But I’m A Nice Guy

I’ve been trying to think of something to say about the terrible shooting in California this weekend, but I am consistently coming up blank. So many thoughts in my head, so little abillity to consolidate them. So I am just going to leave this here.

You are not entitled to our bodies and our company just because you are “a nice guy“. The “friendzone” doesn’t exist. If a woman you are interested in tells you she has a boyfriend (even if she doesn’t) it is because she knows you’ll respect another man’s ownership of her, than the actual ownership she has of herself. But sometimes even when we DO have a boyfriend, you still feel entitled enough to us that you will kill us if we reject you.

“I am afraid of women. And that makes me angry.”

Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.
– Margaret Atwood, paraphrased.


Gentlemen: This Is Your Rape Culture

In mid August, two news stories broke. In both, a man was asked to move from his allocated seat next to an unaccompanied minor on a short plane flight within Australia. On a Virgin flight from Sydney to Brisbane, firefighter Johnny McGirr was asked to swap seats with a woman passenger, and on a Qantas flight from Wagga Wagga to Sydney, nurse Daniel McCluskie was asked the same thing.

The reason given by both airlines, was that of child protection: adult male passengers may not sit next to unaccompanied minors under any circumstances. Adult female passengers may, but men may not.

Statistically, a child is more likely to be sexually assaulted or victimised by someone already known to the child – a family member, a family friend, a close associate – than by a stranger. And the likelihood of that happening on an aeroplane – one of the most highly monitored, paranoid spaces in the world, is ASTONISHINGLY low. But despite that, several airlines share the same discriminatory policy.

Gentlemen: welcome to rape culture. Here’s a cup of tea, get comfortable, you’ll be staying a while – and read the article at that link, if you like. Melissa McEwan has written a brilliant treatise on the rape culture which should be required reading for anyone curious about the subject at all.

I have been amused by the opinion articles I have read in the last couple of weeks on this topic – not as in “ha ha”, but as in “this is peculiar”. We all live in the rape culture. We benefit from and are hindered by it, in varying amounts and degrees depending on our gender, the colour of our skin, our sexuality, our income, and a whole host of other fixed and changeable variables. There are some groups who are more aware of the rape culture, of their place in it, of the oppressions and expectations that the rape culture puts on them. There are some groups who, try as they might, simply cannot ignore the disadvantages that rape culture serves them with, and some groups who are so completely ignorant of the myriad ways in which rape culture privileges them above all other groups that they end up in positions of power, making decisions for these other groups without ever having to question what it’s like to be in one of those groups.

But now that most privileged group, the white male, is learning what it’s like to be pre-judged by the rape culture. Women, transgendered people, queer people, people of colour and many other minority groups notice the prejudice that happens against them every day. If I was to sit here and write about every single incidence of prejudice that I notice, I would be a profoundly unhappy person. So watching as a group of white men (traditionally the most privileged group on the planet) suddenly discover the ways in which the rape culture disadvantages them, and become outraged at it, has been curious for me. Women, queer people, transgender people and other minority groups have been trying to tell you this for years!

In December last year, I wrote:

“Rape culture doesn’t only diminish and disadvantage women. It diminishes and disadvantages men too. It positions men as sexual predators, as insatiable creatures who only exist to pursue their basest desires, to leer and jeer at women on the street, as creatures who can only see women as prizes to be won. It positions the woman as the prey and the man as the hunter, and gives no consideration to anyone who is outside of the heteronormative paradigm.”

The same applies here. The rape culture has cast all men as dangerous predators, out to attack children and women indiscriminately. Now, by no means do I wish to diminish the real and lasting damage that paedophiles do to children every single day around the world. But treating every man as a paedophile is as dangerous as treating every man as a rapist. It prevents children from forming meaningful relationships with the men in their lives, risks teaching young boys that being male is somehow a deficiency (in much the same way as the rape culture has spent the last thousand years teaching young girls the same thing), and creates a world in which men must check their behaviour each and every time they interact with a child.

The two men who were asked to move seats are both men who do work involving the welfare of children. One is a firefighter who, presumably, has rescued children from certain disaster, the other is a nurse with the Wagga Wagga health service who, as a condition of his employment, must undergo regular criminal background checks to ensure his suitability to work with children. But simply by deciding to Fly While Male, they have both been treated like criminals by a company they are paying for a service.

Some men are paedophiles. Some paedophiles are men. But it does not automatically mean that all men are paedophiles.

This is why we need feminism. Because dismantling the damaging ideas that have sprung up around sex and gender and sexuality is everybody’s business – not just work for women, or trans people, or queer people. Feminism teaches us to question why culture is the way it is, to question why and where our ideas come from, and to work together to construct new ways of relating to one another – ways that respect and understand our differences and similarities instead of shoving us into boxes.

Gentlemen, this is your rape culture. It is my rape culture. It is up to all of us to reject it, absolutely.

Gamers get hella uncomfortable over male sexuality too. Can you imagine a “good male character who just happens to be wearing sexually exploitative outfits because he’s ok with his masculinity?” Constantly has the camera pan lovingly over his asscrack and firm glutes, and big ole dangly ballsack that is totes sweaty from all this MMA and soldiering. Time to hit the showers, and do you, personally, think it’s ok to have a long slow pan up the dude’s package (indiscreetly hidden in a jock of course), to his chiseled physique and erect nipples (pierced). He’s not even a Bond-esque confident man, he’s basically a weird Bowie caricature that’s constantly having near-dickslips in every single cinematic as the completely nonsexualized female characters do their business of being gruff and shooting dudes and advancing the plot. Finally, at the end he falls in love (out of nowhere) and/or is killed by the big baddie.
a forum post I read recently, trying to give a solid example of what ‘male objectification in gaming ’ would actually look like if it was anything equivalent to current female objectification in gaming. (via nothingbutsurrender)I think I reblogged this before, but I’m just gonna reblog it again.

(via hobbitdragon)

So fantastically accurate.

(via psdo)

#BoycottLibra: Libra DOESN’T Get Girls

So today, I came across this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lReX1dAUAE

It’s Libra’s new ad for their tampons, and it features a cisgendered woman and a transgendered woman in a public bathroom. They compete over mascara, lipgloss and an adjustment of their bras, before the cis woman opens her bag, removes a box of Libra tampons, and triumphantly takes one out and displays it to the trans woman, who walks away in a huff.

The ad then switches to a title card, featuring a package of Libra tampons and the tagline “Libra gets girls. Love Libra.”

Sure, Libra gets girls. If, of course, the girl Libra is getting is not transitioning from male to female, still in possession of her uterus, not suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, not using the contraceptive pill to regulate or stop her periods, pregnant, or doing or suffering from anything else that may interfere with, cease, or otherwise render her incapable of menstruating. Basically, as long as she fits into the defined ideals of “woman”: straight, cisgendered, pretty, bitchy, competitive, then she is a real woman, and everyone else is naught.

Using transfolk for cheap laughs is nothing new. In December 2011, New Zealand’sHell Pizza copped criticism for their “misfortune cookies”, one of which contained the misfortune “you will marry a transgender”. Transgender people are one of the most discriminated against groups in our society, and regularly subject to violence because of their gender, but it’s still seen as somewhat acceptable to be transphobic. Libra MORE than proves that with this latest advertisement.

Kick the boot in a bit harder Libra, and recast the ad with a young woman who’s just lost her uterus to cancer, or a middle aged lady going through menopause. Still think it’s as funny?

I didn’t think so. Just because the joke’s on transfolk doesn’t ACTUALLY make it a joke.

The good news is, if you’re as disgusted by it as I am, you don’t have to buy into this bigoted nightmare. If you have need for menstrual products, there are plenty of other places to buy tampons apart from Libra. You can also buy a Mooncup, or aKeeper, or a JuJu cup – these have the benefit of not being from a multi-national company, as well as being washable and reusable. Good for the environment, good for your bank balance, and good for you!

If you don’t have need for menstrual products, you can tell the ladies in your life – and the transmen who may still be menstruating (another group Libra and their advertising agency obviously didn’t think about when they dreamed up this ad), about Libra’s ignorant and bigoted depiction of transwomen.

You can tell Libra how you feel on their Facebook page, and you can tweet them at@LoveLibraX using the hashtag #BoycottLibra, or sign the Change.org petition.

It’s 2012!! How much longer are we going to have to be subjected to this nonsense?!


The Scavenger: You are involved in productions that steer away from ‘vanilla sex.’ Why is it important to you, to show things like urination, menstrual blood, body hair, fisting, BDSM and ejaculation in your work?

Jiz Lee: Because these things are a part of sex! These things (and other taboo subjects) are a part of the sex we have, and are valid desires and physical sexual responses. When something like female ejaculation is censored, the statement made is that it is shameful, obscene – or worse: that it doesn’t even exist… The more that female ejaculation, fisting, menstrual blood, hair, and other natural things happen in porn, the more people who love these things can feel secure in their pleasure or appearance. I especially value kink being portrayed in pornography where it promotes communication and consent. Pornography can be dark, titillating, challenging, and educating. As a powerful medium, porn can be a very empowering tool.

Genderqueer feminist porn star Jiz Lee interviewed by The Scavenger (viasexisnottheenemy)