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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 15,784

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My wife was murdered by a 'monster' – but most perpetrators of violence are normal guys

So very sad, this epiphany.

Jill had been murdered almost six months earlier, and Adrian Bayley’s defence team were presenting a rather feeble case for a four-week adjournment of his committal hearing. Bayley appeared via video link in the Melbourne court as I sat flanked by two friends and a detective. The screen was to my right, mounted high up and tilted slightly towards the bench. It was uncomfortably silent apart from the occasional paper shuffle or short flurry of keyboard clicks. Bayley’s face appeared on the big-screen TV, looming over my seat. When that moment arrived, a jolt of nausea came and went. But the worst was to come, made all the more horrifying because it was unexpected.

The judge asked Bayley whether he could he see the courtroom. I don’t remember his exact words, but he replied that he was able to see his lawyer and half of the bench. I had come face to face with him before in court, but I'd never heard him manage more than a monosyllabic mumble into his chest. This was different. There was a clarity of communication, sentence structure, and proper articulation. It was chilling.

I had formed an image that this man was not human – he existed as a singular force of pure evil who somehow emerged from the ether. But something about his ability to weave together nouns, verbs and pronouns to form intelligible sentences forced a re-focus – one that required a look at the spectrum of men’s violence against women, and its relation to Bayley and the society from which he came.

By insulating myself with the intellectually evasive dismissal of violent men as psychotic or sociopathic aberrations, I self-comforted by avoiding a more terrifying concept: that violent men are socialised by the ingrained sexism and entrenched masculinity that permeates everything, from our daily interactions all the way up to our highest institutions. Bayley’s appeal was dismissed, but I left court that day in a perpetual trauma-loop, knowing I needed to re-imagine the social, institutional and cultural context in which a man like Bayley exists.


So I found this website "The Art of Manliness"

It's not a MRA site, but while I'm convinced there are a few MRA posters, I think a certain number of men (and women) think more like this. (These are the ones who argue about doors, completely missing the point) Nothing so defined as this site, but more a vague feeling of what a man is and what men should be doing, and how men should be acting.

What caught my attention was a description of how to properly tuck in your shirt--- which I thought was pretty funny, up until I remembered all the fashion advice women are inundated with, then it was far less funny.

So this goes back to old fashioned basic definition of masculinity, completely heteronormative of course.
The article, "What is the core of masculinity" is interesting in it's naïveté, it's insistence that man was born to be the "protector"

We’ve covered the 3 P’s of Manhood (protect, procreate, and provide), and we’ve distilled them down to the fundamentals — the ancient, nearly universal standards of manhood that have existed around the world for thousands of years.

But in studying them, one can’t help but notice that their requirements are not exclusively manly. Haven’t women played a part in these roles, not just now, but since time immemorial? Is it possible then to drill down through these fundamentals even further, to find the role and its attendant attributes that are, if not exclusively manly, then the most distinctively masculine — the very core of manhood?

If we look at the procreator and provider imperatives, we find that they are roles that men and women share – and that what is distinctively masculine about them comes down to a difference in emphasis.

In the procreator role, it most certainly takes two to tango. The emphasis is simply placed on the man taking the initiative in getting the proceedings started.

In the provider role, men and women have shared the responsibility for contributing sustenance to their families since the dawn of time. Here the emphasis is on the husband contributing more than the wife, and making a more vital contribution (protein vs. plants, in premodern times).


Now this is patently bullshit, but at least it's polite bullshit. Or perhaps passive-aggressive bullshit. It's not so much Evo-psych (although it is that as well) as it is every western from the '50's.

The site has many articles, a variety of topics, and while I didn't read everything, these guys seemed to be able to remain civil.

The danger, or perhaps the futility, is that they are wrong, sickly charming, but wrong.

So I wonder if we have something else going on here besides the nasty MRA type derailments and DU's apparent inability to civilly discuss sexism or gender roles. These types, have learned these masculine vales from their mothers and fathers as well as society, and can't see their way to anything else. The core of the "masculine" ideal is under attack wherever they go, and you can see this in knee jerk responses. They wouldn't be young men nessisarily either. Anyway, the deeper you go into the site, the more the thought 'WTF' comes to mind. To me the fact that this site even exists explains those who are not MRA's but remain close minded and hostile to feminists.

Once and For All: No Bras Were Burned in the Making of Feminism

The 1968 Miss America protest where, contrary to popular belief, no bras were burned. Photo via Media Myth Alert.

In this excerpt from his new book Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World author Kembrew McLeod challenges some rosy visions of 1960s progressive movements. In truth, he writes, men dominated most counterculture groups of the era. Our cultural conception of ’60s feminism gets something else wrong, too: the idea that feminist protesters were rampant bra burners.

Many leftist men were dismissive and patronizing toward feminist activists or were openly hostile to the cause. One minor exception was a group that formed within the Yippies: the Women’s Caucus Within the Youth International Party, which formed a Yippie subgroup named SCREWEE!—or “Society for Condemning the Rape and Exploitation of Women, Etc., Etc.” But for the most part, women were marginalized from leadership positions in New Left groups. Feminist trailblazer Robin Morgan noted at the time that they were relegated to typing speeches delivered by men and, as she put it, “making coffee but not policy.” Ironically, the roles women played mirrored the straight society that chest-thumping radicals claimed they were making a break from. One pamphlet published by a chapter of Students for a Democratic Society cluelessly stated, “The system is like a woman; you’ve got to fuck it to make it change.”

The 1968 demonstration against the Miss America Pageant was a turning point for the women’s liberation movement. The sisters were doing it for themselves—coordinating with local governments, getting permits, and organizing press events. They designed a “zap action” to provoke a debate about beauty pageants and the patriarchal society that props them up. “There were about thirty-five of us,” says Roz Payne, a member of the Newsreel Film Collective. “We got on the bus and traveled down from New York to Atlantic City to have a little fun.” To dramatize women’s enslavement to “beauty standards,” some chained themselves to a gigantic Miss America puppet. They took a cue from the Yippies’ pig-for-president campaign by using a sheep to “parody the way the contestants (all women) are appraised and judged like animals at a county fair,” as one leaflet stated. “We crowned the sheep Miss America,” Payne tells me. “Some men would give us thumbs down. I remember one guy saying, ‘I like the ladies.’” The New York Times reported that the women performed their guerrilla-theater event on the boardwalk for “650 generally unsympathetic spectators.”

The action was collaboratively conceived, but Robin Morgan did much of the organizing work. She was a former child actress, and her extensive media contacts helped generate plenty of coverage. Her press release promised “Picket Lines; Guerrilla Theater; Leafleting; Lobbying Visits to the contestants urging our sisters to reject the Pageant Farce and join us; a huge Freedom Trash Can (into which we will throw bras, girdles, curlers . . .).” It slyly added, “In case of arrests, we plan to reject all male authority and demand to be busted by policewomen only. (In Atlantic City, women cops are not permitted to make arrests—dig that!)” A few did get arrested when an “inside squad” of twenty women disrupted the pageant’s live broadcast. They screamed “Freedom for Women!” and unfurled a banner that trumpeted “women’s liberation,” which stopped the pageant for ten excruciating seconds. The television audience could tell something was wrong—Miss America trembled and stuttered after the shouting began—but it was unclear what exactly was going on. Another woman was arrested for spraying the mayor’s seating area with Toni hair conditioner, a pageant sponsor. The police arrest report referred to it as a “noxious odor,” which wasn’t exactly the best product placement for the company.


Hey Assholes: Stop Threatening To Rape Women Because Of Their opinions

Last night I became aware of this, a review of the cover of Teen Titans #1 from DC Comics (this is an upcoming #1. Yes, they just shit out #1s like I shit out #2s.) by Janelle Asselin. It's a pretty reasonable review; I'm kind of impressed with the absolute depth of the critique.

But not everybody was so impressed! Brett Booth, the artist on The Flash gave some feedback that feels really weird and condescending and sexist:
Brett Booth @Demonpuppy
I see, the only way I can refute your argument is to not use logic, biology, google and also I can't have a penis. Sounds fair.
8:00 AM - 13 Apr 2014
1 RETWEET 10 FAVORITES ReplyRetweetFavorite

but the bad news is that Booth was among the most measured replies the critic received.

You see, I’m also doing a survey about sexual harassment in comics. (If you’d like to take this survey, you can find it here.) And so as soon as the angry fanboys started looking me up after the CBR article, they discovered this survey and started answering my questions and using the open box at the end to write in all sorts of awfulness. I’ve gotten all manner of bullshit within the survey now, but at least the ones with the rape threats or other asshole comments tell me which responses to disregard. If you really want to “get me” and prove that sexual harassment doesn’t exist in comics, I don’t know, maybe it’s better for you to answer honestly about how you haven’t been sexually harassed. Because certainly sending me rape threats proves my point, not yours.

What bums me out is how matter-of-factly Asselin shares this information about rape threats. See, it's something that happens to women who write on the internet all the time.

But they're just words, you say. They're meaningless. Those people won't really rape anybody. Maybe. Maybe not. The threat itself is a violation, an aggressive, ugly and frankly disheartening way of demeaning another human being for the crime of having an opinion. I have received death threats - lots of them, honestly - and many of them I brush off but some are scary. I've contacted the authorities about some in the past, and I will again, and I'm not ashamed of that. I can't even imagine what it feels like to be threatened with rape (although I did have one particular lunatic threaten to rape my whole family).

What the fuck is wrong with you people? How do you get to the point where an opinion about a comic book cover makes you so angry you make a threat to violently assault someone else?

I'm not trying to appropriate someone else's problems here. Heidi MacDonald at Comics Beat put it perfectly:

This is not women’s problem. This is MEN’S PROBLEM. I know most internet trolls are teenaged boys who don’t know any better, but this is MAN’S THING. This is something you men need to figure out and condemn and deal with. There should be MAN RULES about it, like how you’re not supposed to go into the urinal next to another guy, that kind of thing. Belittling, embarrassing, threatening and shaming women should not be some kind of masculine rite of passage. It should be the opposite of being a real man.


When Women Take to the Sea to Provide Safe Abortions

The Women on Waves ship heads to international waters to dispense the abortion pill to women in need.

The documentary Vessel begins starkly, with the reveal of a typed plea from a woman in Morocco in 2012. Her words are full of desperation: she needs to get an abortion but the procedure is illegal in her country. She is writing to an organization founded by Dutch OBGYN Dr. Rebecca Gomperts that helps women access the abortion pill in countries where abortion is illegal or extremely difficult to access.

Our first shot of Dr. Gomperts is of her racing down the stairs and outside into a loud, angry crowd of anti-abortion protesters in Morocco. They circle around her, screaming in her face, and pulling at her body. In the midst of it all, she administers and distributes paperwork that explains how women can get a hold of and take a pill that will most likely result in an abortion. It is this story—one of the desperation that illegal abortion causes and Dr. Gomperts’ tireless mission to help women access abortion in untested and unlikely ways—that is the center of this intense, emotional, and inspiring film.

Early on in the documentary, Dr. Gomperts explains how she began to think about how national laws are connected to geographical spaces. She wondered, “How could we create a space where the only permission a woman needs is her own?”

Taking inspiration from her time with Greenpeace, Gomperts realized that she could put a mobile women’s clinic on a Dutch ship, pick up women in international port, take them out into international waters and there administer the abortion pill to them. Since abortion is legal in the Netherlands, abortion is legal on any Dutch ship in international waters, which begin 12 miles out from shore. This procedure would not break any laws and women could get the medical help they were denied. And so, in 2000, the floating clinic Women on Waves (WOW) was born.


Salut Salon

What starts out looking like nasty competition ends up with incredible corporation

Feminist Father

Male monkey cares for dying partner

( in light of ridiculous "Evo-psych" arguments about male behavior, I thought I'd post this here; these are not apes, as pointed out, or particularly relevant here, but a touching story nonetheless)

The female accidentally fell from a tree in the forests of Brazil and the male comforted her as she lay dying.

Such behaviour is "astounding", say scientists, having only been previously recorded in primates among chimpanzees and humans.

The marmosets were the dominant pair in their group, having been committed partners for three-and-a-half years.

Within months of the female's death, the male left the group, never to return.

Details of the extraordinary interaction are published in the journal Primates, along with a video recording the behaviour.

His gentle care and attention towards her left me astounded”

Primatologist Ms Bruna Bezerra of the University of Bristol, who witnessed the encounter
Primatologists spotted the two monkeys while observing common marmosets living in a fragment of Atlantic forest in northeast Brazil.

The team, including Dr Bruna Bezerra of the University of Bristol, UK and colleagues at the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, in Recife, Brazil, had been studying the same group of common marmosets for a number of years.

While observing the monkeys the scientists saw the group's dominant female, which they called F1B, fall from a tree, hitting her head on an object on the ground.
Fatally wounded, F1B lay in agony on the ground for two-and-a-half hours before passing away.

"The most remarkable behaviour during this time came from the dominant male M1B," the researchers report.


Rape and death threats are all too common in feminist circles, just ask Laura Bates

From jokes to rape, there have been nearly 60,000 posts by women recounting their experiences of sexism and sexist violence since journalist and feminist Laura Bates launched her Everyday Sexism project in April 2012. Now the material has been collected for the first time in a book of the same name.

I’ve been familiar with the project for some time. Yet the sheer pervasiveness and repetitiveness which emerges when the material is presented in book form, accompanied by Bates’ clear, angry, witty, feminist commentary, is refreshing, depressing and enraging.

If this sounds familiar …

Everyday Sexism also feels incredibly familiar – and not simply because of the inevitable echoes with my own experiences. I have read this book before.

It is the book Clare Short MP wrote in 1991, comprised of letters that women had written in support of her anti-Page Three campaign.

It is Sue Wise and Liz Stanley’s 1987 book Georgie Porgie where, like Bates, they talk about the “drip drip” effect of sexual harassment in reducing women’s aspirations, modifying their behaviour and creating a climate of everyday fearfulness.

It is Liz Kelly’s Surviving Sexual Violence, which in 1988 introduced the notion of a “continuum” of sexual violence: a concept Bates uses to powerful effect.

It is Everywoman’s 1988 publication of the civil rights hearings on pornography organised by the late Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon. There too, women and girls talked about how men’s everyday use of porn affected their lives and sense of self, even before the ubiquity of internet porn.

I could go on …


Landmark Verdict for Transgender Indians

“This is an extremely liberal and progressive decision that takes into consideration the ground realities for transgendered people in India,” said Anitha Shenoy, a lawyer who helped argue the case. “The court says your identity will be based not on your biology but on what you choose to be. That choice will be respected.”

The judgment, released online Tuesday afternoon, emphasized the country’s history of discrimination against transgender people. India’s roughly three million transgender people are particularly vulnerable to public harassment, violence and sexual assault, sometimes at the hands of police, the court said.

Among India’s transgender communities, the hijra community is perhaps most prominent. The presence of a hijra at a wedding or birthday party is considered auspicious, but they remain deeply marginalized by mainstream society.

In recognition of this abuse, the court directed federal and state governments to address the “fear, shame, gender dysphoria, social pressure” and depression that afflict India’s transgender community. It also said transgender people should have access to separate public toilet facilities.

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