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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

Tag Archives: gender

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.

Matron’s back.

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”. 

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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”.

Um.

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. 

Anyway…

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.

Sigh.

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.

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So, pretty soon I’m going to need to take a break from the blogging about all the shit surrounding gender and sexuality that pisses me off (and I’ve not even covered the tip of the iceberg so far). I’m coming in to a pretty full-on year, and for the last little while I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed – with apprehension about the pressures of the next few years of study while working and raising my son, with thinking through all kinds of future options, and with processing lots of stuff from the last couple of months. And in the middle of this, the frustration and anger I feel over the fact that gender issues get dismissed by so many people, and so aggressively at that, is beginning to seep into my personal life and affect my overall happiness.

I was going to take a break starting immediately, until I was in the waiting room of the doctors surgery. ABC radio had a story about a car festival thingy down south (didn’t catch the exact name) where there’s been an escalation over the last few years of groups of men getting aggressive and demanding that female attendees expose themselves for the fun of the men. This stuff is being blogged about in the U.S, and it’s all a bit scary really. There are some women saying they don’t mind, and others saying “Great. How lovely for you. Only that reinforces to the guys that they can shout at ME and expect me to do it””.

In this particular radio interview they were discussing an example involving a thirteen year old girl. In the midst of this they discussed the phenomena in general, with the interviewer saying, nonplussed “Makes you wonder why these guys even take their girlfriends”…hold the phone! This makes them sound like pets on leashes. Perhaps the woman was taking her boyfriend/girlfriend/kids, perhaps she was there on her own. Many women love cars (and power to them, I’d rather shoot myself in the foot, even without the shouting arseholes) – so let’s not jump to conclusions that the only times women are present at these types of events or *should* be present is when they are feigning interest for the sake of their menfolk.

But, if we leave even that aside, the next caller was a woman, who sounded a little older (somewhere around fifty-ish if I had to guess), anyway, there was some background chatter in the surgery at this point, all I could hear was her anger. Imagine my surprise (or, rather more sadly, not surprise at all, just the familiar disappointment) when I realised that she was not angry with the men for their vile behaviour, but at the women who took offence or complained! She was LIVID! (Same old bullshit of “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”, and don’t dress to look sexy if you don’t want harassment, which roughly contextualised amounts to “If you don’t like being sexually harrassed and frightened, stick to a Tupperware party, you great big asking-for-it hussies!”)

The interviewer stepped in to remind her that in fact we were talking about a thirteen year old girl (and let’s for the sake of time and not driving ourselves COMPLETELY mental, leave aside the fact that this implies that older women have less to complain about). The caller then said (and you must imagine for yourself the palpable indignation and contempt flowing across the airwaves as I can’t provide audio for you) “Phh, yeah, right…thirteen going on twenty FIVE! I mean, the way these girls dress sometimes…then they’re surprised at the attention they attract”

That’s right dear, feed the girls you know Barbies, Bratz, Hi Five and music videos, encourage them to dress like *proper* girls, and then BLAME them for being harrassed at a young age. You know what? It doesn’t MATTER what you wear – at thirteen I got around in big baggy overalls – I had like six pairs of the fucking things, I was timid and shy and in no way thought of myself or sought to present myself as in any way sexual, and was constantly getting the attention of middle aged perverts saying “Show us yer jugs” and “OOOOOhhhh, LEGS up to HERE”. What the fucking FUCK? And PLEASE…I dressed like this just cos I was a big ole nerdy Christian and I wore the overalls cos I was fashion clueless and thought they were kinda “neat” –but if I’d fitted in more with society’s pressures, if I’d dressed more “sexy-like”, like the cool girls does that for a SECOND mean that I *deserve* sexual harrasment?? What about the eight year olds you see whose parents dress them in mini skirts and micro shorts? Do they deserve harrasment?

So away from me and back to the scenario at hand. This woman was more than comfortable to brand some thirteen year old she didn’t know, had never met, had never fucking seen, a total gagging-for-it slut in the making in order to defend the behaviour of jeering, leering, beer-sodden arseholes screaming for pussy and tits as above reproach. Nice one lady. And the thing is, your hear this sort of shit ALL the fucking TIME. And it’s THIS, this in particular that makes my blood BOIL. That we don’t leave the responsibility for revolting behaviour at the feet of those who dish it out, but we find ways to blame those affected.

So, before I go on my break, before I take some time away to just *be*, to try to remember that not everyone is as much an arsehole as this, though so many are, let me set out a little bio if you will, a little timeline of the stories of people I know who have been affected in the more clearcut and violent ways, by the upshot of constructions of masculinity and femininity, so that I might give people a clearer understanding of why I’m a feminist, why this shit matters so goddamned much to me, why it might occasionally become something I dare to feel personally furious  over, and why I won’t just put it down, walk away and play *nice*.

Hm. Locked in a cubby house at the age of I think five and told I’m not allowed out til I give my cousin a “root”. Got away. Lucky me.

Another cousin sexually abused for years by his male cricket coach.

Best friend raped and stabbed at eleven because the guy next door pretended to be disabled so she’d help him.

Watched my uncle kick the ever living shit out of my cousin while I screamed at him to stop and no one stepped in cos they didn’t want to “make it worse”.

Cousin’s grandmother got raped as she got out of her car in the driveway.

Girls in highschool who “drank too much” at the local beach parties ended up branded as *sluts* after the guys they had classes with “took turns on them”, but it was never ever called rape.

Had a boyfriend punch me in the face and kick me in the back because he didn’t like what I was saying.

Got stalked by my ex to the point where I dropped down to a size eight, my size eight pants fell down and my hair came out in chunks. Had the cops insist I *go outside and sort it out* with him even though I’d run in there to hide because I didn’t feel safe. Had the cops then refuse to help me fill out an AVO application.

Cousin’s friend’s dad drives her into a cliff face on the highway because he’s angry at his ex because they are getting a divorce. Both die, while the mum is on the phone listening to her daughter scream about how frightened she is.

Throw in a handful of friends with abusive fathers, friends who have been gay bashed, an aunt who was raped repeatedly by groups of her relatives from the age of three, a great friend facing discrimination and harassment for being gender queer, a few cases of sexual harassment in the office, a guy who decided to continually call and get in my face ad menace me because I chose not to go on a date with him (because he creeped me out – good call).

And this is in my life, my privileged little life as an Anglo white girl in a “good suburb” in a safe country.

I could go on and on and on. The one thing I’d like to point out is that those who mock the correlation between the types of violence mentioned and gender are those who would seek to refute the power of constructions of gender by recourse to biology – you know, the old “men act this way cos of our gonads” chestnut.

Have a think people – it’s THIS view that leads to the view that all men are arseholes, all men are rapists – if violence and aggression are caused by possession of a pair of testicles, and men, statistically speaking are far more frequently the perpetrators of violence, violence against men, women and children, then lookout people – ALL MEN ARE BASTARDS. Funnily enough, feminism, always accused of such a view says nothing of the sort.It says that constructions of masculinity and femininity are the problem, and it kinda expects people to be smart enough to notice the totally fucking OBVIOUS difference between “Gender constructions are fucking us all up in many, varied and violent ways” and “All men are bastards, we hate them”.

So when I get back, rather than railing over the fucked-up-ness that is so many people’s attitude to feminism and gender, which is totally warranted, but leaves me sad and exhausted, I think I might take some time to write on gender construction and gender performativity, as I think writing on the theoretical aspects which actually concieve of ways out of this mess, might help to write about this stuff without making me despair of humanity. I mean really, to look at all the stats of men hurting each other, men hurting women, men hurting themselves, then say “It’s all down to the testicles” gives no way out, no solution, no conclusion to be drawn other than that men are biologically destined to be aggressive, violent, self harming arseholes. This, thanks all the same, is the stuff that comes from MRAs and anti-feminists, not from feminists. Having a look at the MRA websites of late, it’s their arguments which degrade men, and reduce them to animals bound by their biology, not mine, and not feminism’s. What a bleak fucking view of humanity. What a sad, disgusting, pathetic picture of what our lives can be. Feminists fully expect that men are utterly capable of behaving like decent human beings. Feminists acknowledge that gender constructions damage us all, and are looking to question and re-evaluate these constructions for the benefit of men and women.  

What the hell is so wrong with that??

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No posts from me for the next couple of days. I am deeply, deeply tired and sad over gender stuff.In a conversation in which I dared to suggest that gender privilege should be marked and monitored carefully in the same way as other forms of privilege it was declared by a critically engaged and culturally informed male friend that if I do not narrow the focus of my critique of masculinity I “am”

*just another man hater*

full stop. the end.


(the Phallus reserves the right to make such judgments and no correspondence will be entered into)

Not having a phallus myself I am deeply fucking exhausted by the experience of being told I was “just wrong”, of having my ability to define my take on a given situation for myself misinterpreted, used against me and taken away from me. I keep trying to write a new post, but the force has been stripped from my arguments by the disappointment and sadness I am feeling over the fact it’s just that easy. *I am a man, I don’t see it that way, you see it that way because you are a woman, ipso facto, you are wrong and if you think otherwise you are a man hater*

Fuck that. And fuck him for pulling that shit. And fuck misogyny. And fuck this stubborn idiocy of claiming that we don’t have to mark gender privilege. Fuck men assuming that their intention rules the reading of any given situation. Fuck masculine experience being designated ‘neutral’ and therefore having the veto power over female experiences. Fuck men within academia trumping gender with class, as if it’s a goddamned competition, as if we can’t consider both, and the connections between the two, proudly taking up the mantle of being ‘working class’ as if class doesn’t shift with time, experience, education and access to postgraduate studies and facilities, as if class issues don’t also impact unfairly on women. Fuck bowing to men’s take on the situation. Fuck being apologetic.

So I am off to spend an actual weekend in my house, with my child, with my friends, with my boyfriend – if my ability to critique the world around me is going to be neutralized by a few quick phrases then I’m not fucking playing this weekend. I’m going to eat, cook, clean, bum around the house and regroup. I’m also probably never going to receive an apology. After all, I’m only a woman, only a ‘man hater’ therefore aggression towards me, silencing me, misrepresenting my arguments, interrupting and refusing to allow me to speak for myself, reducing my views to being the result of my ‘minority’ status, and concluding ‘I’m wrong’ are totally fucking acceptable…it isn’t like I’ve really got anything to whinge about is it? I’m not a working class man 

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So. After getting riled about Sam in the City’s Oh-So-Insightful addition to the new, refreshing and utterly astonishing topic of Sluts v Studs, Is there a Double Standard in the House (forget the real title), I read Sam de Brito’s article on racial slurs.
So – if you wanna see it, you’ll have to check it out at:

*It’s VERY bad, and very offensive, so don’t say I didn’t warn you*

http://blogs.smh.com.au/lifestyle/allmenareliars/archives/2007/10/where_do_we_stand_with_racial.html

And then – at work, trying to keep on top of the things I was being paid to do, so I sit with pen and paper and write an alphabetical list of resonses to each of his ‘points’. Still riding high on the wave of my indignation, I hop online, type furiously, realise a few points are repetitive and (*oh no*, I hear you say…*oh yes!!!*) I delete some friggin points. And hit send. So. I reread it and my heart sinks. I’ve missed letters C, F, and L. Shit. Way to look like a fool. Anyway, we can always hope they don’t notice right:

So, here’s my response, and Sams little addendum:
Oh God. How boring!
Let’s see:
A/Why do you say Simmonds and the Indian crowd are of ‘similar race’ – what do you mean here? “Non white”??
B/ with what authority to you proclaim it’s a It’s a Hollywood cliche that it’s fine for a black man to call another man “nigger” but a cause for physical violence if a white guy does the same? How would you know the thoughts and experiences of people who face discrimination, police harrasment etc and who know people have been hanged for being a ‘nigger’?
D/You say it’s ok to call someone a ‘wog’ – ok for whom? It’s still rude and racsist. With any words, if you are friends, and have an understanding about the use of certain words, that is one thing, but if not, just don’t
E/Why is the “question” of ppl of “similar” racial backgrounds “far worse” than the blatent racism described in your expample??
G/You pity the taunters and that’s your choice. It doesn’t excuse racism, doesn’t remove the harm done historically (think of lynchings, stolen generations etc – remember your experience is not that of everyones, and certain discriminations have been more violent than others)
H/Language is always being altered and redeployed but it doesn’t mean that words with a history of violence and bigotry get to ok for general use. Those oppressed by the words have the choice of how to respond to or redeploy those words, and what’s more, they don’t have to agree with each other just because they are of a “similar” race, and more than you and i have the same opinions
I/”Blackfella” is ok, according to you. According to who else? While Indigenous Australians have often redeployed terms used to oppress and wound as a source of defiance, humour and pride, that doesn’t mean it is ok for us, living off the profits of stolen land and wages to use that term.
J/Who exactly considers “Leb” and “Lebo” to be ‘neutral’ terms? Perhaps the thug chasing a guy screaming “Kill the lebs” in one of the attempted attacks at Cronulla agrees with you
K/Exactly why would any white person, knowing the use and context of the word ‘boy’ as used by whites against African Americans, say “my boy” to a person with dark skin ever?
M/The Irish do not currently face beatings/lynchings/systematic discrimination in Australia in the same way that other groups do. That’s the difference

Please never let me sit next to you at dinner. – Sam

I think about letting this slide…and come down in favour of letting fly – with

Oh Sam, I would never make the mistake of sitting next to you at a dinner table. You may think you are witty and funny, but you’re terribly, horribly boring.

To which HE then replies with

Sssssssssss. It’s like listening to a blank tape. – Sam

So. That’s enough, right? Wrong.

I get called boring in response by a dude who picks up the missing letter issue. Fine, fair call (on the latter). Then another dude calls me ‘too stupid for words’. I think on this, decide I don’t care…except…he didn’t bother to engage with the argument, just pointed out two, and two only of the missing letters as follows

Just for future reference, “c” comes between b and d, and “f” comes between e and g.

So, maybe if your so bored you could use the time learning the alphabet.

Today’s lesson was brought to you by the letter w for wanker and the number 2 for “you are just 2 stupid for words”.

(NOICE, huh?)
So I said
Hey ‘****’ [not sure about rules in naming names] – I know exactly where c and f are in the alphabet. I kept them aside to use on you.

You wanna call me stupid? How about addressing my arguments rather than critiquing my deployment of the alphabet? And if I’m too stupid for words, try looking up your/you’re and using the correct version next time. Also re-read it. I also missed l – you know, for loser??

Posted by: had enough on October 18, 2007 9:24 A

Sigh. So you know. After that all day yesterday and last night and this morning…my head HURTS!!!

A little disclaimer here – don’t give a shit about spelling when it comes to blogs. I type fast, I make typos, everyone does, arseface included…I wouldn’t have picked a fight over his grammatical error had he not been such a prick over the missing letters, and had he stuck to the issues at hand.

Gotta dash. This blogging thing is addictive, and I’m molding to the computer chair.

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