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Bringing you regular rage against the patriarchy, drenched in sarcasm and capslocks #FEMINISTFRIDAY

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Yes all women Vs Not all men

My nieces have finished their exams and look distinctly more human again, now that they have freedom from books and studying, what better way to use up their time than talk to them about feminism and current affairs. They were very happy about this (this may just be my interpretation of their facial expressions).

They are constantly on their phones and constantly online, I recently realised it wasn’t simply to follow One Direction on Twitter, it was also to follow Hillary Clinton and BBC news (remind me to never underestimate them again). Through the power of social media, they have the news at their finger tips constantly. This is good, generally. But it wasn’t this last week.

They read about Elliot Rodger in a 140 character tweets:

“Sexually Frustrated killer Elliot Rodger guns down victims”

“six dead in Virgin Killer rampage”

“I will kill all blonde s*uts says Virgin Killer”

“I don’t even remember being his friend, shock as virgin killer’s former schoolmate named as someone he hated”

Elliot Rodger was a 22 year old student who carried out a series of murders on his campus and in a shopping mall killing 3 men and 3 women. He intended to kill all women and blamed it on his lack of sexual contact and women who had rejected him. He believed they were wrong to ever reject him and that they need to be killed for their wrong doing. Now read the tweets again.

The media uses mental illness, his sexual status and his childhood to justify his murdering. Aside from this creating a whole lot of dangerous and uncalled for stereotyping, not even when the perpetrator outlines in a video manifesto of murder that he hates all women, does the media call it what it is; misogyny.
Here is an excerpt from his video manifesto script:

“I will slaughter every singly stuck up blonde slut I see inside there;

Girls, all I’ve ever wanted was to love you and to be loved by you, and wanted a girlfriend, and wanted sex, I wanted love, affection, adoration.

You think I’m unworthy of it, that’s a crime that can never be forgiven.

If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you. [laughs]

You denied me a happy life and in turn, I will deny all of you life, it’s only fair. I hate you, all of you.”

Understandably, my nieces were shocked by this, they were confused about how someone could do something, and they were confused about how someone could hate all women, to the point of wanting to see them all dead. My niece said, “I don’t think he was well” and she is right, I don’t think you can be well to do something like this, but I do think his illness was called misogyny. And it’s important we call it that.

It was a difficult, painful conversation and badly thought out news channel tweets didn’t help it. However it sparked something else on Twitter; #yesallwomen. Explaining how any misogyny impacts all women and how we need to desperately take this on and change our society. I pointed my nieces to this as the best education of the issue; from women directly and from the same source that had disturbed them so much. Of course this didn’t last long and instead was trolled by #notaallmen and #feminismiswrong…

It’s pretty pathetic to have to troll social media consciousness raising, because you are so insecure about what masculinity is. Every tweet on #notallmen is redundant. If any of those using it would have read just a few tweets or even done a quick Google search they would have had a simple query answered; Not all men are misogynist but ALL women suffer the consequences of misogyny, and the focus of feminism is the latter. Simple as that.

Irony was of course lost on the people of twitter, as a hashtag stating “not all men  are misogynist”, was using classic patriarchal methods to silence the solidarity and experiences of women. Kind of screwed up your own point there.

Starting the tag not all men, was purposefully created to derail women’s conversations, however it backfired. Massively. With both men and women explaining, ranting and often with fabulous wit, the absolute pointless and patronising endeavour of this social media stunt.
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Thankfully #yesallwomen has won the patriarchal social media battle (this week) as the hashtag is STILL going strong today and had been a source of education for many:

When mainstream media is unable to call a story of violence against women what it actually is, it is the job of social media and “ordinary people” to take forward and shout about it; and keep going in the face all the silencing and abuse, because, yes, all women, feel the consequences of.

Our Acceptance of Blurred Lines

Hey BBC, you did good.

I watched Kirsty Wark’s programme on sexism in 2014, and it was brilliant. It explored how deep rooted sexism is, how easily it can ignored. Most importantly it showed Kirsty’s disgust and the darkness that exists across our society when you stop to actually think about that joke, that lyric or that advert. It clearly made people uncomfortable and sexism should make people uncomfortable. The show analysed the sexism that happens every week after Question Time. Each time Stella Creasy, Mary Beard, Harriet Harman, or Ruth Davidson get asked on (which is rare enough) they are abused in the most abhorrently misogynistic way across social media. It is vitally important that this is highlighted and people are made to feel ashamed of their conduct. These are misogynists hiding behind anonymity, silencing women out of public life. Well done to the programme for revealing that this silencing of women is the responsibility of everyone and that just because it happens on Twitter, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening in real life. 

You can watch it here.

The programme importantly highlighted how normalised sexism and misogyny is today, and what it reveled was that when you accept even one aspect of sexism, you are more likely to accept the next level of “up” of inequality. Go to 21.30 minutes and we hear from a psychologist who tells us that a man who holds some sexist views perceives sexual harassment or “humorous” sexism as acceptable and even empowering. These individuals were more likely to accept the under-representation of women in parliament, a decrease in women services and inequality in the sharing of household chores. Kirsty Wark excellently explains that when we laugh along, dismissing it as a joke, as bystanders, we endorse the sexist views some men hold and therefore reinforce it to be stronger. 

But there is another dimension. It isn’t just “some sexist attitudes” that we may be reinforcing, it is a sexist society we live in. Having some sexist views is the norm, in fact seeing everyone as equal and being free of prejudice is actually an abnormal mind to have. Because everyday we encounter sexist messaging; we are brought up in that environment and we are normalised to it. To divide people as definitely not sexist or definitely sexist and therefore more impressionable, is actually pretty disingenuous. 

The part that left me speechless (not an easy thing to do) was the longest standing editor of Loaded Magazine (yes, it’s hardly a surprise). He said that Loaded “celebrated” women (to which, much to my happiness Kirsty Wark shook her head and laughed), he then said he believed people were intelligent enough to decipher that the magazine is not endorsing objectifying women…right.

Kirsty Wark showed said editor the Blurred Lines video, to which he said “I don’t think that’s so bad”, when she showed him the “we saw your boobs” clip from last year’s oscars he responded “that’s not funny, that’s why that’s not ok”, He was shown a “I’m feeling rapey” t-shirt and said “that’s not funny, that is misogynistic” But here’s the problem, it’s not about how funny it is (aside from that being pretty subjective) it’s about what it says about women, whether someone laughs or not. 

The former editor of loaded magazine also goes on to say essentially poor men feel bad, that’s why it’s happening. Wholly missing the issue of why women are made to blame for that feeling or indeed why that feeling exists at all. 

There is a continuum here, which is a nuance missing from some of those objecting to the idea that sexism exists today. What is ok and what is not ok, in fact is essentially one in the same. All we are doing is increasing our tolerance to what is not ok. Let’s take a look at sexism according to that editor:

Loaded magazine – ok

Loaded magazine content – ok

Blurred lines video -ok

Blurred lines lyrics – ok

T-shirt with domestic abuse – ok

T-shirt with explicit rape joke – Not Ok

When you put it in a list like that, that definition of “ok” and “not ok” is pathetically redundant. Every single aspect of what comes before the “Not Ok” plays a role in developing a culture of tolerance to sexism and misogyny. From rape jokes by unimaginative comedians, to the latest music video, from rape threats on twitter to killing prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto; all of this contributes to a culture where the “not ok” is becoming further removed and more misogynistic every day. The tolerance level to sexism is already dangerously high and those blurred lines, when you think about it, are not actually all that blurry. 

Amazing work Kirsty Wark. Can we have a programme like this every week? Please?

 

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