Tag Archives: misogyny
I came across a debate over the differences between radical and contemporary feminism the other day, triggered by a specific call for submissions for a feminist text. The post itself was interesting and well worth a read, as, in my experience has been anything by this author, and can be found here. The catalyst for this post though, was my response to a specific comment which said that women failed to realise that men hate women. I sat stunned and thought, ”God, is that what it comes down to? Is that the conclusion I’ve been fighting off, but secretly know to be true?”. So I went for a walk and I thought about it…and I decided that even when I feel like it’s an inescapable conclusion if we look at the stats and the stories…that I don’t believe it. That I won’t believe it. So the following is my attempt to explain why. People might want to have a go at me for saying I don’t want to disrespect the belief that men hate women…fine. Have a go at me, don’t harrass the woman who said it . The reason I say I don’t want to disrespect the view, is because I can see how a person could come to that conclusion – there is a fair amount of evidence to support it. Please, if you’re reading it here, direct any criticisms of this view to me and not to her (also: harrasment ain’t cool, no matter how much you disagree, so keep it civil). There is a lot of empirical data which would seem to back it up. My rebuttal comes not from saying there’s no *evidence* to support that view, but rather from an objection to the generalisation it requires and from the violence I see inherent in this kind of generalising, categorising and defining. Not least because I see the power of destructive manifestations of masculinity as in part operating from the same logic.
I am not trying to disrespect your belief that men hate women. I just wonder whether that belief gives us any way “out”. Masculinity is constructed in opposition to the construction of femininity, bred to fear and loathe it. However saying all men *anything* is of concern for me, if for no other reason than if we can posit that “all men x”, then equally it can be posited that “all women y, and all “gays”z and all “blacks” a, and all “whites” c”.
Whenever we generalise and categorise and attribute certain characteristics to a “class” of people, violence seems certain to follow. Indeed I think there can be violence in the very act of categorising and defining.
There are times, when I look at the statistics of violence, abuse and disrespect directed at women by men that I feel like this is *true*, like MEN HATE WOMEN. And yet…I am raising a boy child. I am sleeping with, laughing with, loving a man – not a saviour, not a saint, just a human being…and the *fact* that this man listens to, learns from and loves me (and here I mean love in the very best sense, yes, love as a feeling, but also love as a verb, as a choice, as a gifting, showing love in many ways with acts and words and with kindness and laughter) doesn’t *disprove* the fact that masculinity is violent and oppressive, that masculinity has produced a culture where rape is used to silence, to belittle, to humiliate…that it has produced individuals and societies which disrespect and harm women…I just wonder…if we believe that men *hate* women, because they are men, and because we are women…are we not throwing our hands in the air and saying nothing can be done? Where are our options, our ways out?
If on the other hand, gender constructions damage all of us (and yes, definately to greater and lesser degrees and in vastly different ways) and language and discourse, and *masculinity* and *femininity* are problems that produce violence and individuals and structures who disregard the autonomy, rights and needs of other humans, this at least gives us the room to work on challenging and deconstructing gender, gives us some hope for making changes. I dunno. Maybe I sound like a naive, ignorant git. But…as an atheist this is the faith I have to have, my choice to embrace “messianism without a messiah”- that there are changes that can be made, that it is discourse, culture, religion and science that fuck us up, that being born with a penis doesn’t mean that you are biologically destined to hate everyone with a vagina, or everyone you deem “unworthy” to *have* a penis, or homosexual men, or anyone who transgresses the boundaries of gender.
I struggle with this, as I often panic over the *fact* that since a penis can (and so often is) used as a weapon, that every where I look there are human beings equipped with a weapon that they could, if they so chose, use against others to harm, to humiliate, to degrade, to assert power. I feel desperate over the state of the world knowing this. It makes me ill that there are many areas of the world in which this *weapon* is deployed coldly, callously, en masse, as a tool of war, and in every part of the world, that there are family homes in which it is wielded in secret, relationships where it goes from being a part of a body which gives and recieves pleasure, to a tool of pain, times where it is used against strangers not as a command in war, but for “fun”, for punishment, for violence for the sake of violence… I despair over this, and I fear for us all, myself, my friends, the women I don’t know, women trapped in civil wars, and boys growing into men that could be corrupted to a point of such revolting callousness and disrespect – and I don’t understand it. But I can’t bring myself to say that ownership of the penis=biologically inescapable hatred for women.
I don’t know…maybe this does make me a fool. And perhaps it is true that all *deconstructing gender* won’t make a licking difference to the use of rape as a tool of war. However, I can’t see how (and I am willing to listen to an explanation of how it might) taking the view that men hate women will make a difference here either. Sadly I am only a hair’s breadth from agreeing with the view that men hate women when I ponder what the hell *will* make a difference to the many and varied ways in which rape is utilised to punish, to keep scared, to violate, to overpower, to hurt, to humiliate…
I just know that I am uncomfortable with the ramifications of enforcing categories of people, and effacing the differences between people in that category, then ascribing certain attributes to “all” of the people *within* that group. This, it would appear, is the way that so much of the violence of modernity has worked.
So perhaps we need to acknowledge the specificities of rape(s). That rape as a tool of war, as a *command* which must be obeyed, is linked to, but differs from rape in other scenarios, in that it requires its specificity to be acknowledged if we are to even begin thinking through how we might possibly protect people from it. We will need to acknowledge issues of race in rape, for example the perception in Australia, that men from certain cultures are more ready to rape *our girls*, which cause hostility to certain members of our society, ignores the many gang rapes committed by *anglo aussies*, and does little if nothing to actually keep women safe, prevent rapes or intervene in the violence inherent in the ways we *do* masculinity. Also, what of other issues of race involved in rape? Where white men raped/rape Aboriginal women not only because they are women, but because they are Aboriginal, to degrade on the basis of race as well as gender?
In mentioning some of the complexities inherent in any discussion of rape and how to begin even thinking through *undoing* “rape culture”, I am not for a second holding myself up as someone having the answers. I don’t even know all the complexities, being that the privileges of my life have sheltered me from having to know some of them. It’s just immensely complex and I don’t want to reduce the problems of rape to only those I know about/understand, or position myself as some “expert”, some neutral, objective “authority” who gets to make bold blanket statements – because I see the danger inherent in that…
I just don’t see how the conclusion that men hate women will help us to resolve these issues. Even when I am at my most down, most vulnerable to this belief – I can’t believe it. I choose not to believe it. If I believe it, then I see no way forward. If I believe it, then I can see no good in men. If I believe it, then given the power men have in society, we’re all doomed. If I believe it I think I really will go crazy. If I believe it, then stretching on forever, all I can see is hate, punishment, violence, retribution, no escape, no options, no possibilities. I look at my son, I look at my lover, I look at my male friends, and I see that while masculinity has a powerful hold over men, while masculinity pressures men to devalue and disrespect women, that men make choices, that men are human beings, capable of civil and respectful behaviour, capable of loving, capable of kindness, capable of good no less than women. Sure, many men continue to choose hate. But to categorise them as *all the same* and to attribute a hatred of women to them all is bleak…and not only is it bleak, but the act of categorising and attributing is defeatest, disrespectful, devoid of hope and buys into the very violence masculinity operates by, thus disabling us from deconstructing and debunking this violence.
I do believe it’s started…the inevitable backlash against the writing. Now, let’s be clear…with a hit total of about 1100, the “backlash” such as it is, is hardly a Tsunami of angry comments. It’s just that to this stage my comments have been either positive or neutral. So far I have had people read because they are interested, or at least curious. Now comes the reading and commenting from the anti-feminists.
SO…I should make my comments policy chrystal clear – I will have one up within forty-eight hours. But to break it down: there are, as I have said previously here, plenty of ways for you to get your misogynistic rocks off if that’s what you’re into. My blog is not a space for that. If you would like to engage in a discussion, feel free to post. If you’re just trolling, I will both delete you and spam you. Deal with it.
One other thing. I’m afraid, dear commenter from “Exposing Feminism” (oooh-er! Feminisms deep dark “secrets” exposed, for the *first time ever* – let me guess: “Feminists hate men, feminists hate sex, feminists hate women, feminists hate fun, feminists hate love, feminists wanna steal your money, feminists wanna steal your kids, feminists, feminists, feminists blah, we hate feminists, they’re so SCARY!!” - that about sums it up right?)
I mean I had a glance at your website, and a cursory scroll down your listed “articles” shows your politics. Let’s be honest here. I declare my politics upfront. I’m a lefty, interested in social justice and equity – this is a site for me to rant, to poke fun, to engage in discussions over what exactly is pissing me off on any given day. So, given that you are publishing under the guise of “just being *honest*”, “telling it like it *is*” why not proudly proclaim your own politics? Why not climb the nearest mountain, spin in joyful circles and shout to the world “I am a bile filled, woman hating conservative who wants to tell everyone else exactly how to live their lives!”? Is that not more *honest* than pretending your *observations* are just objective neutral “truths”? Cos you *know*, just as I do, that every *fact* you present as evidence that women *have the upper hand* has a powerful, empirically sustained counter-example, and that your *facts* about the legal system *favouring women* are not, in fact, quite as black-and-white simple as you like to pretend. Do you think you’d lose readers? There are PLENTY of bile-filled, women hating conservatives who wanna tell people how to live their lives who would continue to read you and say “Preach it!”. In fact, I can probably refer you on to a few.
I guess I am finding it both hilarious and bizarre that you, with your own website, and your own women-hating links would bother to read mah itty-bitty rant site, would bother to comment, and would dare to *correct* me on what it is that I, as a feminist get tarred with over and over again. I mean, yeah, feminists also get tarred with all the *what EVIL things “feminists” *do** crap too, but, excuse me, I think I am actually qualified to state this clearly, seeing as how I’ve read it over and over again: FEMINISTS ALSO GET TARRED WITH “feminists are ugly, hairy and smelly” – I promise I will get to the other stuff as well, but this particular piece, as you will note from the title, the body of the text and the link given and discussed, was specifically about “Beauty Myths” regarding feminism. Therefore, if you don’t mind, I think I will discuss that rather than accepting your *correction* as to what the *anti-feminist thing *is*
You’ve got your site, I’ve got mine. Feel free to ask questions and engage with my writing, but *correct* me again, when in fact you are not right in proclaiming that anti feminism *is* only about what you say it is about, or comment just to get traffic at your bile-peddling site and you’ll be deleted and spammed. So what? Gonna write a piece about how *De big bad Feminazi wouldn’t let me bully her, Mummy!* ? Get over it.
The following underlined section is from Sam de Britos post “Man Haters” on the Sydney Morning Herald blog ”All Men Are Liars (Except Sam de Brito)” , posted Wed 5 Dec 07
This blog has tackled the topic of misogyny many times over the last eighteen months, most notably discussing how knee-jerk, two-minute feminists consistently confuse a hatred of women (misogyny) with sexism, as well as how men need to be aware and responsible for the way they and their friends talk about the fairer sex, as well as just how common anti-female attitudes are in this country.Misogyny is an ugly word and it’s my opinion it gets thrown around far too lightly; if you criticise or mock women in any way, some second-year gender studies student will accuse you, the media, the advertising industry, big business or Canberra of misogyny. Feminist Gloria Steinem declared in 1996 that “woman hating” is the only form of prejudice still acceptable. But what of its male equivalent?
Ask ten people on the street what the opposite of misogyny is and eight will probably say “polygamy” or “trigonometry”; in fact the term for a hatred of men is “misandry” and it’s so rarely used Microsoft Word’s spell check doesn’t even recognise that combination of letters (go and try it, I’ll wait.)
The fact is, if you were to apply the same criteria to misandry that some feminists use for misogyny and its “pervasiveness” in Western culture, you couldn’t turn on your TV, open a newspaper or attend a hens night without being swamped by our “hatred for men” …
In the book Spreading Misandry writers Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young make the observation that “like misogyny, misandry can be found in almost every genre of popular culture – books, television shows, movies, greeting cards, comic strips, ads or commercials, and so on…
“The misandric artifacts and productions of popular culture promote a particular world view. It is not a complex one. On the contrary, it is very simplistic. Symbolically encoded … is what we call ‘the conspiracy theory of history’.
“One specific group of people is identified as the threatening source of all suffering and another as the promising source of all healing. There is nothing new about this theory; only the names have changed.
“At various times over the past century, nations, classes and ethnicities have replaced religions as the representatives, or incarnations of good and evil. Today that is true of the two sexes as well.”
Now that it’s politically incorrect to blame black people, the Irish or gypsies for the world’s problems, assigning fault to men has become the wallpaper of modern life, with any number of TV shows, movies, books, comedians and commentators happily pronouncing men as stupid, vile, insensitive, greedy, destructive, self-obsessed “lesser” beings compared to women.
In her article ‘The Worse Half’ published in the National Review in 2002, Charlotte Hays said “that the anti-male philosophy of radical feminism has filtered into the culture at large is incontestable; indeed, this attitude has become so pervasive that we hardly notice it any longer.”
Like all prejudices, misandry does contain a kernel of unvarnished truth, as do misogyny and racism: some men are cruel, exploitative, manipulators of women and the earth, as some women are capricious, vengeful manipulators of men and the earth and some races are more war-like, prone to alcoholism, gluttony or dressing in polyester track suits.
This kernel of truth doesn’t make misandry, misogyny or racism acceptable but it does show us where the prejudices begin and offers men the opportunity to push against the stereotypes.
Perhaps the most notorious man-hater in recent history would be Valerie Solanas who literally shot to fame when she fired three bullets at pop-artist Andy Warhol almost killing him.
Solanas, who ended life as a prostitute turning tricks in San Francisco, was the author of a hilariously deranged 1968 rant, the SCUM Manifesto, in which she advocated all like minded women “destroy the male sex.”
Solanas’ tract is largely repulsive (SCUM stands for Society for Cutting Up Men) but, as mentioned above, it does contain seeds of truth that describe large numbers of men and suggest the way many women who’ve been abused or wronged by males perceive us.
“The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathising or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone,” writes Solanas.
“His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can’t relate to anything other than his own physical sensations.
“He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming,” she says.
This is a tad more eloquent expression of the old “all men are dogs, cheats, arseholes” line, which you can hear in most hair salons, nightclubs or Sex and the City episodes; however, while Solanas is instantly identifiable as a fruit bat, women who express similar views are seldom castigated for them or asked to question their assumptions.
As I’ve argued in other posts, it’s quite acceptable to act out mutilating a man’s penis in a television advertisement, when even the suggestion of doing the same to a woman’s vagina would see the spot pulled and pilloried and probably draw litigation.
So while hatred for women has an easily identifiable and much-despised name (misogyny), hatred for men (misandry) can barely be articulated but is accepted as part of life.
The nub of all this is that if we’re trying to actively combat one form of contempt, we’re almost certainly doomed to failure if we don’t address the other.
Problem 1/ your most notable “tackling” of the topic of misogyny has been to discuss the problem of knee-jerk, two-minute feminists being confused between misogyny and sexism. Rather than “tackle” misogyny, you opt for the misogynistic manouevre of casting women who disagree as reactionaries, as knee-jerk, two-minute feminists with no grasp on the meanings of words.
Problem 2/ You falsely limit and confuse the terms of the debate when you provide your own deliberately narrow definition of the terms misogyny and sexism, in order to assert, ipso facto, that they are utterly different and separate and you are guilty of sexism but not of misogyny.
Problem 3/ The resultant implication that sexism is not a problem, is in fact a problem.
Problem 4/ While you stopped the conversation with your friend who was being disrespectful and offensive by saying “Did you fuck that slut up the arse?”, you regularly write, and condone in the comments sections, many things about women that are equally, if not more offensive than this. ** (Examples at bottom of page) I would also like to ask where this friend got the information that you had or were going to, without you providing it, but that is a side issue.
Problem 5/ You assert that misogyny is an ugly word which gets thrown around far too lightly, instead excusing your writing of, and media portrayals of women, as one dimensional, purely for sex, gold diggers, vindictive etc, along with institutionalised discrimination against women as *sexism* but not misogyny. It is in fact the major crux of the first half of your argument, you evidently find it such a significant distinction to make, based even as it is on your false limiting of the terms to emphasise the difference between misogyny and sexism.
Then, in an amazing display of attempting to have your cake and eat it too, you paint the *equivalent* discriminations when directed against the character of men, as misandry and not sexism.
Problem 6/ Your double standards.
One minute you want to proclaim yourself champion of women’s rights, the most pressing problem facing the world today – your words, 5 June 2007.Y
Then you continue writing in ways which demean and belittle women and justify that as *sexism* not misogyny, but simultaneously label any and all mockery of men as the far more serious misandry rather than sexism.
Not only do you refuse to engage with the differences in the outcomes, gravity and implications of discrimination against women and men, not only do you seek to portray discrimination against men as more pervasive in culture and media than that against women, something I defy you to back up statistically, but you also seek first to efface the difference in impact and significance, reducing both forms of discrimination to the same thing, then you afford discrimination against men the gravity of it being misandry - a hatred against men – a gravity you deny applies to discrimination against women, instead labelling it sexism, which you define as simply acknowledging difference and nothing worse.
Before you launch yourself at my throat the way you do at every reader who dares to criticise you let me pre-empt you most likely manoeuvre:
Sam: Women *always* play the victim. But men outnumber women in physical violence and murder statistics.
Me: Women get raped by men, men they know and trust more often than strangers at a rate equal to rapes of men in prison. Women in Australia get beaten by their partner at a rate of one in four. Women in Australia are most likely to be murdered by their partners, particularly when trying to leave.
Men get beaten up *by men*, men get killed, statistically most frequently *by men*.
Does this mean men are *bad* and women are *good*?
No. It means masculinity has a lot to answer for, and men suffer because of it too. However, women are punished in particular, fear inducing ways. If you do not like the stats about male on male violence, join with feminists in deconstructing masculinity rather than on the one hand posting about stomping on each other’s head and biting off fingers as acceptable responses to mild irritations by other men doing such terrible things as cutting in front of you in the bar queue.
Problem 7 The authors you go on to cite. They do not (at least in the excerpts you provide) prove the prevalence of misandry, they assume it to be proven, and go on to theorize about it. They in fact are guilty again of the straw person argument, setting feminists up as saying men are the root of all evil and suffering and women are the source of all healing. Feminists say *no.such.thing*. Read some (and you might want to try a nifty little trick of reading a breadth of recent feminist thinking from a variety of sources. It is not ok to say to use a soundbite from say Andrea Dworkin and then deduce from this that this one line therefore sums up the entirety of world views of millions of feminists across history).
And here’s where I got so very very bored I could die. Is SO much more fun to mock and poke fun, or at least to engage with what I find more troubling than the fact he is a piss poor writer and pathetic at making an argument which would stand up to a stiff breeze, which is the fact that the man just does NOT seem to care about ethics at all. He cares about sensationalism and a quick buck, the hero worship of the blokes at the pub and occasionally doing a number on “I’m such a nice guy I could cry with self pride”, painting himself a champion of women’s rights (June 5 2007 etc) then writing on The Myth of Drink Spiking today.
Other problems in his article? This claim: Like all prejudices, misandry does contain a kernel of unvarnished truth…oh Christ…I mean really, who has the time, to pull apart the warped fabric that makes up the argument of a de Brito post and show how each and every fibre is built on offensive, unquantified bullshit as well as the problem with the bizarre way they’re woven together??
Sometimes I wanna take this guy out (in terms of disgracing him publicly about his writing and logic, not with a bullet, cos tempting, but you know, I have this pesky no killing thing) if it takes every waking second of my life – other times I wonder WTF I’m doing and why? He puts it out there so quickly, how could I possibly keep up even if I quit my job and gave up things like eating and showering?
The world according to Sam in the City of Sydney Morning Herald Blog infamy:
Men are all the same. Women are all the same. Men and women are NOT the same as each other. But all humans have the same experiences of life**. Men fuck women and women fuck men…or get fucked by them. A real lady *gets* fucked, thereby preserving the pristine state of her manicure and blowdried hair. She *obviously* doesn’t fuck before at least three dates have passed. No-one is gay. [Emphatic nod]
Life consists of little more than hair styling and make up for women. We hold down jobs, but these are funding to find and secure the love of a man…any man. Men are *great* aren’t they? Self respect relies on hours and hours of grooming. To be a good woman you must *incessantly* ask yourself idiotic questions about what men (all men) want. You must spend hours upon vacuous hours contemplating this with all the depth of a wide-eyed Bratz doll. To find the answer, you need only pose it, quote one famous actor, or ask two random twats from work (men of course, women ask questions, they don’t answer them…that would be as unladylike as fucking. And *enjoying it*).
Life consists of little more than maintaining the dick for a man. The dick demands respect from all, bow down and worship the phallus peoples. Self respect for men lies in education, careerism, health, hobbies, extracurricular interests, espousing on the inferior nature of women, holding forth on every subject like a clichéd monkey philosopher, taking comfort in your own innate worth and superiority over all ‘minority groups’, but above all the worship and maintenance of the dick and banging every woman you come across like the piece of ass she is. Except fat women – yuck. Or women with hair on their bodies. YUCH. Or your wife/partner. BORING. Or FEMINISTS….YYYYUYUCK, run, flee, disperse, every man for themselves, I will use you as a human shield if I need to, Grandma, this is WAY scarier than civil war. *HELP….they want to take my pee-pee away, I KNOW they do*
What is important in the world of Sam…questions of wealth, power and the equal distribution of resources? Questions of equity and justice? [Resounding silence in which frogs make frog noises and tumbleweeds blow through and Sam stares blankly in confusionwhile she tries to make sense of your words]. Um, *no* [shakes head emphatically]. How to keep the men happy!! Yes [claps hands with enthusiasm, the idiotic grin of her blog pic returning now she's on familiar territory again] much better, keep the men happy and…well…will everyone be happy? Well no, but that’s ok, cos in a couple of days she’ll post on some other vacuous bullshit topic like “How to keep your husband happy by letting him fuck every woman he meets”, “How to blame other women for the demise of society”, “How to ensure you never have an opinion again, thus maintaining your sex appeal”, “The five most uncomfortable-for-women-and-therefore-sexiest sexual positions, or “How to become a contortionist to fulfill his wildest fantasies, thus crippling yourself for no point since you have to let him shag everyone else in order to be a good partner anyway”.
Misogyny in a shiny blond wig. And WHAT is with the point at the cheek thing she does????WTF?
**this is probably because she only ever considers the lives and interests of the most wealthy and vacuous of Sydney yuppies.
I live not too far from my boyfriend. Sometimes he stays here. Sometimes I stay there. Mid week though, sometimes I’ll pop over for some quality time and either he’ll drive me home, or I’ll walk.
One night a few visits ago, I got wigged about the walk home. It was particularly late and I had one of those granny carts with me, with a squeaky wheel, and I wasn’t wearing my ‘stealthy shoes’…I couldn’t quite articulate why I’d been fine to walk home other nights, but not this one. But I managed the whole “I’m not feeling comfortable about the walk past the bush” explanation…which is true…but not all of the story, not that I even had *words* for what the story was…I just knew I didn’t wanna walk that night, and it wasn’t about tiredness/convenience.
Walking over there tonight (before it got dark) in a shortish dress I suddenly realised what was bothering me. In this dress suddenly men are tooting and honking and staring – not cos I look particularly hot, just cos “Chick. Bare legs!”, so I was pondering masculinity and the consequent strange attitudes to women – take a random sample of passers by and they’ll perve and honk at my 30+ legs which are blindingly white and show my love for food, but in another setting those same dudes will absolutely slag women my age for daring to show their thighs in public. So one minute my thighs are “Woohoo – sexy”, next minute their cause for nausea, all dependant on…what exactly? The mood of the guy? The company he’s in?
Anyway (bear with my rambling brain) I started to think of baring my thighs in summer as activism, that’s right ppl, check em out…they’re curvy, and pretty well shaped, but they’re also squidgy (which, let’s be honest, feels pretty nice) and white – they don’t look like Barbie legs, and I’m not gonna forgo a doughnut if I feel like one, spend hours at the gym then fake tan it up before I feel I have the *right* to bare legs in summer. It’s HOT in Australia in summer! So I figure, right…bare the thighs more often, the more often ppl see ‘real’ thighs, *perhaps* the more they’ll realise the ideals are…are, like totally fucking ridiculous…right? Maybe? *Sigh* Probably not. Whatevs.
Anyway, I also felt kinda naked in this short dress, exposed, like you know, it might be taken as an invite to attack me for me to walk..alone…in a dress which happens to be shortish…in summer…in Australia, where we like to point the finger at everyone else for having bad attitudes towards women, conveniently ignoring our own damning stats. I hated that it crossed my mind…but I dunno. I’ve read the rape cases…and *BAM* – just like that it hit me. Part of the reason I don’t wanna walk home at night in the dark after visiting my boyfriend? Semen. It will still be on my body, and say if I get raped (a possibility always on my mind when I walk alone at night) and the medical examination finds my boyfriend’s semen as well as that of whoever attacked me…that gets raised in court. I’ve read this shit. The implication seems to be, well, slut, if you had sex once tonight, then walked around on your own, you’ve only got yourself to blame, cos a/ if you did it once you’re clearly *up for it, no questions asked* (they never do seem to distinguish between sex and rape) and/or b/well, men are like rabid dogs, and they’ll smell *sex* on you and then, well, we can’t expect them to be responsible for their behaviour or act like decent human beings, can we?
Anyone who thinks I’m being a psycho bitch feminist? I defy you – read the effing rape cases and then get back to me. Read the sentencing of Bilal Skaaf (the guy accused of ‘masterminding’ a series of organised gang rapes across Sydney) if you please, where in distinguishing the actions of these men who organised by mobile phones, the judge was at pains to distinguish it from other (less repugnant goes the implication) gang rape cases where drunken men *siezed an opportunity that presented itself*. You! Women? That’s what you are to the legal system…an opportunity to rape. If you’re there and they ‘seize the opportunity’…well…what can we say? Unlucky girls…you presented the ‘opportunity’.
So, y’know..it gets to me. I walk home from my boyfriend’s house at night – which is actually a damned pleasant walk in summer – and the legal system that’s meant to protect me as well, since, you know, it *claims* to be all neutral and protect everyone equally, has cast me, by their own comments in rape cases as an opportunity to rape, who deserves it for being a slut in a short dress who had sex once already that day.
More on this (more well thought out, I promise) sometime soon. Tonight I’m going to bed.
So Sam in the City fashions herself after Carrie Bradshaw, despite lacking any of the wit and charm of that character, and despite being a truly awful writer. However, she holds herself out as something of an ‘expert’ (ahem) on the ‘issues’ of the modern [read hetero, 'post-feminist' - ie anti-feminist] women, dating and sex. This usually manifests itself as such cliched crap as when it’s “okay” to kiss or have sex on a first date, irritating in itself as even this less “serious” topic is laden with gender expectations, implications about your moral character and the future of any relationship should you kiss or (god forbid) fuck on your first date.
The thing (correction, one of the things) that shits me about her posts are that she frequently bites off more than she can chew – in fact, more than she ever fucking INTENDED to chew. So, what she’ll do is crap on for a few sentences, throw out an age old gender cliche, ask two or three fuckwits she knows what they think, make a couple of shithouse assertions,then opens it up to let the masses. She also frequently seems to be the apologist for women’s existence, taking up the “men’s position”, or rather, the fuckwitted males position before they need to do it for themselves. As in her conclusion that women are attracted to power, men to looks, her hints to men on how to ‘reel a woman in’ by manipulation of emotions etc.
So today?? “Do ex-wives (or husbands) deserve 50 per cent?” – as in payouts upon splitting. Well, you would think that for a topic this serious and sensitive that Sam would hit the books, right? NAW man, why do that? She’s a “sexpert”, therefore, she can crap on about a subject which causes hurt feelings, anger and bitterness to come out of the woodwork.
First she mentions Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, talking about the “whopping” 50 mill Mills stands to gain in the settlement (not, in fact 50% of Paul McCartney’s fortune, though I understand the confusion given the use of the number 50). So “poor” Paul is feeling sad at the media coverage…so I hear is his ex who is being called a whore and a gold-digger, who has had a visit from the Bobbies to inform her she’s had some serious death threats. Anyway, this is not about Paul and Heather right? I mean WTF do celebrity marriages have to do with the rest of us and the issue Sam claims to address?
So she craps on about various celebrities, contradicting earlier ‘points’ and just generally being both a knob and a shithouse writer, then…then we get to the argument surely?
Well she raises the abolition of no fault divorce, which she attributes to ‘individuals’ being manipulative and contriving fake scenarios in which they could show the ‘fault’ of their partner, with absolutely NOTHING to back up this claim. I would suggest that a massive change in family law had something more at its basis than a concern that some individuals were rorting the system in order to wrangle out of their marriages. Of course, she manages to make the point that it’s easy for many to walk away, leaving their ‘innocent’ spouse behind and make a packet. She’ll claim it was gender neutral, but it’s not…not when the media diatribe, the men’s rights clamouring, and the word-in-the-pub bitterness is all about the women making money out of men, not when she’s already written on women partnering up for money and power. Step one in opening the floodgates to the hard done by misogynist pricks to come forth with their tales of woe from which to generalise.
Then she asserts (again with nothing to back it up) that the divorce rate is 400 percent (or four times, though admittedly that does sound slightly less apocalyptic) than forty years ago…you know, back in the days when Australia didn’t ever really say ‘no’ to violence against women, not even in tokenistic ads, back when you ‘just didn’t’ leave. The only thing she offers in this post in any way resembling a “conclusion” is that it might be easier to strengthen relationships and marriages rather than fighting them out in courts.
Mmm…thanks for such a simplistic solution with absolutely no suggestions about what form such an effort to do so would take. Absolutely inspired. No WONDER you are a relationships expert!!
She raises “domestic relationship agreements” – a non-marriage type of prenup. Surprise, surprise, she raises it in the context of a man “protecting” himself from a woman. This is entirely consistent with the rest of her implications about the motivations of women and the dangers for men that women present. Now I’m a big advocate of the independantly legally advised prenuptials, I am a massive advocate of independant finances. However, I know from working for a law firm that all of this is contingent upon sufficient education, pragmatism, and the sense of self preservation. I also understand that women are at a disadvantage again. When we have lower income capacity, we will not have the same negotiating clout. Factors that complicate any attempt at a simplistic and generalised stance on issues of marriage, divorce and prenuptials include gender, race, class, religious beliefs, education, world view. None of these were taken into account in Sams “assessment” of the issue.
So, in failing to engage with any such issues, in doing her usual trick, ask a psuedo question, give a psuedo answer, she opened up the comments section with:
Do you think ex-wives or husbands deserve 50 per cent? Do you think domestic relationship agreements for domestic couples are necessary?
I have included some fragments from the charming comments section below. I truly believe her comments section reflects her target audience, the mentality, ethos and world view of her audience and her writing. Here goes:
As for DRAs [domestic relationship agreements] I don’t see the point – ever met a woman that was capable of sticking to her word???
Not frikkin likely so why bother paying for a DRA
great topic sam!! It’s such an interesting one, considering I have just been through a messy divorce and had to give up about 40 per cent of everything which I definitely do NOT think she deserved.
I do not know what the law should be, but all i know is that the court definitely favours the women, especially when there’s kids involved, and there are no winners, sadly.
The divorce laws are from an ancient time of housewives and low divorce rates, these days it should be every man or woman for themselves.
Am I bitter, sure.
Do I resent the legal system? YOU BET!
Moral is guys, if it looks like getting bad, hit first. Hit hard and make it a complete knock-out. Don’t bother trying to be nice of decent. There’s no upside to it for anyone but lawyers.
Most women in this country still have the gold-diggery mentality when it suits them
Mmm…Thanks Sam, thanks SO very much…with women like you writing, the Men’s Right’s Activists and their hateful misogynistic vitriol are hardly necessary. While you pass yourself of as a harmless sexpert, you play right into the hands of misogynistic arguments, while holding yourself up as a women’s writer. If you’re gonna tote yourself as a tee-hee, harmless blonde woman who likes to talk about dating, then stick to topics in which you don’t induce so much hatred. It is possible to write about dating and sex without being such a fuckwit, without continuing to beat women over the heads with the rules they have to obey, with the labels they need to fear, with the stereotypes that they are greedy gold-diggers. It isn’t like the SMH needs you to be such an anti woman writer – they already have Sam de Brito for that.
Tags: Ask Sam, divorce, domestic relationship agreements, kissing on the first date, misogyny, prenuptial agreements, relationships, Sam de Brito, Sam in the City, sex, sex on the first date, Sydney Morning Herald