Sep 30 2013

This is just gross

This post concerns an article on a blow job school in Moscow. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here’s the executive summary:

Eeew.

[End of summary]

And here is a link to the final chapter in the Great Fellatio Wars of Aught-Six, which is where we left off.

Before we begin, a brief review of what we here on Savage Death Island like to call the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women, or, as others might put it, the Crappy Implications of Patriarchy:

The Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women are that set of customs, institutions, behaviors, laws, taboos, and traditions by which women as a class are demarcated as sex receptacles. The accords spring from the core belief that women are essentially indistinct from sex. From that core belief emanate the various provisions justifying — to name but a few — compulsory femininity, marriage, rape, discrimination, street harassment, prostitution, pornography, anti-abortion legislation, and domestic violence.

For example, compelling this woman to die in childbirth was considered fair use by doctors in an Irish hospital in October of last year.

Here’s another preface: it is the duty of a spinster aunt to critique culturally-mandated practices that have obvious political implications for the sex class and its struggle for solidarity and liberation. But I hasten to add that you’re an adult, and insofar as women have rights in this world, you have as much a right as anyone to voluntarily permit whatever you want to be stuffed into your mouth. I do not judge you.

Although, eeew.

Because, as a result of fair use doctrines — and I’m sorry, but there’s just no getting around this — penetration of any description is dominance on some level. But penetration of a person’s face? In this society? That’s disdain cranked up to 11.*

Which brings me to the blow job school.

Omitting the many, many photos of young Russian women lined up kneeling at a creepy dildo-encrusted mirror-wall, practicing the art of dick-sucking under the watchful eye of their sexpert instructor, here is the text of the post:

Men are usually gentleman enough and would never admit to their chosen ones if they are not exactly skilled in providing oral sex. Thankfully, everything can be learned. All interested Moscow ladies who are willing to set aside about 3,500 Russian rubles (about 85 euros / $113) have the unique opportunity to attend a course called “The Art of oral sex”.

During the course, they will get three and a half hours of intense training during which they will learn how to use lips and hands to bring their partner to ecstasy that they will never forget. Also, in this school is taught how to properly put a condom and other sexual skills, along with learning all of the “important spots” on the men’s and women’s bodies.

I wish I could say that I was surprised. I’m not, though, since I’m no stranger to the idea that the male orgasm is the single most important fucking thing on earth. Per the Global Accords, it’s a woman’s duty to subjugate herself to it in as degrading a manner as possible and call it “art.” Back in the olden days it used to be enough just to grit yer teeth and git’er done. But here in 2013, the sex stakes are at an all-time high. With the ubiquitous glistening pink pornographic standard dictating all of human sexuality, the pressure is on for women to not merely perform blow jobs, but to become professional dispensers of cutting-edge blow jobbery, experts at conveying that choking on a funk-filled bratwurst is the culmination of their life’s young dream.

Enter the blow job academy sexperts into the void between throbbing fake internet sex and regular, actual sex.

Here’s the thing: because of the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women, fabulous rewards, such as a gas station rose on Valentine’s Day, await those who perfect receptacling to the satisfaction of their sex consumer. Why shouldn’t women flock to a class that promises to teach’em how to excel at compliance, especially when there’s a chance at winning the approval of some dude? Take this sterling example of manly awesomeness from the comments section of the blow job school post, holding forth here on his reluctance to reciprocate:

My wife says she just needs to find a girlfriend so she can get some good action. My opinion is that positioning is more difficult for guys. A lot of way just seem hard on your neck. [sic]

Hard on his neck? The women in Moscow are expected to endure “three-and-a-half hours of intense training.” I hope the tuition fee includes transportation to the ER. Or at least a post-graduate chiropractic adjustment.

I have but one other bleak hope: that the classes at least impart the sort of blow job skillz that would obviate the dude’s compulsion to grab the woman’s head and cram it around like some kind of meaty tube sock. In a world where getting a dick in the mouth is a compulsory component of a straight girl’s sex duties, never having to endure that extra indignity might actually be worth it.

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* Whether, irrespective of the misogynist political context within which it is our misfortune to abide, the taint of degradation is inherent in sex itself is not the subject of this debate; the point is moot since no human interactions can currently exist outside the inherently degrading patriarchal paradigm.

Thanks to Lisa Downing for the link.

Sep 24 2013

“Rebranding” feminism for dudes “who care that there are two genders”

Have you heard about this “rebranding feminism” contest?

I know, right? Again with the rebranding of feminism. Every so often there emerges from the fetid mists some chumpass jacknut who would take a crap on feminism by coopting it as a gimmick to help hawk thigh cream and tampons. The target? Women who sense deep down that regular feminism is a pretty good idea, but who are reluctant to admit it publicly because of the 2nd-wave taint that makes dudes hate feminists. All efforts to “rebrand” feminism involve making it more palatable to dudes. This is accomplished by repudiating feminism’s rejection of femininity.

For those who may be just joining us, allow me to reiterate that femininity is not, as women are pressured to believe, an inherited trait. It is a set of infantilizing and dude-appeasing behaviors that women are required to perform in order to designate us as members of the sex class, signal our sexual availability, and convey our degree of compliance with the patriarchal mandate.

All efforts to “rebrand” feminism involve reinstating femininity as the essential ingredient of womanly contentment.

Feminism, for example, got “rebranded” by the UK Times back in 2008 (sadly, the link is now broken and search is stuck behind a paywall, but I wrote about it here), wherein “new” feminists reassured an anxious public that the humorless hairy dykes’ reign of terror was over, and yes, you can now wear lipstick and be a feminist.

A more recent iteration of the phenomenon first blipped on the Patriarch-O-Meter a couple of days ago in the shape of some lip-curling tweets: Bitch Mag was asking what everyone thought about rebranding feminism. Not realizing that this was a reference to an organized marketing scheme newly dreamed up by some crapulent capitalist entity, I said, sure, why not? Why not rebrand feminism, if “rebranding” entails restoring it from Zooey Deschanel Mode back to the struggle for women’s liberation from patriarchal oppression? High time, too.

By “Zooey Deschanel Mode” I meant, of course, feminism’s current “brand”: a consumer-driven collection of dude-appeasing lifestyle behaviors, the flagship cause of which is the empowerful modern girl’s inalienable right to choose feminine choices. No matter what choices are chosen, choice-choosing feminism insists that its practitioners abide in a critique-free zone, immune to the jaundiced scrutiny of the humorless, hairy women’s studies cabal. Any less-than-enthusiastic analysis of the choice-choosing lifestyle is tantamount to misogyny, because they’re women, aren’t they? And they’re choosing choices, aren’t they? Isn’t that supposed to be the whole point of feminism? Who the fuck are these feminist frumps to suggest that the choice to, say, ‘project childlike vulnerability‘ is neither a feminist objective nor a high moral purpose?

Quoth the “adorkable” Deschanel herself, on the subject of feminism vs. her disturbingly cutesy affect:

“I’m just being myself,” says Deschanel, 33. “There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap [feminists] say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar. So what?”

Her argument, in other words, is that she’s a feminist; therefore it follows that anything she does — however objectively antifeminist it may seem — must be a feminist act. Including, apparently, the performance of femininity. So fuck you, gnarly feminists who dare to question whether collar shape should form the basis of a revolutionary platform!

With its huggy-wuggy embrace of patriarchy-approved behavior, this kind of feminism-as-fashion-accessory gets a lot of support from the unholy alliance of liberal dudes and the megatheocorporatocracy. Both are the direct beneficiaries of women’s choiceiness. Both get appeased by and profit from women who choose choices from the menu provided by the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women. Dudes get girlfriends who willingly comply with the desired heteronorms, and corporations get loyal customers who reliably shell out for compliance apparatus.

rebranding_feminism_contestWhich brings me to the “feminism rebranding” to which the Bitch tweet alluded. I shit you not, it’s a feminism rebranding contest. Oxymoron much? The prize is $2000. The logo is a skinny young white chick in corporate drag, drinking a scotch and smoking a cigar like a captain of industry. The organizers — and brace yourself for a shock: they’re a bunch of advertising hacks in league with a so-called “media platform” — want to see who can give feminism the best makeover. Omitting only two offensive stereotypes (“hairy” and “bra-burning”), the contest brochure lists the key elements of feminism’s image problem: it’s “humourless, man-hating, elitist, white, privileged, dogmatic, judgmental, and over.” Entrants are challenged to change “the perception of the idea of equality” by giving “feminism some love. Make it feel meaningful and relevant to a new generation.”

Because … the notion of feminism as a revolutionary political movement representing the interests of an oppressed sex class is … what, exactly? Unmeaningful and irrelevant? It clashes with the imperative to buy Peter Pan collars? Or what? And what is this “new generation”? Suit-wearing white alcoholic smokers?

One need not speculate, it turns out. In what is one of the most tone-deaf “feminist” statements I have read in weeks — that the proposed rebrand should speak to “men who care that there are two genders” [!] — the true purpose of this absurd enterprise shines through. They merely want to logo-ize a heteronormative dude-appeasing fake feminism, because apparently some strategist somewhere has theorized that marketing to today’s savvy female consumer involves reassuring her that the products she’s buying are glittering instruments of independence and self-determination. At the cost of enmockerizing what is perhaps their only shot at true liberation, the “new generation” must remain in thrall to the Femininity Industrial Complex.

When one of the organizers admits that the goal of her rebranding contest is “to make feminism pretty,” one is hardly surprised. And if making feminism pretty emits a familiar, foul odor, your sneer-muscle will get a workout when I tell you that two of the judges turn out to have checkered pasts. That’s right. They were involved with the heinous Dove ad campaigns.

I puke on you, Feminism Rebranding Contest.

Before I go, I must acknowledge that the aforementioned litany of feminism’s character flaws, specifically the “elitist, white, privileged” part, are of course real problems. I am sanguine that they can be solved, as more and more white feminists get with the program, stop being defensive, start listening, cop to their complicity in the oppression of their WOC sisters, and cut it the fuck out. But even if I’m wrong about that, one thing is certain: these issues can definitely not be solved by turning feminism into a marketing gimmick.

_________________

Via Flavia Dzodan blogging at Red Light Politics

Illustration from the Rebranding Feminism website

Sep 22 2013

Project Unbreakable

Fortunately I Blame the Patriarchy isn’t a breaking news site. This means I can post excellent stuff that has already made the rounds on Facebook and the Huffington Post with impunity. By “excellent stuff” I mean stuff that, because it addresses issues of particular relevance to women’s liberation from oppression, deserves sustained interest, or at least more than a temporary bump on Twitter.

Today it’s Project Unbreakable. In case you haven’t heard of Project Unbreakable, Grace Brown photographs sexual assault survivors holding up signs emblazoned with quotes from their attackers. It’s really moving and makes me want to punch someone in the neck.

I haven’t done a study or anything, but it seems that rape awareness — by which I mean, awareness of issues pertaining to rape that have hitherto been obscured by traditional rape culture — might be on the upswing. I don’t want to be overly optimistic, but it’s almost as if people are starting to get the message that aggressive male behaviors customarily considered normal and in keeping with the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women are in fact violent and oppressive. Efforts like Project Unbreakable are getting in through the chinks and deserve our sustained support.

You know, anyone who can look at a thing like Project Unbreakable and maintain that patriarchy is dead is brainwashed, delusional, and, yes, complicit in the global humanitarian crisis that is violence against women. As Jane Doe, MD reminded me recently, failure to advocate for victims of oppression is exactly the same thing as complicity with the oppressor.

Speaking of patriarchy replication device the Huffington Post, am I the only one who finds it baffling? Every time I click on it there’s a slideshow on celebrity sideboob, or celebrity underboob, or some other aspect of the celebrity boob. Except topboob, which I guess is played out.

Note: Still sidelined by my sprained twerkicep, I was obliged to type this post on an iPad while lying flat on the floor, so please excuse the brevity and uncharacteristic shortwindedness.

Sep 20 2013

Spinster aunt busts move, sprains booty

Dutch dancersIf you must know, I have been benched in a freak twerking accident.

Because it really chaps the spinster hide when perfectly reasonable behaviors are fetishexualized by the megatheopornocorporatocracy, I had planned to write a fairly epic blogular tirade about how butt-wagging is objectively an awesome pastime that, absent the ubiquitous pornsick male gaze, is in fact about as titillating as the wooden shoe dancers at Tulip Time. However, because of my grievous injury, the world will just have to wait for my incisive remarks.

[Sidebar: in case I haven't mentioned it lately, la revolución will effectively wipe out the fetishization of women's oppression, which in turn will end pornography, prostitution, rape, and the vilification of women who twerk. Until that happy time, twerking enthusiasts, like any women who do anything under a world order which consigns them to a sex class, will face sexobjectification and gross misogyny.

For more on how feminist revolt will fix everything that's wrong with human society, see Shulamith Firestone.]

Anyway, before I break out the ice pack, let me just say that I’ve been getting pretty annoyed by the nattering nabobs of negativism who in recent weeks have been so tiresome on the subject of twerking. Like all dance moves performed by women, twerking has been generally promoted as the final nail in the coffin of Western civilization.

As if.

The final nail in the coffin of Western civilization is Western civilization. And Northern, Southern, and Eastern civilization, too. Known on Savage Death Island as the culture of domination, “civilization” has contained the seeds of its own destruction since waaaay before the advent of the modern twerking menace. Thse seeds have already generated untold suffering in the shape of racism, misogyny, religion, colonialism, paternalism, factory farms, capitalism, global warming, super-bacteria, homophobia, Monsanto, fashion, massive wildlife die-offs, pollution, femininity, carcinogens, NRA, nukes, Facebook, Internet porn, cable news, $699.99 iPhones, government spy agencies, sarin gas, the unecessarily crappy food at the Creek Road Cafe in Dripping Springs TX, waxy yellow buildup, and anti-twerkism. No species can survive the incessant onslaught of these combined self-imposed afflictions indefinitely.

How to survive the next millennium? Give up the fetishization of dominance. Just give it up! You know those liberal dudes who are always dragging the goddam bonobos into it, saying humans should emulate them because they resolve their differences by boinking or whatever? Well, I say it’s time to imagine a world where the humans start behaving even more highly evolvedly than the bonobos. Because we are, theoretically. More highly evolved than bonobos, I mean. I propose a policy of conflict resolution via twerk-off.

But I digress.

Twerking isn’t even shocking, by the way. It’s just a plain old squat with a pelvic thrust component.

“She’s wagging her butt, and butt-wagging is somewhat suggestive of humping, so OH MY GOD!”

Seriously?

I mean, we’ve pretty much seen it all at this point, haven’t we? All imaginable disgusting fetishes, vile sex crimes, and broken taboos have have already featured on either “Law & Order: Mutilated Ladies Unit,” “South Park,” or “Toddlers in Tiaras.” Compared to that shit, twerking is about as outrageous as the Peanuts dance.

You know how I know? I decided to check it out personally, so I’ve been twerking up a storm for the past couple of days. I’m here to tell you that it’s a) pretty fun, and b) one of the silliest things I’ve ever done. Check out this how-to-twerk video and do a little butt-dance yourself. I recommend it (with caveat, below) because you, and anyone watching you, will bust out laughing or my name isn’t Twisty Faster.

There is only one dangerous thing about twerking. Which brings me to the reason I can’t write a post today.

Two days ago, insufficiently appreciative of the limitations of my atrophied twerking muscle, I accidentally blew it out during a particularly excellent hip-thrust, and keeled over forthwith. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” was my sad refrain. With the result that my ass is now sprained, and sitting in my blogging chair causes excruciating pain. So if, like me, you are a blamer of a certain age, I suggest flexing your twerkiceps with a couple of surya namaskars prior to your first twerk, and keep your Life Alert button at the ready.

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Photo: Tulip Time Parade, Holland, Michigan. May 2010. By Jilroy Frosting Psmith.

Sep 16 2013

Courtroom drama “Silk” hits the usual misogynist notes

Once, just once, it would be great if a TV crime drama could feature a woman in a recurring lead role who doesn’t either

a) eventually end up in a scene where a maniacal predator chains her up by the wrists in a dungeon or

b) accidentally get pregnant, sensibly determine that having a kid would alter her career trajectory for the worse, but abruptly cancel the abortion appointment after catching a glimpse of her glowing and fecund self in a mirror and cupping her magical abdomen with lily white hands to reel with wonder over the miracle of life.

The aforementioned aggravating phenomenon has blipped on the Spinster HQ radar again because of “Silk,” a recently aired Brit courtroom drama on PBS that adheres to most of the accepted rules for packaging compulsory pregnancy as female empowerment and selling it as entertainment.

“Silk’s” heroine, Martha, is a bewiggened barrister bucking for a big promotion in her cutthroat London law firm. In contrast to her foil — a womanizing, ethically challenged male rival — Martha is down-to-earth, overworked, and unimpeachably principled. Also, she’s an awesome barrister. Just when things couldn’t look worse, she relies purely on chutzpah and wits to win her tough cases. You go girl. But then, uh oh. Sure enough. Unbeknownst to Martha, one of her skeevy clients has been sneaking around her apartment nicking her hosiery (black stockings! I would have thought that in 2013, the only women still suffering those torture devices would be — well, nobody. And they say patriarchy is dead). The skeevy stalker sets the stage for some excellent TV lady-fear in an upcoming episode.

As an added plot device, the writers throw in an accidental pregnancy. As we have seen, rare is the TV lady of childbearing years who makes it to her series finale without getting knocked up; the contents of uteruses (and the genetic provenance of said contents) never fail to fascinate audiences. Thus we know that, from the minute Martha eyeballs the home pregnancy test, even though she will initially plan to have an abortion, it’s inevitable that instead she’ll wind up cupping the magical abdomen and keeping the fetus. The pregnancy device highlights Martha’s feminine vulnerability to her deranged predator, underscores her selfless feminine devotion to humankind, and sends a patriarchy-affirming message: abortion is the selfish choice.

Oh, and guess who the father is. That’s right. The womanizing, ethically challenged dude, who is currently sleeping with his hot blonde pupil.

My prediction for this series: violence will be visited upon poor pregnant Martha. I bet there’ll be one of those nailbiting bogeyman scenes — possibly in a dungeon with wrist chains — where the skeev leaps from the shadows and the Martha character gives the camera what it craves: a snootful of TV lady-fear. Suspenseful scrimmage will ensue. At some point Martha, her clothes ripped to reveal a tantalizing swatch of lingerie, will be down on the floor, bleeding from a photogenic cut on her forehead, making desperate, sobby, lady-fear noises, either scooching backward on her butt, or worming toward a weapon that’s just beyond the reach of her slightly bloody hand. The episode will conclude with a last-minute rescue by either the womanizing baby daddy or the law firm’s loyal clerk (the Brits say “clark.” Adorable!).

I dare this “Silk” show to prove me wrong. It won’t, though. I can’t even conceive of a universe where a TV lady would go unpunished for her promiscuity. She could never just have the abortion and go on to live a fulfilling, stalker-free life with neither man nor baby, concerning herself instead with stuff of a non-maternal nature. Even more unthinkable: that she would have a rudimentary pre-existing grasp of modern birth control techniques, and therefore wouldn’t get pregnant in the first place, thus leaving her character free to explore the vast array of non-uterus-related adventures that all male characters have pursued since the dawn of story-telling.

Sep 14 2013

“Irrational” feminists cling to patriarchy’s rotting corpse

In the event that you are ever called upon for proof that patriarchy is alive, all you have to do is consult the internet, where there is always a new post arguing that it is dead. Nobody would bother writing such posts if patriarchy had actually died, since that happy contingency could only obtain as the result of a lengthy revolt the deets and consequences of which would already be painfully familiar to everyone and their dog. If patriarchy were dead, “Patriarchy is Dead” would be old news, like “OMG! Twerking is a Thing Now!”

Yet down the pike they come, every so often, just as though their declarations were based in fact. No matter; such posts provide a happy excuse for spinster aunts and anarchists and cheese-makers and noted wits to air out their old-skool feminist ideologies. Today’s example: this article by The End of Men author Hanna Rosin. Rosin has declared, as the modern patriarchy-invested woman will feel compelled to do from time to time, the end of patriarchy. She illustrates her declaration with a photo of three white, blonde, female members of Congress.

Even so, you will note that you have not yet received an invitation to the bra-burning victory party on the Lido Deck of the good ship Vagina Dentata. I hate to say it, but that’s because not only is patriarchy not dead, it isn’t even sick. Rosin’s proposition is merely another in a long line of oblivious white lady arguments calling for the shrill, outdated feminists to take it down a notch so the OWLs can enjoy their fantasy “new era of female dominance” and take care of their emasculated husbands in peace.

These OWLy arguments are as alike as curds on a tuffet, and Rosin’s is no exception. Here’s how it goes:

A writer upon whom Fate has lavished a bit of education, as well as the financial wherewithal to insulate herself from some of the more dire ravages of the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women, Rosin posits that contrary to feminist narratives of doom, women are doing just fine nowadays. Feministe blogger Jill Filopovic, she notes, is a New York lawyer; how can she cry foul when obviously patriarchy hasn’t held her back? Clearly the militant radfems have outlived their usefulness.

But uh-oh, the theory goes, those stubborn feminists won’t disperse. Turns out we’re neurotically nostalgic for the patriarchal victimization of yore, harboring an “irrational attachment to the concept of unfair.” So dedicated are we to detecting oppression in every crevice that we can’t comprehend our own deliverance, even as it stares us in the face, calls us irrational, and tells us to smile. Otherwise we would surely see that, what with The Vote and a “revolutionary” 19% of Congress now comprised of Vagina-Americans, women have won. Rather than getting our undies in a bundle, feminists should “treasure” it when cooler heads label us “strident,” since it is our only vestigial connection to the glory days when our beloved oppression was still in effect. Apparently, in this new post-patriarchal paradise, women can not only screw who we want, we’re also free to “quilt and can fruits” at will. Triumph is ours! Feminists, stand down!

It remains unsettled whether or not stridency-treasuring, quilting, and fruit-canning should be considered the ultimate goals of feminist revolution (so few of the world’s women live in Portlandia, after all). I’ll say this, though. The inspiration of these feminist-go-home arguments may be easily understood when one considers the source: the assimilated woman who doesn’t quite grasp what patriarchy is. To wit:

If, despite the fact that she has just called you “irrational,” you care to slog through Rosin’s article, you will come away with the sense that her comprehension of the concept patriarchy lacks nuance. She seems to see it as a sort of cabal of actual “patriarchs” (i.e. a boss or a dickhead boyfriend), rather than as an automated, self-replicating world order — in which participation is compulsory — that strictly enforces femininity compliance for the benefit of a male-dominated megapornotheocorporatocracy.

How has Rosin arrived at this unsophisticated worldview? In her article she avers that neither her husband nor her boss — “patriarchy,” presumably — have personally oppressed her overmuch, so apparently she doesn’t view women’s oppression as especially exigent. On the other hand, maybe she just doesn’t feel like fucking with it. Maybe she just wants to stay home with her kid, worship her man (“the God-ordained head of the household”), can her fruit, and not take a bunch of heat for it from the Internet feminists.

OK. Fine. The Hanna Rosins of the world have made their choice. They’re only gonna work 4 days a week, and their friends will all be getting jars of pickled pineapple for Christmas. It’s no skin off my nose. Be my guest! But this is what I would like to know:

Why they gotta get all up in our grill? What’s it to them if a few feminists wanna continue to agitate on behalf of the real, material liberation that the Hanna Rosins of the world have decided they’re willing to live without? When we point a gnarled claw at the discrimination, misogyny, and violence that still lingers, despite patriarchy’s purported “demise,” who exactly are we hurting?

Just get out of the way already, Hanna Rosins of the world. You may justify your antifeminism by fantasizing that the woman who picks up your trash when you leave at 5 secretly “yearns to bring back at least some aspects of patriarchy.” However, if you really think that a person who isn’t oppressed by patriarchal forces beyond your privileged bubble would be caught dead picking up your fucking garbage, you’re delusional, lady. There’s been no feminist victory. Patriarchy is not dead. Not globally, and not here in the US. For instance, by the time you finish reading this post, about 7942 entertainment rapes will have been broadcast on US television. That’s bad, but this is worse: at least two real, live American women will have been sexually assaulted.

Epilogue: Is “it” getting better, as Rosin postulates? “It” is clearly comfortable for privileged women like Rosin, whose circumstances permit the opportunity to view fruit-canning as a trendy hobby rather than as compulsory drudgery necessary to forestall winter starvation. But for proof that patriarchy isn’t dead, she need look no further than the comments on her own piece. Such as this one, authored by a patriarchy-invested mansplainer. This sterling dude defines feminism, as dudes are wont to do, as “based on a false premise: the equality of men and women.”

Dude. Get over it. Feminism posits no such dreaded “equality.” Godferbid. Feminism seeks to dismantle precisely that bogus equality crap to which the mansplainer alludes, and indeed any paradigm under which women are defined in terms of men. Feminism, it turns out, has nothing to do with men. Astonishingly, feminism is concerned with women. Specifically, the emancipation of women from an oppressive world order that hijacks our bodily sovereignty and controls our personal autonomy. And as long as there are jacknuts out there who believe otherwise, patriarchy will be alive and well and owning our uterus and making damn sure that 70% of the world’s poor are women.

Sep 13 2013

Anti-twerkite lacks clue re: rape culture

The degree to which news media luxuriate in the perpetuation of rape culture has long chapped the spinster hide, so it was with pleasure this morning that I read this ThinkProgress piece by Annie-Rose Strasser and Tara Culp-Ressler (to whom for the sake of brevity I will henceforth refer as ‘the authors’): “How Not To Publish Columns Justifying Rape: A Step-By-Step Guide For Editors.”

The authors note therein a few recent examples wherein national columnists “cater to rape culture and gloss over the gruesome reality of sexual assault.” Their prime culprit, “Miley Cyrus, Steubenville, and teen culture run amok” by WaPo’s Richard Cohen, masquerades as a wholesome, avuncular chappie’s views on the poor taste exhibited by today’s youth, but is in fact a boorish screed by an old white dude that essentially and nonsensically blames Miley Cyrus for the phenomenon of teen rape.

OK, come on. In your experience, how many old white dudes who bloviate on rape in mainstream media have the slightest idea what they’re talking about? Not Richard Cohen, that’s for sure. He seems to think it is of dire, material importance that the Steubenville attack did not involve “intercourse” (Well duh. No rape involves intercourse. Intercourse, unlike rape, is not an act of violence. What the astonishingly clueless Cohen appears so eager to convey is that the rapists used something other than their penises for penetration, which I guess makes them … what? Less guilty? Like, it wasn’t rape if they didn’t get off? Seriously?). He implies that this meaningless distinction, coupled with the notion that there were “only” two convictions, should soften the rabid reader’s view of the general severity of the case. And that’s just the beginning. Read the whole thing if you haven’t already; you’ll howl.

The authors go on to speculate — not entirely unfacetiously — that editors of such articles might not entirely grasp the antifeminist gist contained in this species of crapola. As a remedy they suggest four rules of thumb for determining whether an opinion piece (which, say, uses the Steubenville rape case to wag a gnarled claw at Miley-Cyrus-and-these-kids-today) is in fact part of the problem. Which — let’s face it — if it’s written by an old white dude so decent and proprietous and blissfully ignorant of popular culture that he can claim he had to Google “twerk”, it probably is.

Anyway, the seasoned patriarchy blamer will recognize all four items on Strasser and Culp-Ressler’s rape-apologist checklist, for they are ancient — as ancient as half-assed journalism itself.

Does [the piece] defend or sympathize with rapists?
Does it fault the victims, instead of those who committed a crime?
Does it downplay illegal actvity by using more casual terminology for rape?
Does it use rape as a hook in a ‘trend piece’ meant to draw sweeping conclusions about society’s moral depravity?

Like so many before it, Cohen’s column is 4 for 4! And for bonus jacknut points, he even asserts that it’s Miley Cyrus who is responsible for the modern woman’s debased status, rather than the incontinent, porn-sick audiences who fetishize femininity compliance and demand hypersexualized performances from women entertainers. And then, as his parting shot, he calls Cyrus “a twerk.” Oh snap!

And it’s not just the columnists. You cannot swing a cat video anywhere on the Internet without hitting an example of crappy rape reporting. That’s because a) rape is epidemic, b) police reporters tend to merely regurgitate the rape-apologist language often used in original police reports, and c) editors shy away from truly accurate representation because they deem it too graphic for the fine sensibilities of their gentle readers.

Here’s a compare-and-contrast:

The final paragraph of the Think Progress piece quotes Poynter on the subject of sugar-coating rape with watered-down, inaccurate, and blame-shifting terminology:

“[Journalists] say, for instance, that a young girl ‘performed an oral sex act,’ rather than, ‘He forced his genitals into her mouth.’”

[cite]

Just this morning, immediately after reading the aforementioned Think Progress piece, I ran across a textbook case. It was an AP report documenting the September 10 arrest of a Dallas neighborhood watch volunteer who, sickeningly, turned out to be the Fair Park rapist:

“[A]ccording to Dallas police documents, he grabbed four women late at night and forced them to perform oral sex.” [cite]

Even though it employs the verb “forced” in connection with the rapist himself, the non-passive phraseology in Fair Park story still manages to turn the victims into guileful, complicit actors, contriving an inaccurate narrative that erases their experience by characterizing as a “performance” of “oral sex” what was actually a violent assault by a gun-wielding criminal.

In criminal jurisprudence, this victim-blaming standard applies only to rape. As Dahlia Lithwick suggested back in 2007, the victim of a mugging would never in a million years be described as merely giving his attacker a loan. Sex is a synonym for rape in our culture only because we maintain an official sex class — women — to provide receptacles for male hatred to penetrate.

In conclusion: Richard Cohen, if twerking bums you out, don’t blame the twerkers. Blame the patriarchy. If DudeNation didn’t clamor for it, buy it, reward it, celebrate it, and write about it incessantly, twerking would cease to exist overnight.

Sep 11 2013

Mass media fails to uplift spinster aunt

“What the hell, Twisty?” you may well ask. “Whyfore no bloggo lo these past 57.8 months or whatever?” Well, the rumors are true. My lobe got totally blown. Kablooey. Lobaceous matter scattered over several square miles. Obstreperal particles were found as far away as the Texas lege, where, thanks to the Supremes, state Republicans bask in the icy purgatorial glow of their discriminatory redistricted voter maps. Fortunately, I, unlike voting rights in Texas, got better.

Moving on.

What a summer. So much vadge-clenching crap has come down the wire. So many degenerate, entitled, sociopathic, narcissist, megalomisogynist assholes in the news. The spinster mettle has been sorely tested. The eel-like Anthony Wiener*, Mayor McHandsypants of San Diego, the repellent Hugo Schwyzer, murderer George Zimmerman, every dude who works in tech, etc.

And oh my god, what about that dicksmoke victim-blaming judge in that wrenching Montana teen rape case? I allude, of course, to Judge G.Todd Baugh, who reduced the convicted rapist’s sentence to thirty days even though he’d flunked out of his court-mandated sex-offender rehab course. Why? Why why why? Apparently Baugh in his wisdom decided that, before she killed herself out of despair, “the 14-year-old girl was acting ‘older than her chronological age’ and [had been] ‘as much in control of the situation’ as the 49-year-old teacher who raped her.”

O my aching lobe. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No class of human being is more disenfranchised and/or reviled than teenage girls, with the exception of teenage girls who are known to have been penetrated by adult dudes; they are the most disenfranchised people in the entire galaxy.

Well, this morning I thought I might look to cable news for some uplifting info on the possibility of a diplomatic resolution to the impending US-related doom in Syria, or at least enjoy some footage of that giant floating bong in the Mediterranean. Dee-nied. Instead of any actual news, MSNBC decided to re-run in its entirety its 12-year-old minute-by-minute coverage of the fucking 9/11 attacks, with smoke-gushing images and overwrought narration complete.

OK, look. Not as bad as this, but still. On the somber occasion of the anniversary of 9/11 one might wish to reflect, pay homage, observe a moment of silence, light a candle, hug a firefighter or what have you, but if you’re anything like me you need to actually re-live that mass murder exactly never, so you turned that shit off, made an espresso that sadly turned out a little too thin, and consulted your poor, neglected Twitter feed. Despair ensued.

Twitter. I flippin’ hate Twitter. Not only does it put the kibosh on my natural inborn longwindedness, the feminists and anarchists and cheese-makers and noted wits I follow uniformly bum me out. For instance, today I found out that a cabal of mean parade-rainers are, predictably, out to erase Diana Nyad’s heartwarming and astonishing Cuba-to-Florida swim record by accusing her of cheating. Now, like every woman in history who ever accomplished anything, Nyad is required to face her detractors and explain herself.

Noooo!

Oh, and from the feminist-dudes-always-turn-out-to-be-misogyinst-pricks department, check this out: an Australian documentarist has discovered that the Ukrainian feminist group Femen, they of the questionably feminist “our breasts are our weapons” fame, is run by — that’s right — a megalomisogynist dude.

These girls are weak,” he says in the film. “They don’t have the strength of character. They don’t even have the desire to be strong. Instead, they show submissiveness, spinelessness, lack of punctuality, and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists. These are qualities which it was essential to teach them.”

Here is the amount of surprise we registered here at Spinster HQ upon learning that enpornulated Ukrainian women who take to the streets in hootchie lingerie with the rape culture motto “FUCK” scrawled across their chests are actually in thrall to an abusive Svengali who admits on film that he masterminded the Femen “movement” in order to get laid:

0

I wish you could knock me over with a feather, because I need to lie down.

__________________
* I did not originate “eel-like” as the most apt descriptor ever for Anthony Wiener. I wish to heck I could remember where I read it, because I would like to buy that genius epithet-coiner a taco.

Femen link via @LettyNijhuis

May 17 2013

Spinster aunt says something about rape on TV

A propos of the other day’s post on “The Bletchley Circle,” here’s a question what often comes up. Blamer Michelle writes:

Are portrayals of rape on TV and in movies unavoidably misogynistic? I watched the Stieg Larsson movie awhile back – the Dragon Tattoo one — and was infuriated by the portrayals of sexual violence… then had a heated debate with my partner about whether or not they were gratuitous. I HATE portrayals of rape in fiction – in print or on screen – that are even mildly explicit, because I think they reek of salacious, prurient voyeurism. But rape happens in life. Should it be censored in fiction? This issue hits my fury nerve, but I’d like to be able to make some reasoned arguments.

It’s all a matter of tone, isn’t it?

Rape scenes rarely do anything but provide an opportunity for plot-driven pornography. These scenes may be used to illustrate the evil of the antagonist, but the tone never suggests jack about the victim beyond “she’s a pitiful dominated half naked sexy lady; look!” If a rape scene is necessary to drive the plot — which, by the way, it isn’t — it certainly isn’t necessary to film it pornulationally. The Greeks always committed their dramatic murders off stage.

Women are the sex class, right? The ridiculous proliferation and popularity of TV rape scenes — there’s a sexual assault about every 10 seconds on television — is proof enough of that, as if you needed it. When TV rapes women, if there is ever any underlying high moral purpose serving Truth and Beauty, I have never seen it. Popular writers and directors almost universally choose to throw the mighty weight of their office behind the goddam GAGFUW. All media serve and perpetuate our misogynist world order.

May 13 2013

Just when you thought you wouldn’t have to slog through a feminist analysis of “The Bletchley Circle”

You’ve heard that spinster aunts, their kiesters permanently affixed to their lime green recliners, are constantly monitoring the airwaves for examples of patriarchy-replication in male supremacist cultural narratives. Recently here at Spinster HQ we cast our jaundiced eye upon PBS mystery/period drama “The Bletchley Circle”. Four women, veterans of the eponymous WW II British code-breaking operation, join forces as civilians in 1952 to solve a bunch of murders.

Because she apparently isn't pitiful enough, the battered wife character is also attacked by a random stranger on a train.

Because she apparently isn’t pitiful enough, the battered wife character is also attacked by a random stranger on a train.

I believe it is customary to announce a spoiler alert at this juncture, but let’s face it. It’s a crime show, so you know precisely what happens. A creepy dude murders some hot babes and is eventually foiled in an abandoned warehouse by a slightly extraordinary sleuth who struggles with personal demons.

Even though “The Bletchley Circle” has been called “feminist” (nowadays the label is applied automatically whenever there is a female lead, irrespective of any actual evidence of feminist themes), it will come as no surprise to you that straight away I was able to tick off several boxes on both the Misogyny in Media Checklist and the Schlocky Old Plot Device Checklist. Note that there is some overlap between these checklists. Misogynical motifs — usually affirmations of the venerable Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women — form the basis of so much of the literary and theatrical canon, they may also be considered schlock.

On to the checklists!

• Sleuth with superpower? Check. (Schlock)

• Scene wherein dude sexually assaults lone, vulnerable woman? Check. (Schlockogyny)

• Scene wherein same woman gets beat up by husband? Check. (More schlockogyny, in case you missed it the first time)

• Serial killer? Check. (Schlock)

• Serial killer is a diabolically clever madman? Check. (Mental illness disinformation, perpetuation of patriarchal myth that only raving outliers are capable of violence against women, and for the luvagod, lunatic serial killer is the most enschlockened character in modern entertainment)

• Serial killer predates upon hot young women by exploiting one or another of their stereotypically weak feminine failings? Check. (Porno-schlockogyny)

• Serial killer rapes the corpses? Check. (Really? Again?)

• Money shot of bound-and-gagged victim struggling in dungeon? Check. (BDSchlockM)

• Money shot of hot, dead victim looking somewhat sexy? Check. (Ibid)

• Though her motivation for doing so is howlingly unbelievable such that the viewer is compelled to yell at the screen “Shirley you aren’t going to confront the killer alone in that creepy remote location à la Silence of the Lambs!”, the plot in fact climaxes with heroine confronting killer alone in creepy remote location à la Silence of the Lambs? Check. (Aaaauuugghhh)

Is The Bletchley Circle “feminist”? Hayell no.

Well, OK, the leads are four “strong women” characters, where “strong” means “plucky.” Their intellective efforts eventually win the day despite open dudely hostility at every turn, so, grrl-power. Bechdelianly-speaking, they do have conversations with each other. However, except for a pretty riveting opening flashback portraying a code-breaking triumph at Bletchley Park, these conversations are largely about men, either their dickhead husbands or dismissive government authority figures or the dudely killer. Furthermore, their relationships with men are character-defining factors. The stifled hausfrau*, the battered wife, and the sexually harassed waitress depend for character development on dysfuntional dude-relationships (the fourth is another tired old stock character, the spinster librarian). Thus is the feminist thrust of “The Bletchley Circle” thrown into question. The realistic depiction of women’s crapulent status in post-war England, however historically accurate, is so lovingly, painstakingly bleak it practically amounts to torture porn.

The final nail in the coffin:

• Entire series — though purportedly about women’s experience — written by dude? Check. (Puke)

The other final nail in the coffin?

• In the post-series “Making of Bletchley Circle,” (one of those boring filler/filmumentaries that seem to append every episode of every PBS drama these days), the director makes a big fucken deal out of the fact that although he had to work with an unheard-of surfeit of females on this project, there was nevertheless an astonishing lack of catfighting on set? Fucking check. (Aaaand double-puke)

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*In the empowerful-women-take-back-the-degrading-epithet department, check out this unexpected definition of hausfrau at Urban Dictionary.

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