers of production or real names of the men who participate, and vandalize their property? Anything? A lady can dream.

    To end on a positive note, I wanted to share with those who are unaware Thistle Farms. I’ve never seen it, or anything like it, mentioned on any feminist sites. And even HuffPo had an article about it!

    I’m totally willing to overlook their godly tendency because their goal is amazing and seems to me to be about the only tangible tactic for helping women escape the slavery that is pronstitution.

    We provide housing for 27 residents and graduates and outreach services to women still living on the streets. New residents are given a key, offered the resources needed to maintain recovery, heal from childhood wounds, get physically healthy and find employment. After four months women find work, return to school and/or enter Magdalene’s job training program at Thistle Farms, a social enterprise. Magdalene offers a matched savings program to help residents prepare for economic independence upon graduation. Women who remain in recovery two years post-graduation are eligible for a new home buying program administered by two local congregations and Magdalene.

    Thistle Farms is the social enterprise that is run by the women of Magdalene. By hand, the women create natural bath and body products that are as good for the earth as they are for the body. Purchases of Thistle Farms products directly benefit the women who made them.

  36. Doctress Ju'ulia

    OMG, that Feministe “article”… o_0 I stopped reading there long ago, but I had to comment:

    “What the everloving F is this?! I am reminded as to why I no longer read Feministe. You continue to give voices to men and male rapists, while minimizing the fact that WOMEN are the primary victims of rape- you are not putting women first, thus you fail.

    This is truly disgusting.”

    and, this little addendum:

    “Oh, yeah: WHO ARE THE PERPS OF RAPE? MEN. MEN RAPE.

    Just wanted to name the perpetrators. Buh bye.”

  37. Doctress Ju'ulia

    And… oh, but that is a smashingly good pic of you (swoons)!

  38. polarcontrol

    Insurgence, I know. Entertaining a violent revenge fantasy is the only thing that somehow makes it possible for me to go on in this world, after seeing stuff like that.

    Thank you for pointing to some positive things to turn to, too..

  39. pheeno

    Alas, such happiness is denied anyone living in a social order where men never shut the fuck up about themselves.

    Reposted and should be quoted. Frequently.

  40. AMM

    Not exactly “blaming,” but:

    Do people (feminists in particular) still do Consciousness-Raising sessions?

    Back when I first heard about feminism, back when it was new and seen as a crazy idea and called “women’s liberation,” they used to have Consciousness-Raising sessions. My understanding was that they were intended to get women to become conscious of the sexist ideas and practices of Patriarchy (not sure if they called it that back then) that were so ubiquitous that nobody even saw them any more. The idea was that everybody growing up in a sexist society internalizes that sexism, and it takes hard work even just to become aware of it.

    I never hear about them any more.

    What made me think of it was how, in some of the recent blogstorms, a lot of apparent feminists are going along with stuff that four decades ago people would have called obvious sexism or patriarchy or stuff like that. It’s like many modern feminists are simply blind to this stuff.

    (OK, maybe it is a bit blamey. Time to hit “blame.”)

  41. Triste

    Somehow I doubt I’d make the ladycut, given how often I’m mistaken for a dude. It’s a bit dumb, honestly.

    I was chatting a bit with my mom about this, and it moved into discussion about how the face of advertising is changing. Rather than just putting out ads for the general public and hoping that maybe 15% of the people seeing it are in your target audience, nowadays advertisers are trying to narrow the stream, as it were, doing shit like what you have with gmail ads, where the ads you see are based on keywords in your email, shit you watched on youtube, etc.

    In a way it’s both a relief and a bit of a horror. It’s a relief because if it goes on this way, I may never have to see another fucking commercial for Axe body spray or Doctor Pepper Testicle Juice for Men Only for the rest of my fucking life. On the other hand, the dudeliest of dudes can ensconce themselves in a world 100% free of female voices, thus removing even the slight possibility that they will give even the slightest shit about us.

  42. Kea

    On the other hand, the dudeliest of dudes can ensconce themselves in a world 100% free of female voices, thus removing even the slight possibility that they will give even the slightest shit about us.

    Oh, they already do that. In order to obey those annoying Equality laws, they allow a few token P-compliant women to wander the corridors, smiling happily and easy to ignore.

  43. JR

    Possibly the machines would be smarter than most people and pick up on my child’s maleness – he does have the stereotypically boy jawline. People tend to be more cued into other signals he isn’t “doing well” and look at his long hair and tendency to wear jewelry, which he likes, and parse him as a girl.

    There are subtle differences in jaw and brow shape between men and women. Not caveman-like but enough that generally a computer can be taught to pick up on it. I imagine they would teach it to ignore hair (if the programmers were smart) since hair length and style can be so varied and has such crossover. There may also be programming about certain patterns of roundness to the face and such. It’s looking for biological differences, not clothing choices. Not that any of this makes it any better. My biology doesn’t make me want pink lipstick marketed to me, and that’s what this is going to turn into.

  44. stickypaws

    Pheeno:

    Stephanie Zvan did an excellent take down of the misrepresentation of male prison rape statistics both here and here.

  45. pheeno

    Thanks stickypaws, I linked that on feministe. Will be interesting to see if anyone responds.

  46. TwissB

    Stickypaws – Having read – perhaps not carefully enough – Stephanie Svan’s examination of rape statistics, I found no comparison there between numbers of male and female rapists. Off hand, I assume that men rape women and men. Whom do women rape?

  47. Triste

    “Off hand, I assume that men rape women and men. Whom do women rape?”

    People rape those who are of lower status, in practically all cases. Therefore, able-bodied adult women rapists would rape children or the disabled, who are both comparatively vulnerable. Men also rape children and the disabled, again of both genders, and they rape able-bodied adult women and occasionally even men who they feel they can dominate for whatever reason.

    The phenomenon of women abusing or raping adult able-bodied men that MRAs cry about is essentially complete bullshit. And since women aren’t programmed into thinking they can only be worth anything if they assert their dominance through violence, I would guess that women are still on the whole less likely to rape those who are of lower status than men are.

    I guess my real point is, MRAs like to frame the idea of women who commit rape as a sort of crazy feminist backlash to patriarchy, like we’re locked in some battle of the sexes and the way we get back at men for not putting down the toilet seat is by raping them. The reality, however, is that even when a women commits an act of rape, she does so within the bounds of the established hierarchy by raping someone who is even lower on the totem pole than she is. The Patriarchy hates the fuck out of children even more than it hates us.

  48. stacey

    Thanks for linking that, stickypaws. It was an entertaining and horrifying half-hour.

    Twisty – thank you SO MUCH for protecting us from MRAs commenting here. Having to bypass that shit every day must be exhausting.

  49. JR

    I’ve met exactly one woman (among the many women and few men I know who have been raped) who was raped by a woman. It happened when she was a child, by her mother, who was an extremely mentally ill substance abuser.

    Everyone else I know who was raped or sexually abused was raped by a man. It’s a fair number of people, I’d say 50-100, and that’s just the ones who’ve mentioned it to me. Anecdata, sure, but very telling. The statistics gathered more formally bear this out.

  50. dreamt

    Maybe a bit off topic, but this discussion of men and charity made me remember this incident.

    A group of us were collecting items for a charity that helps poor people in our area. I suggested that menstrual products would be a good donation.

    One brave guy, probably an MRA posting on that Feministe thread right now, said that was unfair because they’re a donation that’s only for women and that’s not fair for the menz.

  51. Lovepug

    I’d also venture a guess that any woman who rapes someone was probably raped herself at some point.

    I once dressed as a man for Halloween and looked uncannily like John Waters.

    Off topic: Saw a great quote today in reference to Santorum and Romney advocating “natural” birth control: Their natural birth control is their personalities.

  52. Kali

    Everyone else I know who was raped or sexually abused was raped by a man. It’s a fair number of people, I’d say 50-100, and that’s just the ones who’ve mentioned it to me. Anecdata, sure, but very telling. The statistics gathered more formally bear this out.

    The numbers I have read are in line with this. 96% – 98% of sexual assault perpetrators are male, including when the victims are children.

  53. Frumious B.

    Women abuse and rape able-bodied men. It is not bullshit.

    I know the rules of this blog, so that is all I am going to say about women who abuse and rape men. I would like to ask, though, that the commentariat do not refer to real, existing problems as “bullshit”.

  54. Kathy McCarty

    Well, if this technology ever gets REALLY good, we could use it ourselves for THE REVOLUTION!

  55. Jezebella

    Santorum and Romney each have 5 or more children, so this “natural birth control” thing obviously doesn’t work that well.

    I went to a screening last night of “A Vital Service: African American Stories of Reproductive Health” a short documentary that is well worth your twenty minutes or so. Congresswoman Gwen Moore is a rock star in her testimony in favor of Planned Parenthood when Congress was trying to de-fund PP. You will want to stand up and cheer when she testifies. You can watch it at avitalservice.org. The statistics regarding sexual health disparities in the African-American community are staggering (well, they were to this honky.)

    Also, when you google it, the first effing link is to those “LifeNews” a-holes, which chaps my entire ass.

  56. Katherine

    Natural birth control is still birth control. You are still fucking and trying not to be pregnant. I fail to see the difference. Although actually, I’ll say that not too loudly in case the Overton Window expands to make the Quiverful movement mainstream.

  57. speedbudget

    @Katherine, thank dog this is a radical feminist blog, which means most of these nutters won’t be here reading comments. Every time I think they can’t go any further over the edge, they surprise me completely.

  58. Twisty

    Kathy McCarty:

    Well, if this technology ever gets REALLY good, we could use it ourselves for THE REVOLUTION!

    Ha!

  59. yttik

    “What exactly makes a face look like a lady to a computer?”

    Intelligence? Empathy? A soul? Sorry, just trying to live up to my man hating reputation.

    “The purpose of this was to show men “a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away.”

    I like the concept, but the execution is a bit flawed, for the reasons Twisty listed. That “Because I’m a Girl” campaign is pretty cool though.

  60. Triste

    “Women abuse and rape able-bodied men. It is not bullshit.”

    They don’t. It is bullshit.

    Boom, what now.

  61. JR

    Oh indeed, Frumious, let us fall all over ourselves talking about 0.01% exceptional cases and ignore the entire rest of it so that the poor, neglected men who can’t take care of themselves at the hands of mendacious, evil women may finally get the attention paid to their problems that they otherwise lack. Just as is done in every single other space in the world, including every purported feminist space.

    Katherine:
    “Natural birth control is still birth control. You are still fucking and trying not to be pregnant. I fail to see the difference.”

    The difference is it doesn’t work. Well okay it sort of kind of works for some women but only if they have really regular cycles and take their temperature a lot and spend a lot of the time actually NOT fucking even when they really want to and having to push off the advances of their Nigel who may or may not be cooperative and down with it at all. In other words, it doesn’t work. Guess who pays the price? Not the all male, mainly white Catholic and Protestant leaders who demand it.

  62. yttik

    “The difference is it doesn’t work”

    It doesn’t work because so many men don’t have enough respect for women’s bodies to let it work. It’s really astounding if you think about it, women would only need to be PIV free for 3-5 days a month and they could be saved from a huge slew of health problems. Is that too much to ask? Why yes, yes it is.

    I worry when we say natural birth control doesn’t work or even that abstinence doesn’t work. They work very well, it’s just that we aren’t allowed to practice either one successfully because women’s needs don’t dictate the sexual situation at all. Talk about having “a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away.” Because women barely have the right to make basic choices, we say natural birth control or abstaining from PIV “don’t work” because we know perfectly well that they are all based on a woman’s choice and at some point, her “choice” is not going to be honored.

  63. Triste

    @yttik: Eeeeh. Women’s choices not being respected is certainly one reason it doesn’t work. Another reason is that, at the risk of sounding stupid, it just doesn’t always work. You know, if your cycles are wonky or whatever, if you miscalculate, etc.

    Plus, I think it’s actually longer than 3-5 days, isn’t it? Admittedly I am a lesbian, so I defer to the wisdom of anyone who has engaged in sex with dudes, but I had thought that it was closer to two weeks, and wikipedia seems to back this up. It also looks like these methods tend to assume some sort of regularity of menstruation, which is like, shit, who the fuck /always/ has their period right on time. If it’s off, are you fucked?

    I do agree with the sentiment that dudes should fucking take note of what a giant goddamn deal pregnancy is and prong with a little more caution. But if I was fucking dudes, I sure as hell would want hormonal birth control or IUD or whatever to make damn sure I wasn’t getting pregnant. It just removes one more thing to worry about for ladies who are already stressed as hell about sex.

    tl;dr: Fuckin’ heterosexuality! How do you girls even?

  64. Onely

    Oh great. Another way to worry if I am fitting appropriately into my gender role by looking “feminine” enough.

    If I walked by that billboard and the camera didn’t recognize me as female, I would flash back to my middle-school days when someone asked me if I was a boy or a girl (thank you very much, failed Mary Lou Retton haircut).
    CC

  65. Insurgence

    In a vacuum, a woman is only fertile for a maximum of two days, which would account for two ova to be released and live for 24 hours each. Sperm however is viable for up to five days in fertile quality cervical fluid. So here we are up to seven days.

    Anything past these biological facts is going to be completely dependent on the individual woman. Natural birth control (Fertility Awareness) is not a prediction of ovulation. It cannot tell the future. Therefore, unless you’re doing near constant ultrasounds, ovulation is only confirmable after the fact via a shift in basal body temperatures. Any cervical fluid must be treated as potentially fertile, and this is what is going to vary by woman.

    For this same reason though, it doesn’t matter if one’s cycles are regular or not. You are accounting for your fertility in real time. I think it’s actually exceptionally beneficial for women with irregular cycles to chart their fertility because it can help identify what’s causing one’s cycles to be irregular and possibly alert one to a potential problem.

    Even if you’re not having sex with men, I think fertility awareness should be made known to all girls and women. When I started looking into it because I didn’t want to put hormones into my body on a near constant basis, and even now, I’m so angry that we are not taught this as basic education in school (not that I have any faith in schools to begin with). How alienated we are from our bodies that we’re unaware of our basic functions and what they mean. How many girls and women see “discharge” and think it’s gross or that there’s something wrong with them? We go through this stuff daily as teenagers (or even earlier) until what? Our 40s, 50s? Decades of unawareness, confusion, disgust. IBTP.

    Now when I look and see cervical fluid I can identify the qualities of it and know what that means for me and instead of thinking it or I are icky, I go “Holy shit my body is amazing!”

  66. qvaken

    polarcontrol: My God. That video truly was awful. I felt really disturbed by it.

    I’m sure that anybody who watched it saw this one come up in their sidebar, but here it is anyway. ht tp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRZZAuPyG7I It’s the founder of the charity that aims to help women transition from porn work back into the non-porn world talking to another ex-porn star about their experiences as well as the aims of the charity, and it’s a relief after the last video because they’re both safe in it.

    Re: charity using face recognition technology. Pardon my cynicism. I don’t doubt that it’s a good charity that does great things for underprivileged people. The problem is that I suspect that a company (or companies) must surely be funding the project, and companies have a habit of latching onto social change that people push for, and exploiting it for their own gain. In any case, they haven’t really hit the sexism nail on the head with this concept; but all right then – even tiny steps forward are still positive.

    Frumious B.: I would be sympathetic, it’s just that there must be plenty of websites where men can get support for men’s problems at the hands of women, and this isn’t really the place for it.

  67. nails

    There is merit to the idea that women can use abstinence from PIV as birth control, but the idea that women can always know when they are ovulating is ridiculous. Fertility awareness’s failure as a birth control method (compared to other methods) is well documented. Unless a shitload of people are lying for no discernable reason, it seems likely that like *every other form of birth control*, fertility awareness has a predictable failure rate.

    yeesh.

    Insurgence- plenty of women are taught fertility awareness. It is the catholic church’s only approved form of birth control, so they teach it all the time. The problem is that it doesn’t work very well, which is fine if you’re some godbag’s helpmeet and don’t mind more babies, but not so great if you are a teenage girl who got pressured into using awareness instead of condoms or (insert other shitty situation here). It is an option, one of many, and it is fine for some people and not for others. It has been in every book that featured birth control information that I’ve read as well.

  68. speedbudget

    What if you just wanna have some sex, even if it’s your fertile time? That’s what bothers me about the whole “natural” birth control thing, that women have to deny their urges, their feelings, their needs, in order to avoid some major trouble. You can’t just go, “Eh, whatever. Let’s do it.” And even if you are at a supposed safe time in your cycle, I can’t imagine it would be easy to just relax and enjoy the experience, what with the fear of pregnancy in the back of your mind. In other words, even when following the script, women still get shit on.

  69. speedbudget

    Also, the abstinence from sex dealio in order to avoid pregnancy buys into the idea that at basal level, women aren’t sexual animals. I understand that one doesn’t have to have PIV sex all the time. Sometimes you get caught up in a moment and throw caution to the wind, and I don’t think it’s fair to force a woman to police that throughout what should be a fun activity.

  70. Insurgence

    nails – Sorry if I was unclear. I don’t mean to condone FAM/NFP as the world’s greatest birth control method or anything. I find it’s value more in self awareness than in avoiding pregnancy. We (or at least I) learn(ed) about periods early on in school, but no mention was made of cervical fluid, what to expect, what it meant, and that it was normal and healthy.

    As far as effectiveness goes, there is a drastic difference between method failure vs. user failure. I don’t have the numbers on me right now as I’m about to head into work, but when used incorrectly it makes sense that the effectiveness rate is going to plummet. Saying “I could be fertile right now but let’s take a chance anyway” is going to carry a far greater chance of conception than forgoing a condom at a random part of your cycle when you might not be fertile anyway.

    Again, I’m not trying to push FAM/NFP on anyone. I just wanted to state the basic facts for those who may be unaware. I know it would have saved my friends and I a lot of confusion/disgust when growing up to know what was going on with our bodies.

  71. EmilyBites

    Now that we’re talking about contraception…we can get (men) on the moon, fer chrissakes – I just want to have PIV without worrying about getting pregnant. And we wouldn’t even worry about pregnancy so much if the consequences (and they’re pretty small ones where I live) weren’t so unpleasant. Even in places where abortion is available it’s still frowned upon, and not exactly ‘on demand’ either.

    You’d never be able to have sex for fun without worrying, if the rhythm method were all we had. (Though dudes still would, obvs).

  72. tinfoil hattie

    That’s what bothers me about the whole “natural” birth control thing, that women have to deny their urges, their feelings, their needs, in order to avoid some major trouble. You can’t just go, “Eh, whatever. Let’s do it.”

    And therein lies my biggest argument with the stupid catholic church. Coincidentally, the only time it’s okay to try and avoid pregnancy is during the time that many women feel greater sexual urges – ovulation. No woman-hate there, no siree!

    Another thing I “love” about NFP – the man does his part by handing the woman the thermometer in the morning. Swear to jeebus, that’s what a friend of mine learned in pre-catholic marriage class. That’s how catholic couples can build intimacy. He hands her the thermometer, waits for the reading, goes off to wank in the shower if the news is bad.

    AND, Insurgence, I agree with you about girls not being taught how our bodies work. I was ashamed of and horrified by my natural vaginal discharges when they started becoming apparent.

    It’s like being ashamed of and horrified by swallowing, or blinking.

    IBTP, over and over and over and over and over

  73. lizor

    “Everyone else I know who was raped or sexually abused was raped by a man. It’s a fair number of people, I’d say 50-100, and that’s just the ones who’ve mentioned it to me. Anecdata, sure, but very telling. The statistics gathered more formally bear this out.”

    Everyone I know who has been raped – there are a lot of them – were raped by men. And next to NONE of them reported it, knowing full well that they would not be believed or the dude would get off with nothing or little. So with so many of us carrying the burden of this trauma silently, how can we take any stats seriously?

    One guy in my town was raping drunk women at parties. Twelve women testified against him and guess what the court gave him? 18 months house arrest.

  74. JR

    Except it isn’t 3-5 days right in the middle and then you’re free and clear. Not every woman ovulates then. Sperm, those nasty little things, can stay alive for four days. So you have to have a good idea of when you’re going to and add a few days ahead of time. So you have to have a regular cycle. PCOS? Other irregularities? Right out, then. Some women ovulate more than once a month, they’ve found. Some women actually ovulate while menstruating. Not everything is as cut and dried as the old school thought of a menstrual cycle starting at day 1 with ovulation occurring once at about day 14. And yes, the punch line is that even under such ideal conditions, one’s “solution” is to spend 7-9 days not having PIV sex, not 3-5, in order to really be safe – and that’s with the cooperation of one’s owner/husband. I know there’s some idea we have here that we should be free to do that, or even that women ought to find pleasure in other ways but many women rightfully resent being told how they should find sexual pleasure when they actually enjoy PIV, and the reality is we are stuck with what we have right now – many women under patriarchy are in situations with male partners, who become disgruntled quite quickly upon being repeatedly denied their “rights” to her body.
    This is, of course, exactly why the Catholic Church and people like Rick Santorum push the idea of NFP. It virtually ensures women will get knocked up often, against their will, and thus become more dependent upon their owners.

  75. Keri

    If you have any questions about your own body and contraception, just google the recent senate hearings and I am sure the line up of gross old godbaggy dudes will give you all the valuable information you need.

  76. yttik

    “It virtually ensures women will get knocked up often, against their will, and thus become more dependent upon their owners.”

    Others have mentioned Catholics because that’s the current political focus, but that same concept extends way beyond the church. On the other side of the political spectrum women also “become dependent on their owners” for access to contraception, to the point where we’re always practically begging for abortion rights to be preserved. The whole reason BC has recently been demoted from a guaranteed right to a subject of debate is because of the political leverage it offers. Those godbaggy dudes didn’t do that, they just took the bait. Now the other side has women right where they want them, support me, serve me, be dependent on me, or we’ll take your contraception away.

    Contraception is a non-negotiable right. Well, those allegedly in favor of it used it as a negotiation tool for political gain. I resent the hell out of that.

  77. Cyberwulf

    let us fall all over ourselves talking about 0.01% exceptional cases and ignore the entire rest of it

    No-one even suggested that. The hell is wrong with you.

  78. Frumious B.

    @JR, @qvaken

    You are fighting straw blamers. I didn’t ask for sympathy for men. I didn’t dwell on their problems. Is this blog I Blame the Patriarchy or I Blame Individual Men Who I Have Never Even Met For Whom I Have No Evidence Of Any Wrongdoing Simply Because They Are Men So They Must Have Done SOMETHING And Therefore Crimes Against Them Are Bullshit? I’m pretty sure it’s the former.

  79. alamo

    @EmilyBites “Now that we’re talking about contraception…we can get (men) on the moon, fer chrissakes – I just want to have PIV without worrying about getting pregnant.”

    PIV without getting pregnant? That only solves half the problem. Instead of just thinking about birth control, what if heterosexual women started really thinking big and started fighting for the right to take pills to eliminate sex drive? No more, “I know he’s a jerk, but I’m attracted to him,” no more “I know he’s an asshole but I want sex.” Goodbye to all of that.

  80. Hari

    Insurgence–thanks for giving some representation to Fertility Awareness here. It works really great for some people, others have to work at it due to irregular periods and whatnot. Regardless of relying on it for birth control, it is great, as you mentioned, for helping a womyn be more attuned with her own body.

    Naturally, there will be drawbacks to a system that relies at all upon men’s participation–especially in the form of his willingness to forgo PIV when he may want it. And of course, when fertile is when most womyn are the horniest. Which to me means, womyn who prefer not to take on the dangers of the Pill or IUD, can always use barrier methods such as cervical cup and condoms.

    And I don’t know, call me old fashioned or something, but it occurred to me a long time ago that sex isn’t a toy we get to play with, whenever and however. PIV does cause pregnancy–that is a fact of life. What, are we now going whine about the weather, or the timing of sunrise or the need to eat food to live? You want sex to be a toy, then you have to put up with risks, up to and including fatality, from using the most reliable methods of birth control. The procreative system happens to be among the most potent in nature–it is not easy to suppress. In fact no BC system is 100% effective, because of that fact. I don’t know why any womyn feels ‘freer’ or ‘safer’ on hormonal BC or IUD, when she might still get pregnant, and those methods carry physical risks–risks that make her less free, and less safe than life in the P already is.

    It’s not nature or our bodies that are so unfair. It’s the P, remember? We can have as much fun sex as we want, as long as we avoid PIV (or P NEAR V). But PIV will always carry the risk of pregnancy, and that’s just a fact of life. If any womyn just really hates her baby-making ladyparts so much, she can get a tubal or hysterectomy after all. Then presto, total freedom just like men, if that’s what she wants.

    Meantime, the sun rises when it does, we have to eat food to live, and womyn can get pregnant from PIV/PNV.

  81. JR

    “No-one even suggested that. The hell is wrong with you.”

    Oh right, SO sorry, my bad, let us now devote 90,000 words to the terrible problems of oppression men face from fear of women raping them. Because that’s like, a real and viable fear and totally not a “what about the men” question that is brought up to derail every single feminist discussion on rape every single time it is mentioned, at all. Men totally go around all the time with their keys laced between their fingers looking over their shoulders when they hear the sound of a stiletto heel behind them on the pavement when they dare step out of the house alone at night because of all the women raping them. Men forward emails to each other all the time about how to avoid getting raped by women. It’s totally a real fear and feminists need to talk about it.

    Wait no, I mean it’s derailing and a ridiculous topic to even bring up in a discussion of rape, yet somehow it is brought up every. Single. Time. Oh but gee, what is wrong with me, why am I so HOSTILE.

  82. JR

    Hari: “I don’t know why any womyn feels ‘freer’ or ’safer’ on hormonal BC or IUD” Because we can be in charge of those, not dependent on whether or not a man chooses to rape us or “talk us into sex” while we are financially dependent on his income. This is why BC and abortion access are vital to women. They are not perfect, but they are a hell of a lot safer than pregnancy.

  83. Hari

    JR–I absolutely agree that BC and abortion access are vital to us. As for the rest, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  84. yttik

    You nailed it, JR.

    Another piece seems to be that those forms of BC that are the most invasive, that carry the most side effects, are viewed as more reliable and desirable. NFP, avoiding PIV, and even condoms, are called risky and unreliable. Having your tubes tied is also often discouraged. However inserting something into your uterus, altering your hormones, abortion, anything that might cause the most discomfort and inconvenience to women, is practically celebrated. It’s probably all related to how the patriarchy still believes women need to suffer for having sex. In fact, when they do find something simple and safe for women, it’s like there’s a conspiracy to make it go away. Contraceptive sponges come to mind.

  85. stacey

    The Rapeability of Able-bodied Men Triste and JR! Come on. What would you call it if I was a boss-type person, who subtly suggests to that cute young guy I just hired that he’d better put out or lose his job? He’s totally able-bodied, but he reeeeally needs the job and blah blah blah. Or I’m a prison guard and I threaten a male prisoner blah blah blah. We’d certainly call it rape if it was a young woman in that position.

    I’m willing to allow that women can rape “able-bodied” men because of power differentials. You even say so yourself, in your previous post. We won’t allow, however, that it happens often, as MRAs claim, and we won’t allow it to dominate the rape stats.

    And, we won’t allow it to dominate the debate. FrumiusB asked that we not deny agency to anyone who may have actually been raped; she asked it once, and not again. Maybe she knows a guy. Maybe she’s being ethically inclusive. The two screeds spouting MRAisms have come from JR. Who’s the one devoting time and derailing discussion? Quit it, y’all.

    Rape vs Sexual Assault I don’t think it was on this thread, but someone objected to the term “sexual assault” because they thought it should be called what it is: rape. One of the reasons the term got changed to “sexual assault” (in Canadian law) is that it could therefore include non-penetrative assault, including grabbing, fondling, oral, etc, which can be equally devastating to the victim. The courts will issue sentences that vary according to the degree of seriousness of the assault (i.e. penetrative gets harsher sentences than fondling, for instance). (of course, it’s never enough time or redress, ever.)

    Public Stunts to Demonstrate Sexism: I think I mentioned this once before, long ago, but when I was a student we had a bake sale in the student union bldg for Women’s Day. We charged a sliding scale – regular prices for women, and +30% for the menz. And if they got their girlfriends to buy stuff for them, we explained how he was exploiting her. Hoo boy were they mad. It was lovely to see.

  86. stacey

    Argh, I have a long ranty post in moderation, but I forgot to say that the natural rhythm method screwed me over in my late 20s. I have the shortest cycle ever combined with the most fertile ovaries ever. I’d never thank God, but I totally thank Dr. Henry Morgenthaler for making abortions accessible in Canada.

  87. qvaken

    Frumious B: “Is this blog I Blame the Patriarchy or I Blame Individual Men Who I Have Never Even Met For Whom I Have No Evidence Of Any Wrongdoing Simply Because They Are Men So They Must Have Done SOMETHING And Therefore Crimes Against Them Are Bullshit? I’m pretty sure it’s the former.”

    Yeah. Once again. Not really the place for it. Jus’ sayin’.

  88. tinfoil hattie

    Claiming that JR is spouting MRA-isms is a low blow.

  89. stacey

    But that’s what they are – MRAisms. It’s exactly what an MRA would say. I realize that JR is using the speech as sarcasm, but I think it’s a rather unreasonable reaction. Frumious B wasn’t requesting that we include men in the discussion, she was asking to not blow off the fact that men can be raped. Entirely reasonable, especially if she knows one who *has* been raped. *Anyone* can be raped. Argh.

  90. Linda

    Given that the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, it shouldn’t be too surprising that rates of male on male rape are also high. It’s an every day occurrence in even low security prisons.

    But, there is reasonable cause to question the accuracy of the stats because a) we know that women under-report, and b) simply because prison populations are notoriously difficult to collect data from. This is because of the constant mobility of prisoners and unpredictability of the system – people are cycled in and out of and between prisons all day every day, which makes it hard to even determine how many people are locked up at any given time.

    It might be more useful to use the data to look at how black people or young people are more at risk of rape due to over-representation in the system. But it does not surprise me one bit to see it being used by MRAs to silence women.

  91. Linda

    Also, I’m sure that women’s ability to be aware of our own fertility is more about those rare occasions when we actually DO want to fall pregnant. Outside of patriarchy that would likely be the only time we might seek out PIV.

  92. Triste

    “What would you call it if I was a boss-type person, who subtly suggests to that cute young guy I just hired that he’d better put out or lose his job? He’s totally able-bodied, but he reeeeally needs the job and blah blah blah. Or I’m a prison guard and I threaten a male prisoner blah blah blah. We’d certainly call it rape if it was a young woman in that position.”

    I’d call it rape, if such a thing happened. If there is a man out there who has lived such a situation, he has been raped, and I am as sorry for him as I would be for anyone of any gender. His experience is real and tragic and horrible, and the person responsible is a sick fuck.

    But this doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t. A woman boss who attempted such a thing would expose herself to the possibility of the total destruction of her reputation and career. She would also have to have overcome a lifetime worth of social programming that told her that she shouldn’t want sex at all, and she sure as fuck should not want to impose upon anyone else, in particular a man, with her sexuality. A woman prison guard would face an even worse situation – if word got out, she would be viewed as fair game to the entire prison population, some number of which is comprised of violent men and rapists.

    The consequences that a woman would face for committing such an act are huge, and women are trained their entire lives to do the exact opposite of what a rapist does.

    We shouldn’t be talking about this as though it is a phenomenon that occurs with even the vaguest amount of regularity. I would bet that there are more children under the age of 15 who have killed or seriously injured their parents than there are adult males who have been raped by women, but nobody jumps into every discussion of child abuse to talk about how we are forgetting the adult victims, how dare we!

  93. Lidon

    What a joke (and creepy). As usual, you cut to the heart of the matter.

    “…but nobody jumps into every discussion of child abuse to talk about how we are forgetting the adult victims, how dare we!”

    Yep. A typical way of belittling the marginalized group’s issue and trying to get them to shut the hell up by distracting them from the topic at hand. IBTP

  94. qvaken

    Yeah, I’m not keen on the “JR is saying MRAisms” thing.

  95. iamlegs

    Since we’ve been on the topic of pornography and images of women for awhile, I want to take advantage of this open thread and share this lecture by Jean Kilbourne. It’s fairly sure that none of this information is new to the commentariat here, but she lays the argument out breathtakingly clearly.

    NB: The video also includes audience reaction shots, which are a bit bullsh*t because they almost always focus on white women, but which are sometimes interesting, as you watch the scales fall from the eyes.

    Part one: http://youtu.be/1ujySz-_NFQ
    Part two: http://youtu.be/E4-1xCf3I7U

  96. speedbudget

    yttik, I certainly would never say that abortion is celebrated in the US. I don’t know where you get that idea. What is celebrated is state-sponsored rape in the form of endovaginal ultrasounds and shaming women by making them make multiple trips due to “time-outs” because we are so stupid we had no idea what a pregnancy actually is.

    And I’m just going to say it. I enjoy sex as a toy. It feels damn good. And to suggest that there is something wrong with me or I’m selfish because I want to enjoy it without the constant niggling worry of pregnancy is outright bullshit. This attitude that sex is SERIOUS and to be taken seriously at all times is what leads us to these ridiculous abortion laws and the taking away of birth control. I don’t hate my baby-making parts. I just want and DESERVE the freedom to enjoy sex.

    PS – Try getting a tubal ligation in your 20s or even 30s in this country as a single woman with no kids.

  97. Hari

    speedbudget–well, you never seem to argue against anyone who says PIV carries many dangers of disease, pregnancy, rape, etc. Which means it seems you do agree that sex has it’s serious aspects.

    I didn’t say we should never enjoy sex as a toy. I said it isn’t a toy that we can expect to enjoy ‘whenever and however’–and those are critical qualifications of my comment that you left out in your reaction. I’m all for fun sex, worry free, as a simple enjoyment OR expression of love, seeking of comfort, whatever mutually beneficial purpose. Touch, erotic pleasure–these are some wonderful things and are known to have many health benefits physically and mentally.

    The problem is acting like sex somehow *shouldn’t* be a force of nature in terms of procreation. It just IS, like weather, the dance of the stars and planets, the necessity for eating and shitting. Humans have gotten us into very serious trouble by ignoring nature in it’s power and extremely interconnected complexities, and the whole planet is suffering for that trend. I will never believe that more technology and drugs to subvert nature is the answer.

    As a feminist–one who deeply honors the natural world we are necessarily a part of–I be happy for BC that was actually SAFE as well as 100% effective–just don’t believe we’ll get there, at least not without creating other dangers, all probably hidden til it’s too late, and probably wreaked most upon womyn and all non-human-male life forms. This is the #1 lesson of so-called Advanced Civilization. What I’d most prefer to see happen is for womyn to just get a grip on the reality their fertility, instead of acting like it’s yet another punishment by the P. I wish womyn would look squarely upon the men-defined obligations of what patriarchy calls ‘sex’: thus, rejecting all things that pose a danger to themselves, and exploring all the ways to enjoy sex for whatever serious or frivolous reasons we may choose. Rejecting compulsory PIV, replacing conditioned-response/conditioned-attraction to PIV by choosing other methods for erotic enjoyment–these would be far more fruitful avenues to pursue for feminists than more tech control of nature and our bodies, in my opinion.

    One of the most damaging aspect of patriarchy is it’s objectification of bodies and nature, with the idea that we can actually control life. We can’t–we can only interfere with nature, to our own and the rest of life’s peril. The evidence of that, in this point in time, is quite staggering. Feminism as a movement will never succeed until we can be *that* inclusive in our view, and in our will to take down the P. As for individualism, and human-centrism–IBTP for their existnece.

  98. Hari

    *existence.

  99. EmilyBites

    @Hari
    I sorta see what you mean about the Facts of Life being facts, but like speedbudget, I WANT to have sex for funsies, even PIV, and it shouldn’t be so damn difficult. It’s like…scuba diving; you need an artificial oxygen supply to do it, and it has its risks, but I want to do it for fun, and that’s not because I hate my lungs. And just because it’s not ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it’s inherently negative.

  100. Hari

    But EmilyBites–why *shouldn’t* it be so damn difficult to have strictly funsies PIV? I mean, it’s really not about should or shouldn’t, only about what IS, by nature. We don’t get to control life, period. We do have the power and knowledge to work with and around some facts of life, though. I’ve got plenty to be angry about, being a womyn in the P, without wasting time being mad at nature…same nature that gave us the incredible pleasures of sex!

  101. Sniper

    @Hari

    “As a feminist–one who deeply honors the natural world…”

    And that’s the problem. Don’t go on assuming that all of us are nature worshipers. Nature doesn’t always knows best, and all things ‘natural’ aren’t always good (cancer is a natural occurrence, ‘nough said)
    As someone already mentioned, I don’t hate my lady parts either but to me they are certainly a drag; periods are annoying, percolating through out the month (vaginal discharge) doesn’t make me go ‘eewww’ but it’s certainly irritating to be cleaning myself up every 10 minutes (at times) because I refuse to put on a lady pad as if I’m some kind of incontinent person… and I could go on. Why in hell would I ‘respect’ / ’take seriously’ any of that? No thanks, I could happily do without all of those inconveniences, but no… nature knows best and I’m supposed to put up with that, go against my urges, do without PIV (because presumably penises are unnatural and therefore evil), and start counting days, cycles, taking my temperature, keeping charts and throw in a few prayers to the moon goddess for good measure.

    If any of the above suits you, then great, who is gonna argue with that? But it certainly ain’t a one size fits all.

  102. Mildred

    @ Insurgence

    I’ve been interested in fertility awareness ever since I got my first period, how do I find proper information about this? Everything on the internet is so vague or related only to infections.

  103. Sniper

    What I wanna see is more contraceptive methods for men. Year 2012 (it’s supposed to sound futuristic you know) and what we got? Condoms and vasectomies. We might be the ones that get pregnant (I hate that argument btw) but they are the cause of it, is not my egg the one that gets into his body and hijack it. Cut the source.
    Of course understandably that wouldn’t give all women the necessary peace of mind, so more variety of healthier and safer BC for women should be developed, like yesterday. And I shouldn’t have to say that tube legation should be provided on demand demand for adult women of any age.

  104. Ginjoint

    JR and Triste are correct. Bullshit. And taking up space here.

  105. Hari

    Mildred–probably the best reference and how-to for fertility awareness is Taking Charge of Your Fertility:… by Toni Weschler. It is quite the compendium of info on womyn’s bodies wrt fertility.

  106. Triste

    @Hari

    Nature also made humans naturally inclined to look for innovative, technologically based solutions to things that trouble us. Why should we fight against that nature by resisting the urge to utilize the technologies that we’ve created?

  107. Hari

    I never said we should fight against our nature to create technologies. We just need to learn to stop asking ‘can we do this?’ and resume asking (as ancient cultures often did) ‘is doing this safe, for every part of life, and over the next 7 generations?’. It’s called using foresight, another human trait.

  108. Cyberwulf

    JR, Triste and Ginjoint: “Certain people can’t be raped/rape in X circumstance is impossible.”

    Do you clowns even hear yourselves?

  109. Mildred

    Almost every time I’ve talked to men about the rape thing they’ve told me, “This isn’t just a women’s issue! Hell, I’ve been raped too!”
    I didn’t want to seem like an asshole and ask questions about it but my instincts kept telling me, “Its not the same.” And also, that they were just saying it to me to silence me, to say, “I’ve been raped and I’m not harping on about it.” On the occasions where they went into detail it emerged that it was a case of someone trying something on while they were asleep and they (while unconscious) seemed to go along with it, they woke up in the middle but were okay with having sex and continued anyway.

    I don’t feel its the same when a woman hits a man. Yeah, yeah, all violence is terrible no matter who is doing it but we all know its different.
    It just doesn’t have the same power dynamics.
    In the very least I feel like its different just because when a man is raped its a hideous abhorrent act, but if a woman is raped by a man its treated as ‘horrible’ in the news if she’s the perfect victim they’re looking for (or subtly or not so subtly marked as a slut who asked for it), but an entire media industry is based on making rape sexy and titillating, you could say that about mainstream journalism or hardcore porn.
    My Nigel told me a creepy story once about a group of fat women in his home town who were known for getting adolescent boys drunk and then using their body weight to pin them down to rape them. Yes, its fucking terrible but I’m pretty sure most guys would think ‘just avoid those women and I won’t get raped’. Its not a realistic and persistent fear.

  110. Insurgence

    Mildred – As Hari said, the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Tony Welscher is probably the best resource. There is no religious slant to it or anything and it’s packed with information for both trying to avoid pregnancy and trying to conceive as well as general women’s health.

    http://tcoyf.com/

    I was working on a longer comment for here that I may or may not finish since I’ve been caught up with work and other real life activities.

  111. Insurgence

    Also worth noting, there are numerous online charting services (including TCOYF’s own) as well as smart phone apps. I have an iPhone so Lily is my favorite. Hate to be promoting anything, but the $16 or whatever was so worth it to me to be able to track information on the go. I know not everyone can afford a smart phone but I thought I’d throw it out there.

  112. lizor

    This:

    “What would you call it if I was a boss-type person, who subtly suggests to that cute young guy I just hired that he’d better put out or lose his job? He’s totally able-bodied, but he reeeeally needs the job and blah blah blah. Or I’m a prison guard and I threaten a male prisoner blah blah blah. We’d certainly call it rape if it was a young woman in that position.”

    Is a derailing mansplain-y straw argument.

    This:

    “Frumious B wasn’t requesting that we include men in the discussion, she was asking to not blow off the fact that men can be raped. ”

    is a self-contradictory assertion.

    And exactly where did JR, Triste and Ginjoint say “Certain people can’t be raped/rape in X circumstance is impossible.”???

  113. polarcontrol

    n the very least I feel like its different just because when a man is raped its a hideous abhorrent act, but if a woman is raped by a man its treated as ‘horrible’ in the news if she’s the perfect victim they’re looking for (or subtly or not so subtly marked as a slut who asked for it), but an entire media industry is based on making rape sexy and titillating, you could say that about mainstream journalism or hardcore porn.

    Yes. Like think of the video I linked to above. If a torture scene like that was leaked from a (men’s) prison in Iraq, or something, it would be all over the news as a scandal. But, it’s a woman on a porn set, so, you know, what do you expect?

  114. lizor

    This rocks.

    Trigger warning: this does describe, without detail, general circumstances of some individual cases of rape.

    http://www.indiegogo.com/Project-Unbreakable

  115. Mildred

    @ Lizor

    Bloody hell! That was powerful. I’m literally in tears. But still I have absolutely no hope at all that things will change.

  116. stacey

    Okay whatevs. I just feel it’s beholden to us to not deny anyone, *anyone’s* rapeability. I’m totally down with “we’re discussing rape, but we refuse to address men’s rape,” but I’m not down with “… we refuse to address men’s rape because it doesn’t exist.”

    Dunzo.

  117. Cyberwulf

    And exactly where did JR, Triste and Ginjoint say “Certain people can’t be raped/rape in X circumstance is impossible.”???

    Triste: “The phenomenon of women abusing or raping adult able-bodied men that MRAs cry about is essentially complete bullshit.”

    Triste: “…this [a woman in authority using coercion to rape a man] doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t.”

    JR: “…let us now devote 90,000 words to the terrible problems of oppression men face from fear of women raping them. Because that’s like, a real and viable fear and totally not a “what about the men” question that is brought up to derail every single feminist discussion on rape every single time it is mentioned”

    Ginjoint: “JR and Triste are correct. Bullshit.”

  118. lizor

    Refusing to address men’s rape and refusing to consider the incidence of women raping able-bodied men are not the same thing. No one here says men don’t get raped. They are saying that the vast majority of rapes experienced by men are perpetrated by men. The picture of the female boss raping the employee sounds unlikely, to put it kindly.

    As Pheeno tried so heroically to point out over at Feministe, it’s guys doing the vast majority of the raping.

    If women are raping children and vulnerable people in significant numbers (and I am not at all convinced that they are), I have to wonder if it has emerged recently – say, around the advent of internet porn and the rapifying of depictions of sex in popular media – the recent PETA video as an example. Sex as violence and domination is so embedded in our language and our collective consciousness, this has got to be a factor.

  119. Alouette

    Mildred, you’re absolutely right. It’s not the same. Not only are the power dynamics and cultural implications different, but so is the reality. Those men could have stopped it when they woke up. They were the ones in control of the situation, which is why they were comfortable disclosing what happened. How many women who were raped can say the same? Those men know it’s not the same. It’s a deliberate silencing method.

  120. tinfoil hattie

    as if I’m some kind of incontinent person…

    As one kind of incontinent person, I say: just you wait. You’ll start leaking pee when you’re in your late 40s, pregnancies or no. It’s another handy-dandy universal phenomenon among women.

    Also, there’s nothing shameful about being incontinent and/or needing pads/diapers for these conditions. So your scorn for “lady pad(s)” is a wee bit misplaced.

  121. tinfoil hattie

    and yes, I am being tongue-in-cheek about ALL WOMEN START PEEING IN THEIR PANTS. I envy those of you who don’t.

  122. Sniper

    Being genuinely incontinent because of a health condition, isn’t shameful. Feeling like you have a condition when there’s supposedly nothing wrong with you, is. Even though shame is not the word I’d use for it. If anything your argument strengthens mine if nature was so wonderful incontinence wouldn’t be so common and wouldn’t be an affliction that affects so many women.

  123. stacey

    If women are raping children and vulnerable people in significant numbers (and I am not at all convinced that they are), I have to wonder if it has emerged recently – say, around the advent of internet porn and the rapifying of depictions of sex in popular media – the recent PETA video as an example. Sex as violence and domination is so embedded in our language and our collective consciousness, this has got to be a factor.

    I also don’t think the numbers are significant, however there is at least a hundred-year history of abuse in Canadian residential schools, which includes sexual abuse of children by women.

  124. yttik

    “Why should we fight against that nature by resisting the urge to utilize the technologies that we’ve created?”

    Because “we” haven’t been allowed to be full participants in the creation of many of these technologies. “We” meaning women. One problem with much of technology is that we live in a patriarchy which causes many of our “solutions” to “nature’s problems” to be so biased, they are actually harmful to women. So, based on women’s history and experience, it’s a good idea to cast a jaded and skeptical eye on patriarchal ideas of “improving on nature.” They have a history of offering us all sorts of atrocities under the guise of improving nature, lobotomies, hysterectomies, breast implants, poisonous medications, etc.

    Really people, this isn’t a cut and dry issue, like “nature bad, technology good.” There’s a lot more to it than that.

  125. Ginjoint

    Cyberwulf, I don’t come here to read “But ooooooh, MEN get raped TOOOoooOOOooo!” Fine, it may happen (an infinitesimal amount of times in any given year, I’d wager, particularly women raping “able-bodied men”), but men do the overwhelming amount of raping. Your comments, Frumious B’s comments – the crappy, self-righteous kind of derailing that happens all over the fucking web whenever women attempt to discuss the side effects of being female in this world. And I’m not a clown. Up yours, Cyberwulf, for calling me a clown.

  126. AlienNumber

    I’ve always been of the opinion that if men raped each other more maybe they’d rape women less. Simple math, really! (only that much time in the day, they can only get it up so many times in one day, and life is short: QED).

    Therefore, whenever I read from these MRAs “but but men get raped too! omg what about the men” a radfem should always say: “unfortunately, it simply doesn’t happen often enough.”

    The end.

  127. Triste

    I never said dudes aren’t rape-able. They get raped all the time. Just not by women.

    We aren’t talking about 1% of the male population here. We aren’t talking about .5%. I sincerely doubt that even a number as high as .001% of men have been, as adults, sexually assaulted by women. If some individual dude comes forward and has some story about a rape, as I said, I would believe him and feel for him just as I would for a woman. But when you are talking about numbers this small, there just isn’t really any excuse for acting as though the rape of men by women, as a repeated phenomenon, exists in any meaningful sense.

    Are there isolated incidents of such things happening? Maybe, yeah. Perhaps even probably. It is a big fucking world out there. But the whole damn thing is a Patriarchy, and there just isn’t any room in a Patriarchy for a woman to commit such an act. Which is fortunate, I suppose. If only we could get it to be similarly unacceptable for the other half of the population, we’d be golden.

  128. lizor

    “I also don’t think the numbers are significant, however there is at least a hundred-year history of abuse in Canadian residential schools, which includes sexual abuse of children by women.”

    Yes, this is true. But not all abuse is rape and the sorts of abuse in institutions run by women – orphanages for example – seems to be quite repetitive in it form. In the same way the Jesuits seem to play to the same scripts when they rape and abuse boys. In the case of male “caretakers” there is quite a bit of rape.

    I am not saying that women never abuse. I am saying that women acting out abuse as a forced sexual act is very seldom occurrence. Mildred’s story of the “fat women” is the only time I have heard of such a thing.

    The abuse by women, according to accounts I have read of both residential schools and catholic institutions for girls (including two in my own hometown) usually involve intense public shaming (sometimes of the body and so sexual in nature, but not rape), locking kids in closets for long periods of time, beatings, verbal abuse and so on. I have not read or heard of the women in authority getting themselves off with any sort of non-consensual sexual act, whether penetrative or not on the people they had power over.

    Men in power have an overwhelming tendency to force their cocks into someone and get themselves off by doing it. That’s rape. Women cannot and do not do that in any significant numbers.

  129. lizor

    “Because “we” haven’t been allowed to be full participants in the creation of many of these technologies. “We” meaning women. One problem with much of technology is that we live in a patriarchy which causes many of our “solutions” to “nature’s problems” to be so biased, they are actually harmful to women. So, based on women’s history and experience, it’s a good idea to cast a jaded and skeptical eye on patriarchal ideas of “improving on nature.” They have a history of offering us all sorts of atrocities under the guise of improving nature, lobotomies, hysterectomies, breast implants, poisonous medications, etc.”

    Dead on.

  130. speedbudget

    Hari, I think the problem is your bias is clouding the issue. I understand you don’t like PIV. Some women find it very enjoyable. And you will pry my pills out of my cold, dead fingers. Aside from allowing me to enjoy certain kinds of sex in a general worry-free manner, it also allows me to function for the week of the month that I have my period, and also allows me to control how many periods I have per year. I am down to four and working on tricking my insurance into allowing me to have fewer. Just because there is technology involved doesn’t mean it’s inherently awful, just like just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s inherently good.

  131. yttik

    One problem with discussing the possibility that a woman could rape a man is that it’s often presented as some sort of justification for why men rape. It’s sometimes used as a defense, like “so, women rape men too,” as if this justifies the 99% of rapes committed by men who are apparently just trying to even the score.

    Of course there are women who do bad things, but that doesn’t justify all the abuse, violence, and oppression heaped upon women as a group. This idea that women are evil and deserve to be treated like crap has ancient patriarchal roots, but the modern version seems to be that women are running around raping men and abusing children, so women deserve what they get. At least that’s what I learned on SVU and CSI TV this week.

  132. Mildred

    Oh yeah! Ever seen that movie “The Other Boleyn Girl” — Natalie Portman is scheming and acting evil and manipulative, withholding her pussy from the king. She’s contrasted by her sister who, like a good slut just lay down for the king when he asked and didn’t make a fuss when she got pregnant and he abandoned her, she just disappeared off to the country, quietly and conveniently.
    Oh! But her evil sister, how DARE she think she can use what men want to feather her own nest! Of course the King rapes her as punishment, and that’s totally justified of course, you can’t go around TEASING a man like that. She needed to be shown her place.

    I was shaking when I watched that movie. I just kept thinking THIS! THIS is why men rape women, this is why women think it’s their fault when it happens.

    As for the story that Nigel told me about the ‘fat women’ raping boys, well, it happened to a friend of his, whose immediate reaction was ‘fuck this, I’m calling the cops, why should they get away with that?’ — I don’t know the outcome but even that reaction is telling enough, that feeling that something unjust had occurred, and no doubt the police took it seriously because, well being raped by horrible desperate fat chicks is so nightmarish! Too horrible to even imagine! amirite?!

  133. Hari

    speedbudget: “I understand you don’t like PIV.”

    Wow, you must be psychic! At least, I never once said I didn’t “like” PIV–and didn’t say it because it’s not true. Questioning it, even rejecting it on feminist grounds of various sorts, has nothing to do with ‘enjoyment of PIV’. You’re not calling me a dried up prudish PIV-and-man hating radfem, now are you, speedbudget? Naw, surely not.

    It is also extremely tiresome to have the ol’ “since you have an understanding and respect for nature, therefore you think all technology is BAD” argument once again dragged in without any basis in my previous comments. Not just by you, of course–it’s a popular response by tech-worshippers to any who mention EVIL NATURE. So tiresome!

    Everyone, every human being, is “clouded by bias”. The tricky part is noticing what one’s biases actually are. In the P, that is a difficult thing indeed–it’s difficult in any culture, because we tend to accept the culture we are born into without judgement. This is part of the hardwired nature of a social species. Your bias lies in thinking that it’s perfectly ok for you to take meds that give you ‘freedom to freely do PIV’ according to your every whim, and ‘freely be free of pesky periods’. But I daresay you are not fully aware of the numerous risks you take with your own body and mind, by messing with your hormone system, risks now and on into your life wrt your future fertility and general health. You also seem to be unaware that the hormones you and millions of other womyn piss out every day (or when you flush remains of old pill scripts down the toilent) actually get into everyone’s water supply–and have real effects even on those of us who choose NOT to take those hormones. Not to mention that the manufacturing of those pills also has environmental ill-effects on humans and the planet. But due to the invisible biases given to you by this culture–PIV is the ultimate FUN! Med/pharm tech is making our lives BETTER! Nature is at best inconvenience we don’t have to put up with and at worst is crazy dangerous and TOTALLY gets in the way of our immediate personal WANTS! I could go on but suffice to say that there is indeed bias in play here. And it has nothing to do with ‘liking’ PIV.

    Perhaps the 2 ugliest, most personally and globally pernicious biases of the P inherent in comments like yours, are these: Yay, individualism! I don’t gotta think about anyone/anything else but me. And, about periods: did you ever stop to think that it’s life in the P that makes us hate our periods? The way work, fun, food (diet does affect menstrual difficulties–did anyone ever tell you?) fashion, and everything else is set up, not to mention that being a womyn by itself is just oh, I don’t know, the worst possible thing to be in the P–it’s all designed to make us hate our periods for all kinds of reasons. Fuck that–I reject that.

    For the biases we inherit from culture, IBTP. And still, I think one job of a feminist is to see that culture’s biases as they live and play out in us. This is needed to save one’s own life (as best we might), as well as to give feminism increasing power as a movement that frees all womyn from its evil life-sucking womyn-hating clutches.

  134. tinfoil hattie

    if nature was so wonderful

    Define “wonderful.” If you mean, “in that nothing bad in nature ever happens,” I think we’re operating from different definitions.

    Living beings age and break down. We become ill. Sometimes we recover, sometimes we don’t. Technology, with all its horrors, enables us to recover in ways our ancestors could not.

    “wonderful”? In a terrible, random, uncaring way – yes, nature is wonderful.

  135. tinfoil hattie

    But I daresay you are not fully aware of the numerous risks you take with your own body and mind, by messing with your hormone system, risks now and on into your life wrt your future fertility and general health.

    Pretty rotten thing to say to an advanced blamer who has commented here for YEARS. Really? It would be laughable, if it weren’t so egregiously insulting, to presume that anyone here is unaware of the holy hell we go through on a daily basis regarding our reproductive and sexual health.

    You also seem to be unaware that the hormones you and millions of other womyn piss out every day (or when you flush remains of old pill scripts down the toilent) actually get into everyone’s water supply–and have real effects even on those of us who choose NOT to take those hormones.

    Cry me a river, Hari. Exactly how pure are you in your day-to-day living – and are you SURE you’re so pure? Now speedbudget, making the best choices she can in PATRIARCHY, is responsible for your being forced to drink others’ medicine? (exaggerated risk, btw)

    Come ON. Do not admonish other blamers for their imperfect (according to YOU) lifestyles. Do not come here and lecture speedbudget, “and other womyn,” about how much damage we all do to the environment by trying to live the best we can under a fucked-up system.

    THAT is the antithesis of “advanced blaming,” and it pisses me off. Disagree. Correct misunderstandings. But don’t freaking PRESUME to tell other blamers WTF they are doing wrong in their daily lives when you don’t even know who we are.

    And no, speedbudget doesn’t need me to defend her. But she’s a real friend, and I let my loyalties take over.

  136. naomi

    That “fat women” story? Twaddle.

    So they pin the guys down and … what? Penetrate them somehow? Forcefully kiss and cuddle them? Isn’t it well-nigh physically impossible to get a P into a V when it doesn’t wanna go in?

    I’m not saying there has never been a male victim of abuse, but seriously, give me a break! That’s just badly-thought-out sizeist propaganda with a touch of male masturbatory fantasy and a large helping of juvenile gross-me-out “humour”.

  137. Hari

    Tinfoil Hattie–

    Now you are making assumptions, too. If I was heavy-handed in my comments, ok. Speedbudget started with an assumption about my supposed bias–I only pointed out the far less visible biases operating in the P.

  138. Darragh Murphy

    Well, there are forms of sexual assault that dont involve penetration, and there are forms of penetration that don’t involve p’s, but but but, yeah, the whole topic is an MRA derail. And the story sounds like BS anyway.

  139. Darragh Murphy

    “thinking that it’s perfectly ok for you to take meds that give you ‘freedom to freely do PIV’ according to your every whim, and ‘freely be free of pesky periods’.”

    who the fuck are you, Rick fucking Santorum?

  140. tinfoil hattie

    Hari, what speedbudget assumed about you is that you don’t like PIV. From that mis-statement, you wove a tale of speedbudget’s ignorance of HER OWN reproductive, mental, and sexual health, as well as her ignorant, selfish disregard for the environment and for all of humanity.

    You are way out of line. Stop. Just stop.

  141. Insurgence

    speedbudget – “pry my pills out of my cold, dead fingers”? I know your were addressing Hari and I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think anyone here is trying to force you to use one sort of birth control over another. I want all women to do whatever they think is best for themselves, but in order to give them the ability of a well informed choice, they need to know all their options first. Raising awareness about non-hormonal methods, being critical of putting hormones into our bodies, and what that implies about PIV (women are fertile for two days a cycle, men are fertile every day, yet women are the ones who take daily pills) doesn’t mean I want limit your options. Again, I want all women to do what is best for them. For me personally, hormones are unacceptable and the idea of having four or fewer periods a year is horrifying, when obtained via hormonal methods. I’m sure women pre-agriculture would have been horrified but the number of periods we have now, but I don’t see using hormones to offset unnatural consumption of grains to be the answer. And how any of this relates to enjoyment of PIV is beyond me.

    As a response to some comments up thread:

    speedbudget – FAM and NFP differ in that those following NFP abstain during fertile times. So if you don’t happen to be the godbaggy type, what do you do if you want to have sex when you’re fertile? Use a condom, have him pull out, use a diaphragm, use a cervical cap, use a contraceptive sponge. Preferably more than one of these simultaneously, as they are all prone to failure and this would be the worst time for that to happen.

    I find it strange that you find awareness about your cycle to be a form of policing. Moreso than other contraceptive methods? I would put daily pills and making sure the guy uses a condom in that category more than simple awareness. I don’t really do the whole hookup dealio, but all the women I talk to say they have to ask the men to put on a condom cause they won’t do it otherwise.

    JR – Please don’t confuse the rhythm method with FAM/NFP. The rhythm method isn’t based on anything really, whereas FAM/NFP have biology as their basis. One of the main points of fertility awareness is that ovulation on day 14 is a myth and that it varies by individual women and from cycle to cycle. There is absolutely NO “have a good idea of when you’re going to and add a few days ahead of time”. That’s called guessing, not birth control.

    I am unaware of any findings of women ovulating more than once a cycle, unless you are referring to releasing two ova within a 24 hour period, which FAM accounts for. If you are talking about something else I would love a citation because that certainly changes things a bit. Irregular cycles and ovulating while menstruating are also accounted for in FAM so I’m not sure why you are presenting this information as if it refutes the effectiveness.

    Sheesh, all this hostility and misinformation here of all places towards simple awareness is staggering.

  142. Triste

    Because “we” haven’t been allowed to be full participants in the creation of many of these technologies. “We” meaning women. One problem with much of technology is that we live in a patriarchy which causes many of our “solutions” to “nature’s problems” to be so biased, they are actually harmful to women. So, based on women’s history and experience, it’s a good idea to cast a jaded and skeptical eye on patriarchal ideas of “improving on nature.” They have a history of offering us all sorts of atrocities under the guise of improving nature, lobotomies, hysterectomies, breast implants, poisonous medications, etc.

    Really people, this isn’t a cut and dry issue, like “nature bad, technology good.” There’s a lot more to it than that.

    I never said we should fight against our nature to create technologies. We just need to learn to stop asking ‘can we do this?’ and resume asking (as ancient cultures often did) ‘is doing this safe, for every part of life, and over the next 7 generations?’. It’s called using foresight, another human trait.

    I agree with you guys that it is desirable for anyone, especially a woman, to be skeptical of technological developments and to question them thoroughly. Sometimes you can question something, be suspicious of it, investigate it, and eventually decide that it is a good deal after all. I think that this is probably the case with most women here who do use hormonal birth control.

    Still, I can’t blame any woman who chooses not to use hormonal methods, although I realize I was sort of unclear about that. I just think that one of the most important things we can do in this world to fight against Patriarchal oppression is to do as much as we can to give women full control over their fertility and their bodies. To be honest, the risks associated with this (hormones in the water and clotting issues) are well worth the benefit to our society and our planet that comes from reduction of unwanted births and pregnancies.

  143. tinfoil hattie

    Jeebus Cripes on a grasshopper’s back – speedbudget is not some ignoramus. Why all the hostility and assumption of naivete? Really? “I want all women to do whatever they think is best for themselves, but in order to give them the ability of a well informed choice, they need to know all their options first.”

    For crying out loud. You are ASSuming speedbudget hasn’t done all this already? HERE? REALLY, PEOPLE?

    Stop the freaking policing and xxx-splaining. ADVANCED BLAMERS, remember?

  144. Leficent

    I am thankful I had beer in the fridge, because this was a five drink thread.

    *relurking*

  145. Rididill

    ‘To be honest, the risks associated with this (hormones in the water and clotting issues) are well worth the benefit to our society and our planet that comes from reduction of unwanted births and pregnancies.’

    Yeah, it’s so totally worth it for society and the planet. Fuck those women who die of blood clots.

    Not to mention the mental health issues. A friend of mine attempted suicide after going on Depo-Provera – sure, she was depressed anyway, but this pushed her WAY over the edge. I’m sure that wouldn’t have counted as a death-by-contraceptive in the statistics, mind, had I not been there to take her to the hospital.

    On another note, it appears my life may have been ruined by the copper IUD for the past 4.5 years.

    Yep, that one that’s supposed to be all safe and free of the crazy making aspects of hormones.

    My symptoms:

    Anxiety
    Heart palpitations
    Depression
    Depressed immune system
    Acne
    Chronic fatigue
    Tingling and numbness
    Visual distortions
    Hot flashes
    Constant nausea, especially strong in the mornings.

    I had the IUD taken out about a week ago. The change has been dramatic. I didn’t realize that constant anxiety and fear had become so normal for me until it suddenly disappeared. I didn’t even realize the hot flashes were abnormal until I took it out and then they stopped. The nausea stopped immediately.

    I am still getting some tingling but the weird bouncy vision is gone, and the fatigue is improving. I read that it takes some time to get the copper out of your system. It turns out I am not the only one:

    http://www.mothering.com/community/t/916122/copper-iud-and-side-effects

    The problem is that if you get these side effects at any time during your IUD use, no doctor will attribute this to the IUD. Instead they think it is something else. I have undergone countless blood tests and neurological tests to try and get to the bottom of it, have been on anti depressants, nothing worked and nothing showed anything.

    These symptoms have been destroying my life, this is no exaggeration. I went back to school because I was no longer healthy enough to work full time. I had suicidal thoughts every day. Since I had it taken out I feel positive about the future for the first time in months, and I am no longer crippled with constant dread in my daily life.

    If you have the copper IUD and are having any of these inexplicable symptoms, please please PLEASE try taking it out. Your doctor will probably laugh at you if you suggest that your symptoms are caused by the IUD, so be prepared.

    The lesson of all this? Don’t assume current medical knowledge on side effects is actually accurate. Since doctors expect women to be hysterical weaklings anyway, such symptoms are no cause for alarm or the impulse for further research on side effects. The research doesn’t happen because doctors believe a priori that it can’t be true, so they don’t bother to find out, and any woman that tells them is just laughed at not listened to in most cases.

    I am henceforth keeping all that crap out of my body.

  146. Hari

    Thank you Rididill and Insurgence, because although it isn’t nearly enough to live well in the P, information is indeed something that can serve our power to live as well as possible.

    tinfoil hattie (and speedbudget)–just so you know, I was responding to speedbudget’s post as a jumping off place, but I wasn’t just speaking to her personally. I was talking to anyone who might be reading. You’re right–I don’t know her, have no idea how informed she is about the matters I mentioned. Which is why nobody needs to take it so personally–it wasn’t about her. How could it have been, since I don’t know her?

    As for Advanced Patriarchy Blaming, I think you missed it but it was there. And seemed to miss the part where IBTP for its hidden biases.

    Darraugh–as for Rick Santorum comparisons, not impressed. Sex is what it is. Whining about that doesn’t change the facts.

  147. Saurs

    just so you know, I was responding to speedbudget’s post as a jumping off place, but I wasn’t just speaking to her personally.

    The fuck you were.

  148. tinfoil hattie

    OK, Rididill! That is YOUR experience. WTH is happening here? Do all of you have some sort of insider knowledge that speedbudget is STOOPID, or something?

    Hari, I do not believe you are engaging in good faith. At first you were addressing speedbudget, then you weren’t. You can try to have it both ways, but I’ll comment on it.

    And the Santorum comparison? Judas Priest in a bouncy-house, of COURSE it’s apt. You seem resentful that some of us would like to have sex on OUR schedule, which has NOTHING to do with you personally, accusations of our poisoning the water supply just so we can fuck,
    notwithstanding. Get OUT of other women’s bedrooms! We get enough of that everywhere else in our lives!

    Where is Obstreperon? Did I get off at the wrong planetary stop?

  149. Triste

    “Yeah, it’s so totally worth it for society and the planet. Fuck those women who die of blood clots.”

    At what point did I say fuck them? What I said was that the benefits to society and the planet outweigh the detriment. That doesn’t mean that the negative health effects aren’t real, or that the people who experience them don’t matter.

    People die from taking penicillin sometimes too, but I’m not saying fuck those people if I suggest that penicillin has been hugely beneficial to our society, because it has. The same goes for birth control. There are unpleasant and occasionally even deadly side effects connected with the use of birth control. You know what has even more deadly and unpleasant side effects? Unwanted pregnancy. That shit kills women all the time, and it also makes them sick as hell, and forces them to be child-rearing slaves for most of their lives. In point of fact, blood clots are one of the many shitty side effects of getting pregnant.

    More women getting pregnant and having kids is also a fuckload worse for the environment than hormones in our pee. The largest threat to this planet is the growing human population, period. All other issues stem from this core problem. Women having the ability to choose whether or not they want to be pregnant is the best possible thing we can do for our environment.

    Incidentally, I am sorry about the experience you had with the IUD. I had nearly the exact opposite experience with birth control – my hormones were so out of control that my periods would literally last months, with heavy bleeding throughout. I was sleeping 12-15 hours a day, I was in constant pain from cramps, I was so severely anemic that I would lose consciousness at times, and my mental state eventually got so bad that I was tossed in a psych ward briefly. I started using that Ortho Evra patch thing, and my health has improved dramatically. I have a period once a month that lasts five days. I haven’t passed out or even felt like passing out since I’ve started on it. My doctor even noted that my anemia might be cleared up enough for me to donate blood soon. There are stories like that about birth control as well. It doesn’t invalidate your experience, or take away how badly you were treated by doctors or how terrible your side effects were. But I think what it demonstrates is that every woman is different, and every woman needs to make her own decision and decide what is best for her. And she should have all options made available to her.

  150. Insurgence

    tinfoil hattie – when I said “I want all women” I meant that. Please. There is no hostility from me. What I meant is that when I originally started posting here I was addressing blamers generally because there seemed to be confusion about how long women are fertile. I wasn’t implying that speedbudget hadn’t assessed her own situation. I directed some responses towards her because she had questioned some things and then I found the part about prying pills from her strange. She may be well aware of all the options out there, but other women aren’t as evidenced by the direct questions and incorrect information.

    Honestly, I know this is hard over the internet with lack of tone and all that but please trust me. I post in solidarity and with good intentions, not judgment or superiority.

  151. Rididill

    @Tinfoil
    Oh dear god. I do not give a crap about whatever this Speedbudget dispute is, so please don’t lump me in with that, I lost track of that while skimming through the comments. Does not interest me when arguments seem to be becoming needlessly hostile.

    Thanks Tinfoil, was just trying to spread some info that is not widely known, and maybe could help someone avoid what I have been through. No need to be an asshole about it.

    @Triste
    Of course I understand that some people have good experiences.

    This does not negate the fact that many people have bad experiences with contraception, and it’s quite likely that people may have more bad experiences than they are aware because they mistakenly attribute it to another cause.

    So I am trying to increase the amount of info out there, hence telling my story. That is all. I didn’t expect such an aggressive response to an argument I wasn’t even making.

    My main point is, you say it’s worth the cost for the benefits of the planet, society, etc.

    I say the scale of cost is one that is likely underestimated, and we do not have the information to make informed choices. And that research to improve the information, and improve birth control, does not seem to be happening.

    That is a choice our society has made. You act like there is no form of contraception apart from the pill, that if we didn’t have the pill, contraception would not exist.But this is ridiculous. The benefits to the planet could be achieved by means that are not so costly. If the powers that be were willing to put their minds to it.

    Oh, and the doctors shit was not me, the doctors never treated me that way. I never spoke to them about it. I just had it out. Those are reports from other women.

  152. Hari

    Insurgence–there’s just nothing wrong with asking people to think. Speaking only for myself, sometimes on internet discussions of feminism I’ve felt extremely hurt or pissed off, or both. Some of those times that was solely because someone was being a total jerk toward me. More often my upset was because I’d been forced out of my usual thoughts by new information or a completely different point of view–especially when coming from someone new to me, whose good faith is not yet establshed for me. It can be intensely disturbing and take awhile to integrate. Can’t help but think something like this could be in play on this thread. Not that I can speak for anyone else, and not that I doubt some here will further excoriate me for saying this, when after all I’ve been ordered to stop. Just saying–and will say again–there is not a thing wrong with offering info or asking people to think. They can do with it what they will, including get p.o.ed, but that doesn’t change the value of the info or point of view offered, or detract from the reality your good faith.

  153. tinfoil hattie

    Hari, I asked you to please stop being patronizing and rude to your fellow blamers. And it’s not because your comments have stunned me into a new way of thinking about shit I’ve examined, pondered, analyzes, studied, and discussed for years.. It is because your argument was dismissive and patronizing to other advanced feminists. On this, of all sites.

  154. Twisty

    Hari, take it down a notch please. Rephrase or step out. Thanks.

  155. qvaken

    Not that anyone said it was, but I agree with Hari in that sex isn’t ALL fun and games – some parts of it are serious. I remember talking to a gay male friend about that MRA (yuck, I know) issue where the woman involved thought that she was infertile and told her partner, then she fell pregnant and chose to keep the baby and sought child support from her partner, and then he was fighting that in the courts on the moral grounds that he was having sex in good faith that he wouldn’t wind up with a child from it. Basically, my take was that there’s always the possibility of pregnancy with straight sex, and so if (you’re a man and) you want to have straight sex then you’ve just got to face up to that and not complain and blame the woman later. My friend took it that I was saying that sex should never be fun and relaxing, and I disagree – sex, for me, is about having fun. (It also used to be about giving a guy what he wants, and I hope that it never is again, but that’s irrelevant here.)

    So… was that sort of what you meant, Hari?

    I’m actually intrigued by this information about contraception. It was expected both that I get hormonal contraception (my mum yelled at me) AND that I sort it out myself (my mum yelled at me instead of helping me to book the appointment etc.), so it’s always just been a given to me. Currently I have Implanon, and really the only side effects are that I barely get periods, and that it’s probably a factor in my so far year-long acne issue. But it’s a relief to know that if I get carried away (immature, I know) or decide that I’ve been with a man for long enough and I can trust him on the STD front, then I can have sex and not worry about pregnancy.

  156. Noel

    I don’t know about this woman-recognizing technology (how exactly are they going to manage that again?), but I do know that I hate seeing feminist flame-wars.

    We all have our ways of managing under patriarchy. We are all feminists. Oppressive/counterproductive/self-hating behaviors do need to be called out, though, and powerfully.

    My stance:

    PIV (and as a result, contraception) is a tool of patriarchal indoctrination and control. A primary, and *incredibly* effective one. It bonds us, addicts us, even,, to our oppressors and their assessment of us as ‘fuckable’, ‘loveable’, ‘respectable’, ‘employable’, etc. It forces our dependence on their goodwill in all areas, but most especially for access to contraception and abortion, thus rendering us infinitely more vulnerable to their social/political maneuverings.

    Can it be enjoyable anyway? Yep! Been there, still struggle…though I think much of the reason many of us ‘enjoy’ it so much is because we are quite literally addicted to the validation we receive from it, and the men who give us that validation by way of fucking us…to say nothing of the deep-seated, conditioned and justifiable fear of societal rejection for not being sexually (re: actively/passively engaging in consistent PIV) associated with some dude in the first place.

    Prude or slut, you must eventually be fucked by a man for your existence to have any meaning if you are female. Not just to others, but to yourself. There’s no in-between, there’s no opting out. The survival of many women depends on it.

    It’s quite literally be fucked (and fuckable) or starve, suffer, and die. If the stakes are that high, it’s really no wonder so many women refuse to consider the possibility of rejecting PIV.

    At least, that’s what makes the most sense to/for me.

    Can engaging in PIV anyway be considered politically neutral, or feminist? Not in my view. From where I’m sitting, it is a concession, and a major/critical one. But then, so are high heels, make-up, feminine attire/behavior, silence, gossip, social power plays, playing exceptional woman, dating/partnering with men at all, working at all, having children or not having children, watching television/movies, reading books, going outside, having friends, talking to anyone, eating food, breathing air, having much of anything to do with men in any way whatsoever, etc.

    We can’t really escape concession-making, or conformity. Not as things are. Not if we want to survive/our children to survive. Some of us are less able to resist than others (part of this group: me), as a result of class, race, age, ability, circumstance, or a combination of all of the above/something else. We resist in the ways we are able at any given time.

    Can we achieve revolution, though, with so many women/feminists literally physically/emotionally addicted to those that oppress them, who by way of PIV/all it’s attendant contraceptive/otherwise nonsense fatally compromise their beliefs and re-direct their energies (among the many, many other concessions already compromising their beliefs/re-directing their energies)? Would there be much PIV/resulting need for the rest in a world without patriarchy?

    Doubtful.

    To sum up, I love and support everyone here in their choices/concessions, including myself. We are whole, complete, complicated, fallible, feminist human beings. The world of men is cruel to us, cruel to our bodies and minds and forces us to do awful things to each other and ourselves. There are no simple solutions for this, but we must persist, and we will. The end.

  157. tinfoil hattie

    I’m sorry, Rididill. I misinterpreted your comment. My mistake and overraction.

    Okay, insurgence. I apologize to you too.

    I am sorry for inappropriately dragging others into the conversation.

    I was very confused about wth was going on, and I projected too far out there.

    IBT – well, no. I blame myself.

  158. Insurgence

    I appreciate your apology and your humility tinfoil. But I don’t blame you, I DO blame the patriarchy. As women we’re accustomed to being on the defensive all the time because we’re attacked for every damn choice we make.

    As much as I hate arguing amongst feminists, I am heartened by your willingness to defend women, even if misplaced.

  159. speedbudget

    herpderp.
    How is babby formed? http://www.somethingawful.com/flash/shmorky/babby.swf

  160. Hari

    Twisty–Ok, then, stepping out. I finally begin to fathom what is meant here by Advanced Patriarchy Blaming in all senses of the term (or at least, in enough ways to make things clear enough for me), and see that it’s not as much in sync with the way I see things as originally thought.

  161. procrastinatrix

    Another bit of info that the “let’s be in closer harmony to nature re:menstruation” folks on this thread have apparently not come across is the evidence that increased numbers of menstrual cycles, due to not being pregnant several years out of our potential reproductive age as we have been through most of our species’ history, may increase the risk of cancers of the reproductive system.

    We evolved to be pregnant more of the time than we are, and less subject to the monthly hormonal changes that occur with menstruation. Hormonal birth control that prevents monthly periods may reduce that additional cancer risk.

    I couldn’t agree more that if we didn’t live in the P, the options out there for regulating fertility would place the onus on males as well as females, if not more, since their reproductive system is a bit simpler. Methods would be safer, cheaper, and more accessible.

    But we do live in the P, and women throughout the world are clamoring for Depo in particular, because it is quarterly, because they don’t have to hide pills from their partner or have their cooperation in any way, and because the very real alternative for them is death in childbirth–1000 women and girls die every day as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Check out White Ribbon Alliance, or again, Marie Stopes International.

    So I’m with those who say that the benefits to women and girls of hormonal, IUD, or women’s barrier methods outweigh the medical or environmental risks.

    I’m very sorry to hear about blamers’ bad experiences with birth control. I for one am looking forward to being done with all of that.

  162. Rididill

    Thanks Tinfoil, I probably should have anticipated an argument was perhaps not the best time to step in.

    @Triste
    Also to add, it’s quite easy to say some should suffer for the collective good when you’re all fine and dandy and you have no idea what that suffering is like. What I object to, is the mantra that women HAVE to be taking these things and the fact that the risks are minimized to the point of being pushed on you, and that some of the risks aren’t even known, and are not being looked for, because society has already accepted that it doesn’t matter if women are suffering for the sake of population control. Oh yeah, and I’m totally aware of the risks of unwanted pregnancy cos I HAD ONE FFS. I will defend to the death anyone’s right to abortion, but that doesn’t make abortions awesome.

    Having been upthread and tried to figure out what everyone’s beef with Hari is, I’m honestly still a bit confused. Ok, so maybe there was some bad wording here and there, but she has a point. I think it is fair to say we don’t fully know the risks because they are under-researched, and it is quite possible to not be aware even of the risks that are known.

    I know you Americans (assuming you are Americans that is) are coming from a very different standpoint. That you get so many arguments from the godbag right about how contraception is evil and women may not be sexual, etc., that obviously a crit of contraception sounds just too similar.

    I am coming from a very different standpoint – more like Yttik described, contraception and access to abortion are basically celebrated as the pinnacle of women’s liberation.

    Neither extreme is right. Both are oppressive. And no one here is trying to limit anyone’s access to anything, from what I’ve seen, just raise awareness about alternatives, about risks.

  163. pheeno

    Something enjoyable and relaxing doesn’t mean throw all caution to the wind all the time. I find a nice bath to be enjoyable and relaxing, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t slip and fall while bathing.

  164. Twisty

    Seems as good a time as any to trot out another of my favorite themes, which is: Sex? What’s the big whoop? A good sneeze is at least as pleasant as a flipping orgasm.

  165. Mildred

    @Rididill

    What you said about the IUD. It was like a light was just switched on for me. I should have listened to my body. I had such terrible depression with hormonal BC, once the depression persisted I just thought it was my personality. I knew it felt wrong… energy wise. The day I got it implanted I felt so much dread that doesn’t seem to have ever gone away. Dread and horror. And the persistent cramps! And the depression! And the taste of pennies in my mouth all the time! And the pain after pronging! I just learned to live with it all.
    I have no insurance so I’ve been googling how to remove it myself. I’m going to do some bathroom surgery in a bit. I had no idea there were other women who had the same experiences.

  166. tinfoil hattie

    Aaaah, twisty, you have your crap TV, I have my orgasms.

    Maybe they are the same thing?

  167. pheeno

    Tv lasts longer and isn’t as messy.

  168. Saurs

    Does sex need necessarily be orgasmic, though? I mean, dudes perceive sex to be the means to their own end, if you get what I’m saying, and while the female orgasm in particular and clitorides in general are regularly thwarted, ignored, written off, or otherwise neglected in a lot of heterosexual sex, defining sex as inherently or necessarily orgasmic, same as requiring that it be penetrative, strikes me as too big a concession to the P. I don’t need anybody else to have a fucking orgasm; whereas I do need other people around if I want to cuddle, kiss, stroke, fondle, squeeze, hump, suck, and so forth (and be cuddled, kissed, stroked, et al).

  169. stacey

    Aieeeee Mildred! Please be careful. PLZ! I want to say, wait until your period when your cervix is softer, but I don’t even know if that’s true. Aieee! Please let us know how it goes!

  170. Mildred

    I’m fine!!
    I’m on my period, it came out no problemo. I feel loads better like getting a rotten tooth out!

  171. Darragh Murphy

    Holy crap.

  172. Twisty

    Jezus, Mildred! Please keep us posted and shit. Jezus!

  173. Twisty

    Tinfoil, without being too blunt, there are orgasms, and then there are the pointless little twinges that happen instead of orgasms once you’ve had all your junk ripped out. More trouble than they’re worth.

  174. tinfoil hattie

    Aaaah. Gotcha, twisty. Just another thrilling side effect of cancer & treatment. I’m sorry for being flip.

  175. quixote

    Oh, hey, just saw your comment upthread, Mildred. Thank the Goddesses! Whew. All’s well that ends well.

  176. stacey

    yay! Mildred! Awesome self-surgery!

  177. stacey

    And yay to Rididill for sharing her gruesome details, without which Mildred wouldn’t have yarded out her own IUD! WOOHOO!

  178. Linda

    In case of any less-advanced or future blamers reading this – The Pill does not make PIV worry-free.

  179. Darragh Murphy

    “yarded out” – British idioms are fracken colorful.
    (Assuming it is British)

    Is it even possible to yard out your own iud?? I want to look it up on google but too afraid of the likely search results.

    Goodness, I hope all is well, Mildred!

  180. Ginjoint

    Oi, Mildred! You scared me! *relief*

    A good sneeze is at least as pleasant as a flipping orgasm

    A sneeze? Pish tosh. I’m not nearly as classy as you – for me, my happy
    “little death” occurs every morning after my cup of coffee, IF you know what I mean, AND I think you do. Well, I hope you do. If all goes well with the morning constitutional, why, my smile is bigger (and longer-lasting) than if I’d actually, *ahem*, arrived, as it were.

    Also – before I had my stones yanked, Jill, a friend warned me not to have the uterus pulled too, unless I really had to. She explained how much it’s involved with orgasm.(Dog knows none of the doctors ever said a damned thing about it. My oncologist said, “Why keep it? You’re not using it!” This said to my 40-year-old self, traumatized not only from treatment but also the fact that I wasn’t going to be having any kids. He straightened up real fast when I burst into tears.) So I kept it. I hope I don’t regret it. But you know what? The big O is not
    the same anymore, regardless.I find that I don’t need them as much anymore though, so there’s that.

    Now, after all this contraception and PIV talk, once again I say: Thank God I’m a lesbian, and I need a drink after all this angst. To the fridge! Bombay Sapphire awaits!

  181. qvaken

    Argh! I tuned in while eating lunch!

  182. Darragh Murphy

    Slainte, ginjoint.

  183. qvaken

    Make sure that you’re definitely fine, Mildred!

    Well, I’ve got everything perfectly intact – I just find men to be rather repellent right now because of how, you know, rapetastic they are.

    External stimulation all the way.

  184. stacey

    “Yarding” or “to yard” is a term I picked up from hubz, whose parents are English, but i don’t know if it’s necessarily regional. We use it for everything, from taking the eggs out of boiling water, to getting the kid out of the bath. Strange expressions abound from my in-laws, such as when my father-i-l had to get his prostate “reamed out.”

  185. Nolabelfits

    Regarding those pointless little twinges of which Twisty speaks-thats all I’ve got anymore and I have had no junk ripped out. I blame menopause. So I would like to ask any blamers who are all finished with this process if orgasms will return to their former glory? Internet research is inconclusive!

  186. tinfoil hattie

    Nolabenefits: Vibrators. Maybe not former glory, but it’s hard to tell.

    Also, Mildred: I know a woman who accidentally pulled out her IUD, forgetting what it was and wondering what was in her vagina. She’s still alive.

  187. Triste

    Since we’ve apparently changed the subject – orgasms are pretty great for me. I’ve never felt the particular need to get another person involved in order to experience that greatness, though. But I’m hesitant to apply my experience to others, what with me not being in their heads and all.

    It’s pretty fucking obnoxious what women who want partner sex have to go through.

  188. rootlesscosmo

    @qvaken: she fell pregnant and chose to keep the baby and sought child support from her partner, and then he was fighting that in the courts on the moral grounds that he was having sex in good faith that he wouldn’t wind up with a child from it.

    Right, his state of mind at the moment of conception absolutely relieves him of responsibility for the human being that resulted. A familiar whine in the family court, which California law, at least as written, disregards.

  189. naomi

    She should try getting him to pay for everything the child ever needs, plus looking after it every day (or paying her a living wage to do so if they prefer it that way round). Why? By the same token that he is using, of course! She was having sex in good faith that he wouldn’t wind up with a child from it!

  190. Naomi

    Sorry, I meant She was having sex in good faith that she wouldn’t wind up with a child from it!

  191. Linda

    Nolabelfits: I am post-menopausal and orgasms are still great, no change. Sorry. Wish I could ditch the hot flushes though. Yeah, they’re called flushes, not flashes as so many seem to think.

  192. qvaken

    rootlesscosmo and naomi: Well, his whinefest was really over the fact that she chose not to have an abortion. So women are either to suffer from compulsory pregnancy or compulsory uterine surgery – it just depends on what her master decides is best for himself. Whoo! Progress!

  193. buttercup

    Linda, speak for yourself. Mine are called Hot WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT NOW.

  194. Twisty

    Well, I call’em “flashes,” and I oughta know what the fuck they are, on accounta I have about 27 of’em every goddam day, and I don’t get “flushed” from’em, I just get suicidal, for about 96 seconds. That may not sound like much but when you multiply it by 27 it’s a goodly chunk of the day spent in utter despair. I would give up all of my horses and most of my dogs to be rid of these fucking things.

  195. Linda

    Well obviously I know what the fuck they are too or I wouldn’t have said it. I think the “flash” thing is one of those american mutations of a word, like ass instead of arse.

  196. Lidon

    Don’t all languages/countries “mutate” words in some way or another? Who cares? Back to orgasms and morning constitutions, please. Ginjoint, I know what you mean! The morning ones are the best.

  197. stacey

    It’s not so much the fla/flushes, it’s the CONSTANT ELEVATED BODY TEMPERATURE that allows me to traipse about in (admittedly) Vancouver winter with a t-shirt and no coat.

    Why doesn’t the new template let the browser set cookies for the login? /firstworldproblems

  198. Lidon

    So there is a benefit to hot flashes! I can’t wait to get mine. I’ll probably burst like a volcano.

  199. Mildred

    IUD UPDATE:

    I just assumed living with a constant dread and doom were normal for my mind because I wasn’t on any hormonal birth control.
    “I feel so much better now” does not cover it.

  200. stacey

    I’m so glad for you, Mildred. :)

  201. Rididill

    @Mildred

    OH MY GAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWD! That is amazing. I am so, so glad for you. I haven’t been back to this thread for ages because was busy and then forgot what thread it was.

    Yeah I totally could not believe it, I had never heard about this from anybody either. It was pure coincidence in the end that I got it out, because I had some bacteria that could have caused a nasty infection, which is why I started thinking about getting it out. Then I started to search the net about side effects from it and I found out other women had had this experience, and I thought maybe this will solve the other problems as well. Mind you, there isn’t much out there.

    Yes, the dread is the worst! Isn’t it incredible? I also thought, because I was no longer on hormones, that it must be just my personality. The problem was, I was in such a bad state already when I had it put in (right after an abortion) that I didn’t notice the extra dread and doom, though I did wonder why the hell it was going on for so long.

    Dread is really the only word to describe it – a constant sense of dread. Since I got rid of it I feel like a new person. It’s incredible. Apparently it’s to do with an imbalance between your zinc and copper levels – I’ve been taking zinc supplements since I had it out as well, I don’t know if that’s made any difference but anyway I feel great.

    The fatigue and depressed immune system seem have gone – that was really disabling me. It’s just indescribable. It’s like starting LIVING again. I can’t believe we could have gone so long without knowing this was causing it. How long did you have yours? I had mine 4 and half fucking years. I bet there are so many more women out there who have these symptoms and have literally no idea it could be caused by the IUD. We must spread the word!!!

    Best of luck to you in your new and improved IUD-free life!

  202. Lizz

    Gender recognition machines? Oh dear, I don’t like the sound of that (and being quite ‘butch’ looking I suspect it might mistake me for a man, which would be quite awkward). Having such a crude identification method also reinforces the false male-female gender binary thereby ignoring the Trans community. But then again, as a revolutionary socialist I think the entire premise of charity is bullshit way of capitalism trying to alleviate some if the suffering it causes (and failing). Just a couple of points regarding the thread posts:

    I think Hari had a good point and was quite clearly not arguing against free availability of contraceptives (albeit in a somewhat rude manner). She merely pointed out that there *may* be risks that we don’t know of. Shouting down anyone who doesn’t agree with you is exactly the type of behavior that the Patriarchy encourages. A genuinely feminist society will require that we actually listen to one another and discuss ideas in an open way; not just jump into attacking one another without listening.

    And on another point (because this really does need to be said) discussing the possibility that men could ever be raped is not derailing the discussion at all- rather it is addressing an extremely important point: that we must be logically consistent in our anti-rape beliefs.

    Mildred: “most guys would think ‘just avoid those women and I won’t get raped” – that’s not the point, since it isn’t the duty of potential rape victims to have to identify and avoid rapists. The real point is the fact that such incidents are very uncommon. If a guy who has actually been raped (i.e. not an MRA poseur) tries to talk about his experience with you then he’s not necessarily trying to ‘silence you’, they just don’t want you to deny their existence, so don’t make that assumption. Are the experiences of male and female rape victims different? Sure, maybe they are, but from what I’ve seen it is *not* easier for male victims. Many years ago my elder brother (who is heterosexual) was drug-raped by another man and he had a horrific time dealing with it. Most people were most certainly NOT supportive at all, and he only recently tried to report it to the police after years of me encouraging him to do so (though now I’m not so sure I should have since the first pig he spoke to laughed at him). I have met a few rape victims in my lifetime, but none were ever treated with the sheer contempt that my brother received (thanks to patriarchal views of victims and masculinity).

    Naomi – no its not impossible “to get P into a V when it doesn’t wanna go in”. Getting an erection does not equal consent and can be an involuntary bodily response. The biological response of your reproductive organs is not an indicator of your consent. Take this line of thought to its logical conclusion and you could argue that if a female rape victim’s vagina became moist during rape then that means she actually “wanted it”. It is vital that we avoid all such pro-rape attitudes, along with any other rape-apologist lines of thought.

    The reason that we do not (and should not) talk about male rape victims in our politics is because they are statistically minute, not because we believe that their suffering is invalid or that they ‘weren’t really raped’. The reason that rape is not a men’s issue is because men don’t realistically have to live in fear of such sexual violence, whereas women do (and not because those few men who are raped somehow deserved it since the perpetrator was also male). If you were to ever encounter a male victim, then you would owe them all the same compassion and solidarity that you would grant to a female victim. The point is that you just probably won’t meet many male rape victims.

    (Sorry for the length).

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