Tag Archives: sex
There’s an article in the paper about girls not being taught skills to resist sex they’re not ready for.
I’m all for equipping girls to resist peer pressure to do anything they’re uncomfortable with, just not interested in or don’t what.
I’m a little concerned however that at the very least the reporting of the paediatricians paper at least comes off moralistic (I am at work and don’t have the time to follow up on the paper or paediatrician in question):
Being drunk or tipsy at the time was also common. But losing their virginity while intoxicated, which conflicted with expectations of sex being “special the first time”, left some regretting their actions.
Surely just as much of the battle in ensuring girls have sex they want, have sex when and how they want (including NOT having any form of sex that they don’t want) and don’t end up regretting it is teaching girls about pleasure and their bodies?
Sex ed focuses on pregnancy, biology, sexually transmitted diseases. Certain cold ‘facts’ about “sex”.
I use scare quotes there because it teaches them facts ONLY about hetero sex, ONLY about sex with another person (always of the opposite sex sending the message that sex is not something for you to enjoy alone, or that it is so unthinkable that you might be attracted to someone of the same sex as to reinforce the idea that there’s some perversion to same sex desire/same sex sex/masturbation), almost solely about penis-in-vagina sex, though with some embellishments as to boys/men and their sexual pleasure. It presents the cock as the thing with the desire and the womans body as the thing equipped to make that happen with a vague ‘nod’ to the idea that it will be pleasurable for both (not TOO pleasurable thanks).
If girls were taught about their bodies not as something secret and shameful, or as an object of desire and pleasure FOR boys/men, but as instruments of their own pleasure, if girls were taught about the clitoris and its potential wonders (that it’s there not for biology but for your very own pleasure), if masturbation was not spoken of as some biological imperative of the cock, a quick jerk to relax, a boy thing, a ‘healthy red blooded males response to chicks tits’, but as a healthy and wonderful thing that people can do to learn about and experience their own bodies, in safety and comfort, to experiment with what they like/what they don’t, if girls were taught that it was a vital thing to learn early about pleasuring themselves, about whether they feel pleasure around ideas of sex, about what they want, what to ask for, if girls were taught that it’s not their role to be the moral guardians of society, that they are allowed to want sex, to desire it, to have it when and how they want, to think about all the scenarios in which they would like to engage and those in which they would not, who they might be willing to share sexual experiences with and who not, then I think a lot of regret would be lost.
I don’t like the idea of pushing on teenage girls already being dazzled by hormones and puberty, society’s strange quiet around healthy discussions of sex and desire (and the simultaneous worship of it in tedious cliched ways that enforce the idea that CHICKS ARE HOT and BOYS ARE HORNY and WOMEN ARE FUCKHOLES and THAT’S JUST HOW IT GOES and all the virgin/whore stuff that goes along with that), the societal pressure to be one of the ‘good girls’ and the silently absorbed lessons of how ‘bad girls’ get treated and talked about that the solution to being upset by the ways they’re treated during sex is that they just need to be morally stronger and ‘just say no’.
Because what if the girl DESIRED sex, but regretted it because it became apparent that the guy had no regard for her DURING that sex? Should she wear the blame – is it because she had sex too early, or because boys are taught it’s all about them? Because what if the girl WANTS to be equipped to have sex? What if she doesn’t quite KNOW, if she has sex because she’s NOT been taught to experiment and to pleasure herself and so gets swept up in the power of arousal and has sex because she didn’t know she could feel like that, but then realises she wasn’t ready, or he’s a prick, or it wasn’t ultimately satisfying? If she had experienced those feelings alone, earlier, then perhaps they wouldn’t have the power they do?
Anyway, enough pondering, I have work to do.
[Eta: Helen has more at Hoyden About Town - her post being about the frustration of seeing more papers on how to teach girls to *resist* pressure from boys rather than teaching *boys* to behave ethicially]
Big time trigger warnings
Ok, ages ago I posted on the bruhaha over the Bill Henson images, and promised to post on the notion of the sexual ‘innocence’ of children and why I think it’s a dangerous concept.
Briefly, I think it’s dangerous to make *that* the harm – if the harm lies solely in the ‘corruption’ of ‘innocence’ then a it would seem that a range of things flow from this:
a/ the focus lies on the victim and not the perpetrator in assessing the magnitude of the wrong and the insinuation is that the *wrong* is the ‘loss of innocence’ rather than the fact that an adult is having sex with a child.
The adult, the person of full capacity is doing something they know is not okay, and they’re doing it for their own gratification. (Yes, we can get into chats about pathologies etc later, but I don’t believe that every person who has sex with a child is *diseased* and therefore *helpless* and I think to say that’s always true makes sex crimes the acts of monsters, and takes focus away from the overwhelming instances where abuse happens within the home, and covers over a real discussion of the issues at play when people molest children)
b/ this worship of innocence plays out in an unspoken suggestion that a ‘less innocent’ child is less wronged, or maybe even brought it on by their own behaviour. See above. Don’t have sex with kids.
In the context of a society that puts preteen girls on the runway, that fetishizes the teen body incessantly, that fantasizes about ‘naughty schoolgirls’, that pornifies women’s bodies in ways which erase markers of maturity and womanhood, that airbrushes even the Crowned Most Beautiful in order to make their bodies more like that of a young teenager, this innocence/not innocence trope is profoundly sinister.
We worship bodies that look fifteen, though to assuage our guilt we’ll tolerate bodies that look, say twenty. We sexualise girls the minute their breast show the slightest HINTS of budding, we accept grown men leering over young girls as A-ok. We’ve set society up for the pitfalls of finding sex with kids a tempting idea…and then the innocence thing…
We buy into archetypes of sexuality that rely on the corruption of innocence for their ‘hawtness’, teen and preteen porn is everywhere, men leer and backslap over teen girls (through the years, Anna Kournicova, the Olsen Twins, the Veronicas etc), we debate whether Lolita was asking for it, whether she seduced him or not…the trope of the hapless unhappily married man seduced by a sexy teenager is rife in movies and tv. The ‘naughty schoolgirl’ look has an enduring appeal for men’s mags/strip shows/porn sites, and the whole basis seems to be the idea that when men are honest, they must admit that they want to corrupt innocence, to defile youth, they want to make that ‘innocent young thing’ admit she’s not so innocent at all. That seems at the heart of it all – no matter what we say, no matter how much she doth protest…she’s still a chick and we all know chicks *want it baby*, yeah.
We’ve set up the notion that it’s desirable to have sex with very young bodies, and we buy into the innocence thing in order to get off, we utilise this innocence in order to pervert it for cheap sexual gratification and now as a society we have the hide to pick up this notion of ‘innocence’ as though we’ve not utterly perverted it anyway, and suggest that *this* is what makes sex with kids wrong? Does this not suggest immediately that if the child in question is less innocent, say she dressed all sexy-like, say she made moves, say she seemed like she knew what she was doing, oh, say she had some boobs…well, you know…that means it’s not as bad as when the child is ‘innocent’ right??
Does it not also rely on biblical notions of purity and corruption? Does it not make knowledge of sex or sexual desire in and of itself *bad* and *dirty*? Are not bad and dirty girls to be punished? Does it not locate the sin in the body that ‘tempts’? Does it not make a child’s body bared into the site of temptaion and sin? Does it not take the focus *off* the wrong, off the perpetrator, of the desire, off the society that says that desire is fine/normal and ok? Is it not just an easy fucking answer to absolve us of having real discussions of where we’re going wrong?
So, in case you missed it, I hate the notion that the wrong in adults having sex with kids is in the ‘corruption of innocence’ as it plays into the notion that some rape is worse than others, not due to how fucked up the rapist is, not to the barbarity involved, not to how much humiliation was intended, not to the fact that an adult thought they could use their influence to get off at the expense of letting a child come into their own sexuality in their own time and with persons of their own age?
I also think that this notion of innocence in relation to sex crimes is not confined to childhood – the old argument “It’s worse to rape a nun than a prostitute” still finds plenty of support. NO…it’s wrong to rape. Period. To suggest otherwise is to say that some women ask for it which is to say that rape is about women tempting men and not men using their dicks as weapons of humiliation, degradation and pain.
What’s raised all this again for me is the notion of ‘availability’. It seems (and I’ve covered this before) that women are *for* sex, that’s what they’re for, no matter what they’re doing/saying, underneath it all, she’s really just a body (a pussy), a site for men’s pleasure. I mean take a look at what we’re doing to Sarah Palin. Feminists ought to vote for her cos she has a vagina – Vaginas Unite! But also we can’t quite take her seriously can we? VPILF was up within days, and in my last post I discussed the Sarah Palin dolls. Cool. Let’s fetishise her as a dominatrix and a schoolgirl. Cos while she’s the Republican candidate for VP, she’s also a chick – see above for what we know about chicks.
Anyway, with all this, and with our notions about women’s bodies as penetrable is another linked idea – that women are always and ever ‘available’ to men. I mean you can see that in the way women are ranked and assessed and leered at and harrassed in walking down the street, in our commodification in magazines etc. But some more examples came up for me this week and made me really fucking angry.
Hoyden About Town has a discussion of a Jim Beam ad which relies for it’s humour on the fact that two really hot chicks are lesbians – it’s entitled The Tragedy. It’s part of an ongoing campaign which trivialises stalking and makes stalking ‘fun and funny’, and which suggests that women all really ought to be compliant, brainless, opinionless, human sex robots- the perfect girlfried is an automaton that thinks her piggish muntheaded man can do no wrong…ahaha! Oh women, they’re so ANNOYING, and stupid, and they EXPECT things, and they hate it when I’m a prick! God, wouldn’t a sex slave who thought I was the shit be great. Yeah, that’s what ALL women should be…and yeah of course…it’s a tragedy for men that two hot chicks would dig each other and not them.
Unsurprisingly the ad was complained about and the response of the Advertising Standards Bureau was that:
“The Tragedy”, was not intended to mean that it was a tragedy generally for women to be lesbians, but that such an attractive woman was not available to heterosexual men.
Well, phew. Lesbianism itself is not a problem to men, so long as it’s *ugly* chicks, and the lesbians aren’t going to begin stealing mens possessions – hot chicks. And EXCUSE ME??? The tragedy is that the hottie is not *available* to heterosexual men…men, not even man. Are you getting this everyone? All women everywhere are the property of Teh Menz. Teh Menz reserve the right to put their dicks in any such woman as they find appropriate -whenever and whereever and no furhter correspondence is to be entered into.
Hot on the heels of pondering this I hear this following story in which an 18 year old hid in the boot of a car waiting for the topless waitress to leave her job at the bucks party so he could rape her repeatedly calling her a ‘bitch’ and a ‘slut’, saying ‘You asked for this slut, you’re just a stripper’, telling her if she did what she was told, ie to let him rape her repeatedly while telling her it was all her fault, she wouldn’t get ‘hurt’. Curious definition of what counts as ‘hurt’. But fuck – any more chrystal clear examples of the attitude that women are ‘available’ to men? He saw, he hid, he raped, he took what he thought was his. He humiliated and punished, he hurt, he raped, he did his best to destroy her. Why? Well, really, she had ‘ no innocence’, therefore she ‘asked for it’. No innocence=sexually available=ought to be punished. The thing is it’s not confined to examples, it’s not confined to one fucked up dude, it’s about society’s fucked up attitudes to women and girls, to sex and bodies, to consent, to innocence/corruption, availability, sex and rape. It permeates everything, it’s there when we don’t acknowledge it, and it means that a child who is molested who is seen as less ‘innocent’ somehow *caused* the actions, or the topless waitress somehow *caused* this piece of shit to hide and rape her repeatedly. It means that the focus of sex crimes is taken *off* the perpetrator, and put onto the victim – is s/he sufficiently chaste enough to be deserving of our sympathies? No? Well, nasty ‘slut’ probably *wanted it* then – I mean for real??? Can we not put the fucking emphasis where it ought to be – rape and child molestation: DON’T DO IT – EVER.
Tags: anger and hatred, attitudes to sex and bodies, bodies, child abuse, do i hate men? Sometimes, fantasy scenarios, focus on innocence, fuck the world, innocence and corruption, innocence and purity, Jim Beam can go get fucked - it's a shitty drink anyway, rape, sex, the fetishisation of corrupting innocence, the fetishisation of young bodies, this is all fucked up, where are all the guys to help fight this?
One. More. Time.
FEMINISTS are arguing for Sarah Palin to be taken seriously as a candidate. We’re busy discussing her politics, the issues, what she stands for – the mainstream media is discussing her possible extra marital affairs, her daughter’s pregnancy, her pregnancy, can a ‘Mom’ work in the Whitehouse, and…VPILF:
Sydney Morning Herald Screenshot today?
The writing chopped off that should be seen running across the bottom of the picture:
Cocktail of Cleavage and Authority – Sarah Palin is having a remarkable effect on the conservative male
The pic leads to an Annabel Crab article, whom normally I love, but occasionally get shitted by – for the laughs she will dilute or skate right over the top of the issues that are the basis of the article.
Today we got a run down of men’s infatuation with Palin and Thatcher, including a “rough translation” of a Silvio Berlusconi quote that Thatcher was a ‘nice piece of pussy’. We get:
It’s something more; a compelling cocktail – authority plus maternalism, with a hint of cleavage.
And she’s hot.
And she’s armed.
Call it the dominatrix effect; it’s the same element that used to turn grown men into fawning, wobbling supplicants before the former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
She makes the quick point that Clinton was never discussed in these terms* (that’s right, and it deserves more than the one small paragraph it got – perhaps a look at the implications of this bullshit misogyny) – before attention turned to the *FAIL* by feminists to ‘deal elegantly with Palin’. Jeez, sorry we’re not being elegant, we’re busy discussing her stance on the *issues*.
So anyway, what’s Crab’s *evidence* of this humongous *Failure of the Feminists*?? Oh yeah. That the National Organisation for Women won’t back her play – that’s right the National Organisation for Women is busy fighting for women’s rights and choices. They aren’t going to back an anti-choice, anti-equality, anti-sex-ed candidate just because she’s got tits. In Crabbe’s books it’s a FAIL!!!! FAIL N.O.W, FAIL ALL FEMINISTS EVERYWHERE ON THE BACK OF JUST ONE QUOTE!!! FAAAAAAAIIIIIIIILLLL!!!
She sees this *failure* to back Palin/a woman,any woman, as a diminishment of the National Organisation for Women. I see it as standing for the rights of women to make choices, that’s right, the rights of the women whom Palin’s government would like to deny their choices, AND for the rights of Sarah Palin. We’re not denying her her *right* to stand for office, we’re excercising our right to say “She is NOT a friend of women’s rights to choose when/how they reproduce, whom they love – we wish her success and gainful employment, but we do NOT endorse her as a political candidate”.
The National Organisation for Women should NOT be backing a candidate simply because she ís a woman. Or because she is a mother. Or because she is a hot mother/woman. Or because she is a hot and able to shoot mother/woman.
I expected better from Crab. Not ‘because she is a woman’ because Miranda Devine is a woman (and by the way I would still fight for Devine’s rights to choose her lifestyle, to not be subject to harrasment) but because she can write well, and because she has the facts at her disposal – why did she not mention the explosion of feminist blog posts keeping an eye on the sexism of the media’s treatment of Palin, why did she not acknowledge WHY N.O.W would not endorse an anti-choice, anti-rights-for-same-sex-partners, anti sex-ed candidate?
*It’s true that for all the sex scandal surrounding Clinton, we’d never run a headline about his intoxicating ”Cocktail of COCK and Charm”.
Sam in the City has written another delightfully insightful post – this time she talks about ‘deal breakers’ – what attributes can another person have so absolutely heinous that you will not consider dating them? Atrributes that make your stomach turn, your knees tremble (in a bad way) and have you heading for the hills screaming “Get behind me Satan [not in a good way]“?
Her list is fairly instructional for the novice ‘Ask Sam’ reader as to who her bread and butter commentors are and what sort of tribalistic fevered ‘let’s assert our power by verbally tearing apart women and the kinds of women we *particularly hate*’ kinds of comment themes she’s fishing for. If you can get them going on that the comments (and therefore the hits) come rolling in.
So. What makes the list? Let’s see? Violent crimes? Blatant aggression? Terrifyingly poor attitudes to life? No?? Um…wait…gambling addictions? Fundamentalism? Wait, wait, I’ll pick one…a lackadaisical attitude to personal hygeine?
No. You guessed it. *Chicks with tats*, *Feminists*, *nice guys* and *pretty boys*
It’s just so EASY – she’s like a sitting duck. A big one. Out in the open. In duck season. With two broken wings, one leg and you’ve got a bazooka. Doesn’t seem fair really.
Let’s see. First up a *friend* with a dilemma “My b/f will dump me if I get a tat…should I do it anyway?”. Heavens NO young child, a man (ANY man!) is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD!!! What are you THINKING???
Then to illustrate her pearls of wisdom she goes for a little Paris Hilton slut-shaming and advises (quietly, carefully, like her friend’s an easily spooked animal who’ll freak being talked to like a real grown up) that said friend try a henna tatoo first – the alleged result?
” So she did. Half an hour after getting it done, she was ready to scrub it off. “It’s ruining all my outfits,” she wailed, and then removed it. Luckily she could …
She *wailed*??? After *half an hour*??? And a rose on her hip was ruining…all…her outfits? I’m beginning to suspect Sam in the City is not a *real* journalist, like sometimes she makes up pretend idiot friends who can’t make decisions and wail helplessly over the dilemma of a temporary tattoo that is ruining their outfits. Cos that is how women act. For real. We don’t know what we want. We change our minds more frequently than our underwear. When something goes ‘wrong’ we can’t fix it – even if it’s just washing a little texta off our hip, we have to sit on the floor and shriek over it first. We’re just *like that*
Then – feminism – new friend/contact “Oh helps! I’s feminist. Can’t find boyfriend! Should I sell out beliefs for boyfriend? Because clearly I must choose!” [Of COURSE you should ditch the lezzo hairy legged politics *girlfriend*, you''ll never get a root otherwise, and then HOW will you fake a pregnancy and make him marry you and fulfill your destiny by hating your husband, making him miserable, stealing his kids, taking his money and leaving him a shell of a man???]
Then…nice men. Oh yes, that old chestnut, thrown out by angry men world over. “It’s because I’m too nice…that those fucking bitches won’t fuck me! Goddamn those stupid sluts! They’re all the same! And they all want Collin Farrell! Or James Dean. Treat em mean keep em keen! They LOVE that shit! Why don’t they realise how NICE I am, that I’m hot shit, ready for action and they’re useless dumb girls who don’t know what’s good for them? I mean SHIT! It can’t be me right?”
Then…pretty boys. Because men should be rugged, manly and able to open beer bottles with their eye sockets. And if they are “hotter” than you, you will spend your life an anxious wreck, breathing into brown paper bags and vomiting into pot plants…because you couldn’t have anything else going for you. Since a woman is just a decoration, if he “outpretties” you, you’re FUCKED! (duh!) men CHEAT! Biological destiny! Written in the genes. Poor buggers.
Then she opens it right on up asking what are deal breakers for the readers, and what they think of her list. Let the slut-shaming, judgmental, woman bashing CRAP begin in earnest. Yeeeehaw! I gots me rifle, let’s shoot some kangaroo and drink rum til we pass out in our own vomit! (Where are all the supermodel hot, sports watching women who think that’s hot???)
September 3, 2008 Is the pope a Catholic? Does a one-legged duck swim in circles? Will Americans vote for another moron? Ahhh…you’ve stumped me
This article in the Sydney Morning Herald tells us that Republican Presidential nominee John McCain was “stumped” by the tricksy question posed by a wily reporter in November 2007 of whether he *thought the use of contraceptives could help prevent the spread of H.I.V* – John McCain “You’ve stumped me”. Asked if he would support the distribution of condoms if he *knew* that they *would* stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, he replied, it is reported that he had *never got into those issues before*.
Well, don’t worry John – I’m sure this won’t come up as an issue at all when you’re LEADER OF THE MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!
I’m sorry, but I think if you are *stumped* by that question you have no business in politics. It’s no intellectual curve-ball dumbarse…it’s like do you believe in gravity? It’s a no brainer. Condoms. Save. Lives. Sex. Is. Normal. People. Will. Have. It. They shouldn’t die for that.
Look, I should say up front I am a little grouchy of late over feeling like as a woman I am being ‘locked out’ of certain cultural experiences. Since it’s acceptable to slip in slaps in the face to the idea that a woman might be more than a live blow up doll, might aspire to be more than the focus of mastabatory desire into songs, ads, movies, television, office banter etc etc ad infinitum, I am feeling a little like I am getting a giant “up yours” from the writers/speakers of such media/forums.
So…perhaps I am being mildy uncharitable but I really think not.
The Gruen Transfer [triumphant horn music heralding the arrival of an ALL NEW type of television show...intelligent debate, insight, critical thinking and 'clever' humour].
Now, don’t get me wrong…there’s space for all this, and a show about advertising, a show which ‘bites back’, talks back, debates, unpacks, pokes fun at, subverts is more than bloody welcome, it’s a necessity. Except that this show stops short almost every single time. The best one liner? From a woman. In response to the question “What’s wrong with this ad?” the prompt delivery “There’s no brown people”. Which is great. Except The Gruen Transfer is there for the quick hit one liner, not to actually engage with these issues.
Episode One I think (which of course featured scantily clad young hotties): One panelist observes in horror that only one percent of Australian women think they are beautiful!!! Does anyone take up the invitation to intelligently discuss the role of advertising in this mindset? Oh no, Wil (as ever) goes for the cheap gag, quipping that that one percent are “up ‘emselves!”.
I thought, Hmm, the guy who made this point might make another…no. In response to an ad in which a disembodied tongue goes off on a frolic of its own, he expounds on how great this would be…you’d never have to ‘attend’ to foreplay again. You could watch tele, and say “Give me a call when she’s ready”. GET. FUCKED!
You know, it isn’t that I can’t see the humour in the one liners, it isn’t that I haven’t laughed. It can be fun and entertaining…it’s just that…well Wil in show two shows an ad featuring Kylie Minogue writhing and bucking on a mechanical bull in sexy underwear. She then defies the men in the audience to stand up. The discussion is about sexualisation in ads…Wil’s response “I know I can’t”. Yep, good mate, we got it. Hot chick=boner. I’m seeing who your audience is and it is not me. It isn’t that I can’t relate to the ‘hotness’ of Kylie – she’s gorgeous, the absolute pinnacle in that ad of heteronormative feminine sexiness…but ok…you tell me you’re gonna be critiquing, you display the perfect mastabatory fantasy scenario (go amuse yourselves for a while women who object/feel uncomfortable/are annoyed at the objectification and glorification of the Impossible Attainment of the Clean and Proper Body – cos it’s BOYZ TIME!!!) you crack a funny about cracking wood, and I’m supposed to applaud your intelligent subversive humour? Yet again. GET FUCKED.
Look, it’s slick, it’s amusing, I laugh at some of the remarks, I enjoy some of the challenges, it facilitates a surface level discussion (but it always STAYS surface level, the bottom line is a succesful ad is a good ad needs no critiquing or further discussion) and is better than lots of other stuff on tele. BUT. It’s SOOOOOooooo goddamned heteronormative, so white privilege, so misogynist…so the invitation for the average man who fancies himself a cut above the rest intellectually to ogle objectified, perfected, sanitised women’s bodies…and call it an intellectual exercise.
I call total bullshit.
The Bill Henson debacle – Part 1:
Art and pornography.
I have no qualifications here, and yet it would appear to me that there are some quite fundamental differences to the goals and effects of art and porn. Art uses nudity, and the naked subject to pose questions, to unsettle, to provoke thought, to evoke memory – we search the naked subject’s face and body language – how is s/he feeling? What is happening? What do they want? Art taps into nudity and sexuality to query or capture the effects of sexuality, of constructions of gender, of standards of beauty – perhaps we find a particular nude captivating, enthralling in its power, but the sexuality on display is complicated, rich, human, bodily…far more complicated and nuanced than the sexuality on offer in porn.
Porn it would seem to me uses nudity for the sole goal of getting us to reach into our pants. That’s why we look it up, that’s why it sells. We’re after the Macdonalds of sexual gratification, and there are certain archetypal representations of bodies, sex and sexuality which cut through all the conscious choices we make about sexuality and present us with some rather cliched images of sexuality designed for the specific purpose of getting you there quickly. Women playing either the virgin or the whore…girls writhing around with certain sexualised props, it’s all cliched poses and facial expressions, all “Golly gee Mister, I’d like some of what you’ve got there in your pants”, all “I’ve been a good girl all my life, but OH BABY you make me wanna be bad”, and “You can put it ANYWHERE”. In contrast to art, porn is not asking us to quietly, slowly ask ourselves questions about what we find erotic, it is not asking us to weigh and measure the standards of beauty or the consequences of sexualising bodies so young, to ask us to empathise with the conflicting feelings of a teenager who has had sex for the first time…on the contrary, the language advertising porn tells us this shit is HOT HOT HOT, the more “wrong” the more “hot”, don’t think, just wank, feel guilty later. I’m not in fact against pornography as such…I am against advertising and imagery so common on the net such as “Young teen slut takes it up the arse for the first time and cries”, and I am frustrated by the idiocy of the images based on sex=conquering=degradation of women=the younger the better.
I am against the teenage female body being held up as the ideal of femininity and sexuality – which it is in mainstream society in some fairly obvious ways. I’m thinking here of the revolting display of adult men salivating after Anna Kournacova when she was 15. I’m thinking of preteen runway models, sexed up to the hilt and modelling clothes designed for *WOMEN*, I’m thinking of the masses of ads for porn featuring teens, of modelling competition shows whereby teenagers are encouraged to sex it up or be percieved as cold…This idealisation means that a teenagers body is sexualised in a proprietary way (again I refer to being quite graphically sexually harrassed from the age of 13) by adults who should know better, that there are massive pressures on real teenagers to “sex it up” from an early age and that the standard of beauty is unattainable almost as soon as you reach adulthood (is “Enjoy it while you’re kids, before you’re too old to be sexy” really the message we want to send about sex to children?)
I cannot see the images which have been banned, so I can’t comment on whether I feel they have any pornographic qualities…however the images I have seen of Hensons teenage subjects have been immensly moving. It would appear that what Henson is doing in his work is examining the effects of our society on actual teenagers, investigating the pressures of youthful beauty, of the pressure of sexualisation on teenagers. The images I’ve seen have never been “Yeah, dig it, I just had anal for the first time, it hurt, and MAN that’s hot, here’s the Youtube video of him coming on my face after” – how can society thrive on an economy of worship of the teenage body, use teenage models, tell teens to sex it up, then condemn a man who tries to point out the confusion, chaos and ambiguity all this can set up for real people?
When I was growing up so many kids were having sex at thirteen or fourteen…I remember listening as one friend asked another how it had felt…the smile slipped and she said in a distubed way “It felt like a stick was in there”. I remember being really thrown. She seemed kinda proud to have graduated to this new grown up activity, but it seemed it had not been enjoyable for her in the least. It had been a service performed in the duty of her boyfriend. I also remember the beach parties I was never allowed to go to (I never argued that much to be allowed) – two twin girls had moved to the area from the city, one got horrendously drunk and the boys “took turns” on her. She was, by all accounts barely conscious. At school on Monday she was actively villified for being a ‘slut’, while the guys were business as usual. I say all this not to set up a seperate debate on the specific impact on girls (which is well worth having)…but to point out that adolescents do have real experiences with sex, often unsatisfying in the extreme, often barely or not consensual, often causing conflicting emotions…I have seen many images of Henson’s which explore this aspect of adolescence, and in asking us to remember what it was like, to remember the chaos, and angst and confusion, to identify with confused teenagers, to ponder growing up, to identify with raw emotions.
There are artists who would explore pornography in art, who would utilise any overlaps, who would use pornographic images in order to make us ask question about ourselves and about pornography. I do not believe that Hensons work falls into even this category. Every image I’ve seen has been to ask us to engage with ambiguity, emotion, motion, places, time, real people. None of the images have been posed in the porn style, they are moody, evocative, haunting, disturbing, ethereal…again. I cannot answer for these pieces as they’ve been removed and I have not seen them. But you know what? That’s enough for me to feel that these people have condemned themselves. If these artworks really are indecent, then show us so we know you’re right. To refuse to do so seems to imply that there’s a hidden/repressed paedophile in all of us, just waiting to be triggered by the mighty ‘temptation’ of the naked adolescent body…for one thing that’s a disturbingly bleak and pessimistic view of humanity, and for another it’s an awful thing to do to teenagers…”Your body is the site of temptation to sin”. Dangerous dangerous logic. I will write about that next post.
So, I’ve joked about this with friends before before, but I really do think that the world would be a better and more equal place…if penises were attached by velcro.
Hear me out!
I started getting sexually harrassed by men as I walked down the street at thirteen. Groups of men making lewd comments at thirteen year old girls? Instant red card. Ref comes in, snatches the penis(es) and says “You can have THIS back when you behave”.
I walked past a man once who waggled his eyebrows at me and made a noise like he was having an orgasm. It was gross and uncomfortable. I told him it was rude and asked him to desist. Everytime I saw him after that he wolfwhistled at me then looked the other way to pretend it wasn’t him. I mean I do NOT want to be reaching down his pants, but if I confiscated his penis, you betcha he’d learn to shut the fuck up. And at least it would mean I didn’t jump up and pummel the fucker’s face til he cried for mercy.
I hear the counter-arguments amassing: HORROR! You wants to take the pee-pee??? What if WE took your VAGINA away??? Well, firstly, let’s be honest, sexual harrasment is a constant for women, and penises get used as weapons, or as the threat of harm quite often in society, particularly where rape is used as a tool of war, or a tool of control. The vulva does not have such a prominent role as a weapon of violence. Second, I don’t *want* to take it, I am not saying let’s pre-emptively remove them all, I’m saying act like a tool and you’re on the bench for a few days, though I do think if we’re talking war, the penises come off til you come home, seems fair really. Maybe you can be alloted some alone time with them at night. But for real? Don’t act like a turd and you’ve got nothing to worry about. If you’re sitting there moaning about “WHY do the feminists hates me so much?” if you AREN’T behaving like an ARSEHOLE then this is not about you!
So I really think it works as a concept: you get to confiscate something of importance, there’s no pain, no violence, no ridicule, just a straight up consequence, like confiscating a favourite toy from a child who’s having a tantrum. You take it away, they have quiet time, they apologise, you give it back reminding them to behave better next time – except where they’ve been violent with it. Then maybe we talk about more long-term solutions. And they know you fucking mean business. Men might think twice before harrassing or scaring women. Choices and consequences dudes. Remember those?
So I’m thinking I confiscate them (yep, I fancy myself the Penis-Confiscating-Avenger), label them, store them on racks (like pool queues) and then the men come and line up and make their cases for having them back again. Any macho misogynist anger will result in a lengthening (hehe) of your suspension. Sounds infinately reasonable to me!
I ran this by someone a while ago and they thought I’d be utilising them for pleasure. No way, this is strictly business yáll. Confiscate and return. Besides, dunno if you noticed guys but when you are being an arsehole, we don’t actually truck with your penis. So if I’ve got a wall of penises (penii?) lined up on racks for being JERKS then it’s hardly likely to make me feel saucy. And some stranger’s disembodied dick? Sorry, they’re just NOT that irresistable! Hate to crush you like this guys, but we’re not mad for dick like we’re mad for chocolate. It’s contextual.
I mean I might be tempted to draw little moustaches on them and take photos, but that would be veering away from the respect for the business-like structure I’d like to keep in place.
Anyway. What reminded me of this revolutionary theory? Today’s blog post by Sam and the City. I know, I shouldn’t read her, it just makes my ears bleed with rage. But I did and it was horrible.
So it’s all about this amazing new author (Gareth Sibson)! Who claims [gasp] women are all boring! And self absorbed! And far too ready for sex! And nowhere near as sexy as they think! It’s really offputting for him (why doesn’t this guy shag his mates then? I mean they’re apparently SOOOOO interesting, witty, demure and coy, which are all the right turn ons for him. If women turn you off and are so inferior compared to men…why don’t you get yourself a boyfriend? OHhhh right. Women are fine for acting as a mastubatory hole for you cos you don’t wanna be like “gay” or anything! Apparently “real men” shag women – while simultaneously hating them and everything they say/do/think/represent).
Says Sibson: “These women aren’t as sexy, strong and independent as they like to think they are,” he says. “They are unsavoury and positively rapacious ladies with a penchant for boasting about their bra size within moments of meeting.”
WTF??? Unsavoury? Rapacious? Dude, you have a SERIOUS problem!
Sam asks us if the author is right. Should we conclude we’re all insane? We’re all boring? We’re all desperate?
How about concluding that this prick read his dates DIARY and spazzed out over her having a thriteen year old moment which probably meant NOTHING other than she didn’t know him enough to loathe him like he deserves, how about concluding he’s full of shit, that he’s another attention-seeking misogynist?
He’s a PRIME candidate for the first one to go up on the rack. Simmer down buddy, work through your issues. Choose your dates more carefully. Stop reading other people’s diaries. Consider your own idiocy for a while. Once you’ve done this and have reached a zen-like state, where I can be sure that vitriolic women-hating bile will not pour forth from you, I will give it back.
So I had to go in to uni on the weekend.
I study by distance education now, and it was an on-campus session. I was dreading the hours and hours of boredom in store.
I forgot the dynamics of tutorial set-ups.
You know the phrase “There’s always one” right?
Well he announced himself in the first five minutes with an Anna Coren worthy segueway from the Constitution into “…and I come back, and now you can’t smoke in pubs!! I mean what the fuck is with THAT?”.
Absolutely. Entirely the most pressing Constitutional concern in this country right now, one that has kept many a High Court justice awake at nights wrestling with her/his conscience.
Anyway, he was just the most delightful bundle of machismo and testosterone, in a charmingly squat, open mouthed package, and whenever someone dared to disagree he thought nothing of snarlingly swearing at them, hurling contempt with his barely thought out reply. It was fun, it really was to share a space of learning with the thug.
One of his finer points of argument over the weekend?
On the gender makeup of High Court benches
“Well! You know…if they’re dealing with cases about guys smashing up cars and shit…you’d want people who know about guys smashing up cars”.
Firstly I am now curious to know if there’s ever been a case before the High Court about “guys smashing up cars and shit”, and second? I’d really like to know what the FUCK Dyson Heydon would know about guys smashing up cars that any woman would not.
So the tutor. Oh the tutor. Not quite as blatant a dick swinger as this tool, but…well, I think he just preferred to wield his in a different manner.
There he is, up the front, in his button down shirt and chinos, all objective, neutral expert. He states from the outset that he is a conservative and against big government, then spends the rest of the weekend alternately making oblique proclamations which *tell* us what the role of government is and is not, and using the case law and articles to *prove* his points of the perils of Commonwealth power and the threat of the reds under the bed (Julia Gillard et al apparently)…EXCEPT that many times that weekend I caught him out in blatant misconstruction of the cases and the articles.
First he told the class to just ‘not worry about’ the critical discussions of Constitutional interpretation set in our readings. He proclaimed post modernism says that the text has absolutely no meaning (sorry, not quite it dickwad), decided it was all pointless and with no qualms dismissed out of hand the readings which were clearly set for a reason.
He told the class that the legal critic Craven is a conservative (not the sense I got reading his articles) and informed the class that Craven both slammed progressive interpretation (which he did, although miraculously the tutor “forgot” to mention that this was after he had ripped apart literalism as resembling “arguments amongst eight year olds with dictionaries”, and asserted that the text book implied that a section of the Acts Interpretation Act might enable this Unholy Union of United Unionists (Ok, that’s my phrase, I have fun with exaggeration) to alter the Constitution without a referendum, *conveniently* leaving out the fact that the very next sentence obliterated this theoretical possibility. It would never happen. Any attempt would be immediately challenged and found unconstitutional by the High Court which would find that the *possibly, possibly maybe, if you close your eyes and squint while very very drunk* reading of the *dangerous* clause would be read as being subject to the Constitution.
He informed the class that the second “Airlines” case represented a massive and threatening expansion of Federal government powers by obliterating a long held constitutional distinction. I will not bore you with the details (unless you write and ask) – suffice to say: It. DID. NOT. I am sorry but it didn’t. It is not a matter of opinion. It DIDN’T. It just fucking didn’t. It was at pains to emphasise the importance of continuing to uphold a distinction which most people find dubious at best.
When I pointed this out, he claimed that it did to all intents and purposes since if it was shown that there would be any affect on the trade in question that was sufficient. Again…BUH BOW…WRONG, thanks for playing. It explicitly did NOT do this, rather insisted that there had to be a real physical danger that by upholding the distinction the Federal Government would be prevented from performing its duties.
Ok. This is all very boring to many readers I’m sure. But dude was either ill informed or duplicitous.
So THEN. He asks if anyone knows of ‘the meat case’. I know the one he means and I say yes. He rolls his eyes, slaps his thighs and asks “I MEAN! Really! Can ANYONE explain to me what possible head of power justifies federal governemnt involvement in the regulation of the production of meat??”
I (not meaning to deadpan, having my finger ON the explanation in my book) say blankly “trade and commerce”. “NooooOOOOOOOooooo!!!” comes the disparaging remark from bogan-wannabe dickslinger over yonder “It’s QUARANTINE [he says in that "Err, ya fuckwit, as if you wouldn't know THAT" tone of voice] mad cow an’ shit”. I’m barely able to recover from that before the tutor beamingly gestures at said dickslinger and says in a tone of pride like “Look what I made”: “We have a constitutional lawyer in the making over here!”
Eh? Unless a Constitutional lawyer ought to actually be able to read and understand the Constitution and Constitional cases.
So. Apparently reading and understanding will get you nowhere! If you don’t have a dick and you don’t wave it around you get nowhere. So that’s what I learned (or rather was reminded of). It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how many readings you do, how many notes you take, how much you care about the law and the Constitution, how much you would like to discuss the history and interpretation of it to hopefully make the lives of anyone living in this country safer and better, to attempt to require a legal system which claims that it constrains and protects all its citizens equally to actually fucking DO IT.
Nope. Doesn’t matter what you say. If you’ve got a dick and you assert yourself in full belief that you are a genius and the whole world would benifit from your insights, you *win*, hands down, no matter how much of a clueless, selfish, aggressive tryhard wanker you are you will win with comfort and ease over some WOMAN who don’t know shit about guys smashin cars an’ shit.