Feb 18 2014

Pussy Riot: an exercise in jaundiced scrutiny for the patriarchy blamer

Pussy Riot. cc Denis Bochkarev

Pussy Riot. cc Denis Bochkarev

We’re glad that the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot have been sprung from the stony lonesome, but now that they’re all up in the news again (most recently they were arrested — and subsequently released — for walking down the street in Sochi) I’d like to gently remind the patriarchy blamer of the possibility that they are not quite what they seem.

Here’s the 2012 post I wrote about the hidden dudely porntastic agenda behind Pussy Riot, and here’s the source material for that post.

The gist: whenever there’s wild mainstream interest in a supposedly radical feminist cause — particularly when the interest takes the shape of unbridled support — it behooves the patriarchy blamer to apply a bit of jaundiced scrutiny. This is because the media rarely support any feminist cause that doesn’t, at its core, primarily promote the interests of dudes.

Jaundiced scrutiny is the cornerstone of patriarchy blaming.

At the very least, can we please stop ignoring that the band name is Pussy Riot, for chrissake? Madonna — let’s face it, she’s not always the most reliable source for solid feminist analysis — thinks it’s awesome that they’ve made the word pussy “sayable” in her home. But one might, and I do, argue that pussy is a porn word, a dude word, a demeaning, reductionist slur. Salivating news dudes really dig saying it over and over on TV, so clearly it has worked as far as hooking Western media. Savvy marketing no doubt, but it’s pretty disappointingly enstinkened by pornulated sell-out (see the afore-linked 2012 posts, above).

Because liberal media is controlled by dudes, and because most of the Googleable primary source material is in Russian, it’s difficult for the non-Russian speaker to tease out what is actually going on, feministically speaking, with Nadezha Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina. Their general anti-Putin message is certainly beloved of the dudely West, and they are always characterized as feminists, but media don’t ever seem to report on what, if any, specifically feminist activism they’ve got goin’ on. What we know is this: since getting out of jail and rising to international prominence they’ve been kicked out of Pussy Riot (for straying from the “ideals of [the] group — feminism, separatist resistance, fight against authoritarianism and personality cult”). However, the pair appear not to have accepted their involuntary resignation; Time magazine reports that they “stole the show” from Madonna last week by reading protest statements at an Amnesty International fundraiser in Brooklyn before biffing back to Russia to get arrested at the Olympics. Which event coincided nicely with the publication of a new Pussy Riot biography.

So, to recap: Their creepy knitted balaclavas are kind of cool. And yay, they’re out of jail. But what the heck do they actually stand for?

It cannot be denied that, whatever their agenda, they are extremely courageous women. Yet I can’t help wondering if English-speaking news outlets would have been so enamored of them if their band name had been Vulva Riot.

Feb 17 2014

Hail to the P

Here at the bunkhouse we recently had the opportunity to curl several jaundiced lips at another commercial for a femininity-compliance product. The product was Summer’s Eve Cleansing Wash.

Summer’s Eve Cleansing Wash is a chemical detergent intended to scour the offensive, disgusting filth off your nasty vulva, a body part that nowadays — in an apparent campaign to permanently blow my lobe — is always and inexplicably referred to as a “vagina.” That is, unless you’re Summer’s Eve, which reduces both women and their vulvae to a thing they simply call “the V.”

“Hail to the V” is the slogan. Hail to the V? I have complained about this before (clearly to no avail); Summer’s Eve is a repeat offender. Back in 2011, their vulva detergent mascot was a talking hand — a spokesfist if you will — contorted into a suggestively vulva-like pose. The spokesfist urged women to take the “V 101 Quiz,” and then hail their “V”, and then prove their commitment to V-hailing by purchasing the Fleet Laboratories line of perfumed twat surfactants, the better to sandblast that nasty thang with some femininity-compliant consumerism. The Summer’s Eve position is that women require toxicant-infused products before they can sufficiently “love their V.”

On the notion of “loving” one’s “V” I have only this to say: picture a commercial for a product called Mystic Garden Lemon-Fresh Dick Polish where a dude in a towel caresses his own shoulder and is enjoined to Love his P.

Back to the commercial: a husband accidentally showers with Summer’s Eve V-Hailing Potion, then spends the rest of the day in a comic effort to keep the lady “V”-cooties off him by pulling cars with his teeth, mowing the yard, and chopping wood.

[An alternate interpretation is that he knows that shit’s full of toxins and is just trying to get the house in order before he succumbs to a fatal overdose of methylchloroisothiazolinone.]

Anyway, as he flops on the couch crushing a beer can, his sardonic better half says, “that was close!” He’d almost turned into a fucken V from using that detergent!

Well, you just want to hand that wife three things: 1) a radical feminist consciousness-raising pamphlet outlining the 437 ways in which she would be better off not being married to a fucking idiot gynophobe, 2) a ticket to Savage Death Island, and 3) a margarita.

But I digress.

I assert that this commercial appeals to women because it validates their secret observation that men perceive (and rightly so) femininity to be degrading. But uh-oh, it simultaneously feeds women’s self-doubt and anxiety about stinky genitals, and suggests that they themselves ought to engage in the very femininity ritual that their dude wouldn’t be caught dead doing: the purchase and application of vulva-specific solvents and perfumes to aid in their ceaseless efforts to conform to strictly defined gender roles.

Or maybe I’m overthinkin’ it and, as Rebecca Cullers remarks in AdWeek, the commercial succeeds simply because everyone can agree on the premise that “guys are dumb.” In TV commercials there is no shortage of smart, Beauty2K-compliant women characters who are inexplicably and heteronormatively attached to horrible dudes.

In an act of wild surmise, one might hypothesize thusly: advertising agencies have determined that actual women, who buy most of the crap advertised on television, identify in droves with these pretty, virtuous characters who slog through life mopping up one buffoony husband’s blender explosion after another, even as they hold down two jobs, raise the kids, and strive to achieve “glowing” skin. Why would actual hordes of women identify thusly unless they were, as a class, disproportionately stuck in relationships with morons?

Marriage is an outdated, misogynist, and unfeasible institution. More on that later.

Feb 16 2014

Spleenvent Sunday: South Austin graffiti edition

Aloha, blamers! It’s Spleenvent Sunday, so this here’s your weekly open thread.

Today’s photo: charming graffiti on South Lamar next to Lulu B’s Vietnamese sandwich trailer. I am so pleased to have documented this priceless artwork when I did, because the last time I drove by it had been painted over with the letters “FAGS.” South Austin, it’s a real hotbed of progressive thought.

[For some unknown reason Flickr now lets you scroll through my whole photostream from a single embedded photo, so if you mouse over and click the right arrow a couple times you can see a picture of my fat dirty horse Pearl at dawn.]

Housekeeping note: you will be jazzed as heck to hear that I have finally slogged through the ginormous backlog of unmoderated comments that had accumulated during my recent 4-month hiatus. If you submitted one, and it was not written from the point of view of a dude (see below), and it didn’t insult anyone too much, and it wasn’t longer than a couple of biting paragraphs, you will find that it has been published at last and your eternal happiness has therefore been assured.

And I know you will enjoy the following pithy observations from the reject pile as much as I did:

“True feminism comes from Allah, who has assigned men and women each to their proper roles and stations, and made the former larger than the other as a symbol of his dominion over the weaker sex.”

Awesome, dude! Thanks to your thoughtful comment redefining misogyny as feminism, now I know my proper station, but why do you suppose Allah made me larger than a shit-ton of dudes?

“to all radical feminists: the men who you hate so will never respect you if you keep calling yourselves radical feminists. you will never win. as a man, the message I see here is one of female dominance rather than equality for all.”

Say, that’s what feminism needs: more misogynist dudes who have no idea what feminism even is and think I care if they “respect” me! Why didn’t I think of that?

“Right now, a sandwich is not being made. Maybe if you “ladies” put as much time into ironing as you do whining you could find a man.”

Oh snap! Good one, Oscar Wilde!

Feb 16 2014

French feminist regenderization film de la semaine

Rape-is-normal is the predominant message received by any woman who spends any time at all either online or living, you know, anywhere. Which is why feminists of a certain stripe have been known, from time to time, to fantasize that if men could experience harassment on the International Female Scale (i.e., incessant, daily, and potentially life-threatening), if only for a little while, they might have a bit more compassion for the revolution. Instead of being all “rape is fucking hilarious” and shit:

Collect'em all!

Collect’em all!

But I digress.

This week’s film presents the sexual assault from the point of view of a male victim in a woman-controlled world (the violence isn’t explicit, but it’s explicitly implied, so it could be a little triggery). Proclaimed by the Guardian as having gone viral in less than a week, “Oppressed Majority” is 10-minute film by Eleonore Pourriat that portrays a day in the life of a white dude living in an oppressive matriarchy. We watch his personal sovereignty erode away little by little as he gets condescended to by a neighbor woman, patronized by a sweaty close-talking bare-chested woman jogger, wolf-whistled, harassed with obscenities at a stoplight, assaulted at knifepoint by a gang of lady thugs (who bite his dick!), mocked by a woman cop at the station house, and accused of asking for it by his unsympathetic successful businessman wife. There’s also a scene where he attempts, white-feminist-style, to hip his servile male child-care worker to the fact that he shouldn’t let his wife force him to wear a burka.

There are worse ways to spend five minutes than to ponder how Pourriat’s violent dystopia, in which the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women are regendered and perpetrated against a hapless dude, at first reads like an absurd fiction. You just can’t conceive of a social order where dudes are required to cover their entire bodies in a sack or are chased down the street by gangs of white chicks threatening to bite their dicks off. Then, because you’re no deluded dishrag, it registers that this absurd, violent dystopia is not only real, it is your normal life. Yick.

As women we tend to brush off our daily doses of sexism and harassment, rationalizing them as no big whoop, or just another little annoyance, or the cost of doing business. We’ve all internalized these hatey, rapey messages and, weighing the possible repercussions against personal autonomy, often decide that we have no choice but to suffer in silence. But a little regendering, like in this film, can be illuminating and inspiring, even if you’re a jaundiced old professional patriarchy-blamer trained to spot daily misogynies hiding in plain sight.

T-shirt photo via Huffington Post


Feb 14 2014

A gal can have facets

Wendy Davis, as Time magazine has said, is no Ann Richards. Well, duh. As surprising as this may be, it’s not the 90s anymore, either.

[My close personal Twitter friend George Takei tweeted this recently:



Seriously, what’s with the incessant comparisons of Davis to Ann Richards? [And they are incessant; try searching Ann Richards at the Huffington Post, for example, and you’ll get a buttload of Wendy Davis results.] Is it because they’re both Democrats? Maybe a little, but the vast majority of former Texas governors were Democrats, and you don’t see anyone comparing her to, like, Dolph Briscoe. Nah, it’s because women are a totally alien species, and can’t be compared to men, only to each other, vadge to vadge. Texas has had only two woman governors (out of a total of 47), and the first one, Ma Ferguson, is a largely forgotten snippet of Depression-era trivia. Therefore, modern Texans know only one sort of woman governor, and she’s a wisecracking charismatic grandma who doesn’t wear pink track shoes.

Ann Richards used to follow me everywhere. Las Manitas, Austin TX, 2004.

Ann Richards used to follow me everywhere. Las Manitas, Austin TX, 2004.

You know, Wendy Davis may be no Ann Richards, but sometimes even Ann Richards was no Ann Richards. To wit: she was a fellow film buff, and an ERA supporter, and more or less a big ole feminist, but in 1993, Richards experienced a problematic brain fart and actually signed into law a bill that criminalized homosexuality. Noooooo!

Not too similarly, Wendy Davis is now coming out kinda-sorta in support of a 20-week abortion ban AND an open carry gun law. Noooooo!

There’s context, though. Richards had been vocal about getting rid of the sodomy law, but alas, was compelled by circumstance to sign the bill anyway. Yeah, she could have vetoed it, but doing so would merely have left the original sodomy law on the books, and would have lost ground in other areas into the bargain. Her modern detractors accuse her of having thrown gay rights under the bus because she was somehow cowardly. While no one would argue that it was her finest hour, I believe that otherwise her record vs. the good ole boys speaks for itself. She appointed openly gay people to her administration for crying out loud. As far as I know, no Texas governor has done that since.

This amorphous post, you will have cleverly perceived, has no point. Before I got sidetracked by a nostalgic Ann Richards reverie, I had originally intended to show that Davis is plenty Richardsesque e.g her gutsy stand against the restrictive abortion bill she filibustered, whereas Richards herself was not always as Richardsy as one might like in that she never officially lobbied for gay rights. I was going to call this post “A gal can have facets!” I was then going to segue into an examination of the language Davis employed in her recent, so-called “flip-flopping” 20-week abortion ban remarks, and use them as a springboard for a big old rant. Quoth Davis:

My concern, even in the way the 20-week ban was written in this particular bill, was that it didn’t give enough deference between a woman and her doctor making this difficult decision, and instead tried to legislatively define what it was,” Davis said. […] “It was the least objectionable…I would have and could have voted to allow that to go through, if I felt like we had tightly defined the ability for a woman and a doctor to be making this decision together and not have the Legislature get too deep in the weeds of how we would describe when that was appropriate. [Dallas Morning News]

I’ll spare you the usual long-winded gasbaggery. Here’s the gist, beginning with the language pro-choice folks always use when trying to mollify the hatas:

The decision should be between a woman and her doctor.

This dainty phrase makes the lobe throb. The infuriating implication, obviously, is that a pore dumb lady couldn’t possibly be trusted to decide all by herself whether her personal person should be used as a host for a parasitic growth. It infantilizes the woman and cedes her agency to a second party.

Look, a pregnant woman should be able to get a pregnancy terminated as she, and she alone, sees fit, without a state inspection of her motives, period. It isn’t too likely that hordes of lusty wantons are foaming at the mouth to line up at the clinic for a last-minute abortion because it’s their idea of a good old time, but even if it were, so the fuck what? It’s a woman’s personal uterus. Will she regret it later? Maybe yes and maybe no, but again, so the fuck what? It’s her personal uterus.

The “difficult decision”-making process should not have to involve some hired, second-party stranger. Neither should a woman’s interaction with the medical establishment have to be any more detailed than with any other contractor. “Here’s my insurance card. Kindly remove this growth at once, and don’t be stingy with the pain meds.”

Personal sovereignty is not a medical issue.

Vote for Davis anyway!

Feb 07 2014

Reality TV star slips off rope

The Savage Death heart bleeds for Rachel Frederickson, whose name was all over our news feed yesterday morning. I allude to the winning contestant on a TV reality show called The Biggest Loser.

The Biggest Loser is a weight loss competition.* You heard me right. Competitive weight loss is apparently a spectator sport now, because what could be more entertaining than watching a bunch of out-of-shape women with low self-esteem weeping in agony on an exercycle? So there’s that.

I was only able to watch about 6 minutes of this show before drifting off into a quiet reverie about nachos and world peace, but from what I recall, this is the set-up: contestants work out with hard-ass celebrity trainers at a “secluded ranch” for a number of months. They start out unfit and full of self-loathing, they end up buff and Beauty2K-compliant. Each week they compete in weight loss challenges. At the end of every episode there is a melodramatic public weigh-in, the numbers writ large on the screen. The contestant who has lost the least weight gets kicked off the ranch; screw you, ya lazy slob! Footage is edited for maximum schmaltz and pathos. Cast members intone scripted platitudes like “I believe in myself,” and “It’s been a healing journey” and “I’ve found who I am” and (my favorite) “I’ve revealed the heart of a warrior inside me.” In short, this is the most boring TV show ever made.

Or possibly — aside from Animal Hoarders — the most depressing, because, again: They’re vying for the title of “loser.” The winning loser gets a quarter of a million bucks. She is rewarded with fame and fortune for diminishing her physical self.

But, as we saw yesterday, if the winner doesn’t diminish herself precisely within certain unwritten and ever-changing parameters, she gets publicly shamed. The reason Frederickson was all over the internet (they were even yakking about it on NPR) is that at the big season finale reveal she shocked viewers by being way skinnier than the last time she’d weighed in. Whereupon it was universally adjudged by social media surveillors that she’d “gone too far.” Twitter, that preeminent medical authority, diagnosed her as anorexic. According to viewers, she’d become “unhealthy.” Which is, you know, criminal.

This poor woman, who had been so horrified by her own body that she erased fully 60% of it in pursuit of public redemption, instead became the recipient of a public excoriation. Like every other member of the sex class since the dawn of time, she’d somehow got it wrong. She’d slipped off the rope.

I allude to the impossible femininity tightrope upon which all women are constrained to do the butt-dance 24/7. We are required to demonstrate our degree of patriarchy-compliance through our constant struggle for the feminine ideal. Every facet of our behavior must be balanced just so. We can’t be dumb, but neither can we be intellectuals. We have to be sexy, but we can’t be slutty. We have to be child-like, but we have to raise children. We should be fun, but we can’t seem easy. We have to be demure, but not frigid (i.e. we can’t say yes, but we can’t say no). We have to obsess about our appearance, but we have to make it look like we don’t, lest we seem vain or crazy or pathetic.

The joke’s on us, though. The sweet spot, where all these stupid attributes intersect at some apex of feminine perfection, it doesn’t exist! The standards change from one minute to the next. The struggle is merely a diversion, imposed by the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women, the better to keep us under control.

As Biggest Loser Rachel Frederickson can no doubt attest, the struggle for femininity entails, among all these other self-destructive practices, a perpetual anxiety over body weight. We can’t be too fat because it’s “unhealthy,” and we can’t be too thin because that’s unhealthy too.

Note that in our enpornulated, fat-averse culture, “unhealthy” is merely a passive-aggressive, concern-troll way of saying “insufficiently fuckable.”

A woman’s Prime Directive is to endeavor at all times and at all costs to maintain fuckability.** Fuckability, as we have seen, is achieved through the performance of femininity. It’s all that really matters. Whether a woman is truly healthy is of no real concern to anyone. If society really gave a crap about women’s health, it would abolish femininity tootsweet. Femininity kills!

These fans of The Biggest Loser who are shaming Frederickson for what they perceive to be a fatal breach of health etiquette, if they really gave a crap about her health, why would they vilify her? If, as they believe, she is in some way “unhealthy,” she’s still a human being, and all human beings deserve compassion. But they don’t care about her health. They’re merely incensed that she made herself less fuckable.


* The actual point of the show is to sell Biggest Loser fitness DVDs, Biggest Loser Resort Fitness Vacations (sponsored by Sunkist), Biggest Loser Bootcamp 8-week programs, Biggest Loser Cuisine (slogan “It’s Easy To Be Good”) available at a Costco near you, and a buttload of other weight loss products.

** Once a woman ages out of fuckability, her job shifts; she must now try to be as invisible as possible, to quit cluttering up the landscape with her dessicated old uselessness


Feb 05 2014

Actual comedy

Even if you’ve seen Tig Notaro’s Taylor Dayne bit, you need to see it again. No question.

Feb 04 2014

Fuck Jerry Seinfeld, too.

My sibling Tidy is a big old Seinfeld fan. A few months ago she pestered me into watching a few episodes of his web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” In this series, Seinfeld drives a guest comedian out for coffee. It is as boring as it sounds.

Right off the bat I wasn’t feelin it on accounta the first 28 minutes or so of each episode is Jerry going off about the awesomeness of the zillion-dollar classic car he’s driving. It’s a different car every time. He babbles on and on about the gold-plated twin axlerods and the triple McSorley gasket-valve sump-plugs in his one-of-a-kind 1962 Jagoffi 1000 SUX. This makes him sound like a total asshole.

Then it’s on to the product placement. He’s shilling for a car manufacturer, apparently. Hey, check out this new Acura! That’s a damn fine sedan!

Then he drives the 1962 Jagoffi 1000 SUX over to pick up some white dude — Jay Leno or Louis CK — and they go to some restaurant and have a carefully edited extempore conversation, after noticing the awesome Acura parked right out front.

I am an advanced patriarchy blamer, so I divined pretty quick that, except for inveterate misogynist Chris Rock and fart-jokist Sarah Silverman, the guest comedians in cars getting coffee are all white dudes. All this whitedudeitude rang a bell, so I cast my mind back through the mists of time, to the popular 90s sitcom that put Seinfeld in a position to afford all those 1962 Jagoffis. Every episode, I recalled, was dripping, not just with regular misogyny, but with really mean-spirited misogyny. And the only black character was the buffoonish lawyer Jackie Chiles.

I perceived a sexist, honky-centric trend. I was not alone, it turns out. “What’s the deal with your apparent disregard for diversity, Jerry?” somebody on TV asked him yesterday. Here is how Seinfeld responded:

“People think it’s the census or something,” Seinfeld said of the assertion that all pop culture should accurately reflect society. “This has gotta represent the actual pie chart of America? Who cares? Funny is the world that I live in. You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that.

Seinfeld went on to say that approaching comedy through the lens of race or gender or sexuality are [sic] “anti-comedy.” “It’s more about PC nonsense than ‘Are you making us laugh or not?’” he said.”

OK, look. When rich white dude comedians “have no interest in gender or race or anything like that,” what they’re really saying is that they’re assholes. Their rich white dudeliness permits them to ignore their own participation in oppression so they can continue to cash in. Seinfeld seems to think that, in his “funny world” where jokes about dating virgins and deporting immigrants are hi-fucking-larious, race and gender are antithetical to comedy.

But he is deluded; what is actually antithetical to comedy is being a rich white dude. Only dickheads make fun of the oppressed, and when you’re wealthy and powerful, pretty much everybody is more oppressed than you are. This shrinks up the joke-butt pool pretty quick. When you’re on top of the world, who or what are you gonna make fun of without coming off as a complete tool? Will you complain about the food in first class? Will you put a bumper sticker on your Ferrari that says “My Other Car Is A Rolls”? You can always say something mean about Kim Kardashian or Honey Boo-Boo I guess; enpornulated women and hillbillies are always fair game, right?

So. Aside from Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman, apparently nobody on the planet except a lot of white guys is funny enough to sell Acuras with washed-up ham Jerry Seinfeld in a Jagoffi.

What a dick.

Feb 03 2014

Spleenvent Sunday (a day late): Anti-Pantyites Unite!

My New Year Resolution was “blog, ya twit!” Consequently, I’m making a smallish bit of an effort to get up offa that thang and resume scribbling, with increased frequency, the odd trenchant remark and/or pithy observation on Our Busy Sexist Society. For example, many blamers appear to share my aversion to the word “panties.” This is important work that I do!

Of course, I’m already a failure in the daily blogging department. I forgot to write a post yesterday and I don’t have time to write one today. I guess we might as well have a Spleenvent. By which I mean “open thread.”

Go ahead. Blurt it.

I’ll start:

Fuck Woody Allen. I have never understood, ever in my entire life, why everybody is so fucking in love with Woody fucking Allen. Oh yes, I used to pretend to love him back in my pre-Savage Death Island funfeminist poseur days. I’ve seen most of his movies up to the 90′s, and I’m here to tell you: the dude is a pig of the first water. I wish I could un-see them.

So I was pissed off and saddened — but not, alas, surprised — when I read his daughter Dylan Farrow’s open letter outing him as an abuser and calling out the complicit silence of his fawning Hollywood collaborators. Like blamer Josquin said in yesterday’s comments, I totally believe her.

Feb 01 2014

“That can’t be sexual assault because it’s normal”

When I started I Blame the Patriarchy back in 2004, the idea was that I would out the gazillions of secret little misogynies hiding in plain sight in every woman’s life, and that, once revealed, they would all wither and die under the burning light of scrutiny, and women everywhere would be free at last.

Well, you can see for yourself how that turned out.

Fortunately, Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project is having somewhat more success. She’s one of our favorite young feminist activists here at Spinster HQ. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out her TED talk on the origins of the project. She discusses debunking the liberaldude myth that “women are equal now more or less,” the torrential outpouring of rape threats she received as a result, how the project eventually began to inspire women to stand up to harassment, and how it led to real social change. A tear of inspirationalized joy will spring to your jaundiced eye.

Speaking of Laura Bates and online abuse, what gives with these “Spotted” Facebook pages about which Bates writes in the Guardian? Since Facebook suspended my account over a year ago (“Twisty Faster,” they cleverly figured out, is not my real name), and since I haven’t been a college student since the 80s, I have been pleasantly out of touch with the latest FB youth culture trends. This one sounds pretty ghastly:

“To the dirty skank… for gods sake buy some new leggings!! jesus christ! i can see your minge!” [sic] – ‘Spotted: Swansea University Campus’ (2407 likes).

These are the kind of comments that proliferate on university “Spotted” pages – Facebook pages encouraging students to write in with comments and messages about their peers, which are published anonymously by page administrators. […] Many of the pages veer into heavily sexualised and offensive comments about students’ appearance and sexuality, and female students are targeted with particularly misogynistic comments.

?“To the stuck up slut who looked at me as if I’d just slipped a finger up her grandma…” –‘Spotted: University of Portsmouth Library’ (7460 likes).

Some posts include images, seemingly uploaded without the subjects’ knowledge or consent. A current post on the ‘Spotted: University of Essex’ page (3955 likes) shows a young woman sitting at a computer, apparently unaware of the fact that her underwear is exposed above the waistband of her trousers, or of the fact that she is being photographed from behind. The caption on the photograph reads: “Nice bit a crack in the reading room.” [sic]

As a middle-aged crone who used to write English papers on a Smith-Corona, I have a hard time imagining how the modern woman of tender years manages to navigate the hostile waters of this ceaseless, judgey, hateful peer surveillance. The creep factor is off the charts.

I’m not saying this kind of thing didn’t have non-digital analogs back in the day. In high school and at college I was abused, mocked, and harassed like every other girl trying to mind her own beeswax. But nowadays the size of the audience, and the potential horror, is orders of magnitude more ginormous. When some asshole groped me at a frat party in 1977, maybe he told 5 of his idiot friends, but it was inconceivable that 7460 spiteful strangers would ever see a photo of my butt — complete with disparaging commentary — and “like” it.

My nieces are 8 and 10. I want to roll them up in bubble wrap. The thought of some cretinous teen jagoff posting stealth-shots of them on Facebook makes my lobe boil.

Since men perpetually insist that boys will be boys and are hardwired to engage in criminal behavior, the apparent solution would be to ship them all off to a charm school planet— or prison — until they turn 40 or so. The prison planet would have all the amenities, except no internet connection. Can you imagine an internet with no dudes? I can’t! The notion that I could go a whole day without receiving a rape threat, or a description of my physical hideousness, melts my processors. So far today I’ve gotten 3 harassing comminiques, like this one:

This is so funny. Ya’ll beardy bitches or what? :-)?Anyway, keep that dried up old prune of a pussy.

And 2 mansplains, like this one:

As a philosopher, I find the foundational roots of patriarchy theory to be severely lacking and the oppressor-oppressed dialectic to be far too simple a model to apply to such a complex issue, especially in creating essentially a warring chasm between the sexes – psychologically damaging to say the very least! There needs to be a transcendency [sic] of the Marxist dialectic here and an understanding of a rather different hierarchy – hierarchies that are immediately present as a result of the human condition and the social fabric of existence, if you will. I very much contest the notions of power and liberation in the feminist movement – power is a measure of control over one’s own life, and their ascendency towards self-actualization (and accountability also, I would argue), rather than an exertion of will over other people, in for example, the corporate or governmental spheres (with the employer-employed relationship or the Hegelian master-slave dialectic) [... 5 long paragraphs about Heidegger and "dialectics" and of course postmodernism, and finally an apology if he's coming off as too aggressive, but he has his own model of Western feminism blah blah blah ...]

And it’s only 8:00 AM.

I know it’s wrong, but I want to punch that “philospher” in the neck even more than I do the 4chan dickhead.

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