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Member since: Wed Oct 22, 2003, 10:58 AM
Number of posts: 111,492

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"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt

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“Men’s rights” groups go mainstream Once seen as a lunatic fringe, reactionary anti-women groups...

“Men’s rights” groups go mainstream

Once seen as a lunatic fringe, reactionary anti-women groups are courting respectability


The more moderate men’s rights movement also features some high-profile “converts.” Joyce introduces us to Glenn Sacks,a popular fathers’ rights radio host and writer who she describes as “a former feminist and abortion-clinic defender.” Dismissive of the Bernard Chapins of the world, he’s working toward the comparatively modest goals of increasing shared custody and lightening divorced dads’ child-support obligations during the recession.

What’s so wrong with those goals, you may well wonder. As Joyce illustrates, the issues MRAs are pushing are much more complex than they seem. For instance, divorcing parents are usually able to work out custody agreements on their own. Only 15 percent of cases go to court, and, of those, half involve domestic abuse. Tragically, even in those instances, mothers don’t always have the upper hand. A common family-court defense of fathers whose children testify that they are abusive is something called “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” “a medically unrecognized diagnosis that suggests mothers have poisoned their children into making false accusations against their fathers.” Joyce tells the story of Genia Shockome, a woman who spent 30 days in jail and whose husband was awarded full custody of their children, despite the fact that his abuse had left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. Incredibly, Shockome’s story doesn’t end there: After criticizing the judge’s decision in print, her attorney was slapped with a five-year suspension.

As for MRAs’ accusations, inspired by deeply flawed studies, that men and women are equally likely to commit domestic abuse, well, the numbers speak for themselves: “While some men certainly are victims of female domestic violence, advocates say the number is closer to 3 percent to 4 percent, rather than the 45 percent to 50 percent RADAR claims.” Toward the end of her piece, Joyce makes a particularly fascinating point about MRAs’ domestic violence arguments:

Critics like Australian sociologist Michael Flood say that men’s rights movements reflect the tactics of domestic abusers themselves, minimizing existing violence, calling it mutual, and discrediting victims. MRA groups downplay national abuse rates, just as abusers downplay their personal battery; they wage campaigns dismissing most allegations as false, as abusers claim partners are lying about being hit; and they depict the violence as mutual—part of an epidemic of wife-on-husband abuse—as individual batterers rationalize their behavior by saying that the violence was reciprocal. Additionally, MRA groups’ predictions of future violence by fed-up men wronged by the family-law system seem an obvious additional correlation, with the threat of violence seemingly intended to intimidate a community, like a fearful spouse, into compliance.



Figured it was a good time for a refresher.

Misogyny, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. and unconscious internalization.

Most women have internalized misogynist views. Most men do, too. That doesn't mean that they are actively misogynist. It just means they have internalized the messages we receive from all directions over the course of our entire lives.

It is not an accusation. It is not an insult. It is simply an observation. It is a fact.

It is exactly the same with racism, homophobia, transphobia, and every other bias against marginalized groups. We still receive many racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. messages from all directions and we almost all internalize these to some extent, and if we aren't careful to take time to reflect on our thoughts we most certainly will not rid ourselves of these unconscious prejudices and biases.

Edited to be more inclusive, and also to explain why I started with misogyny. I'm a hard core feminist. Not as hard core as some, more hard core than most. But I still have to watch myself, because I still have those remnants of my upbringing lurking in my subconscious. These things will take generations to change. Thinking that any group is past any of this is foolish.

Kiera Wilmot was charged with two felonies, for popping the top off a water bottle.

No one was hurt, no damage was caused. Does anyone know anyone who did more damage in science class and was not charged? I sure as hell do. One guy I know blew up the science lab at his high school, injured a classmate too. Were there any charges? No, of course not.

It really bothers me that kids who accidentally kill their siblings get no charges filed, but this harmless incident resulted in this girl being charged with two felonies. I agree that it was an accident and the decision not to file charges was correct, but why the charges for Kiera?

It bothers me even more that teenage boys guilty of gang rape get juvie, and this girl gets charged as an adult.

I hope they drop the charges against her. At least scientists are backing her up.

Victim-blaming and woman-shaming claim another victim

No, I won't say s***-shaming. Bcause there's no such thing as a s***.

This rape culture, where women are shamed for behavior that in men is met with a wink and a nod and even respect, has claimed another life. Please don't try to tell me that terms like 'playa' or 'man-whore' carry the same scorn in the same way that the words targeting women do. Just the fact that its necessary to put the word 'man' in front of 'whore' to use it about a man tells you all you need to know.

Blaming and shaming women costs lives. Girls and women need to know that they can come forward. That they won't be blamed, or shamed. They need to know someone will listen, and believe them.

Rape Culture Claims Another Victim: Teen Ends Life After Photo Of Her Alleged Gang Rape Goes Viral

Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons’ suicide was the harrowing end to a story involving not only sexual assault, but also the issues of harassment and victim-blaming that are problematic symptoms of rape culture. According to her mother Leah Parsons’ post on her Facebook, Rehtaeh was subject to significant bullying from her peers, who labeled her as a “slut”:

“The (p)erson Rehtaeh once was all changed one dreaded night in November 2011. She went with a friend to another’s home. In that home she was raped by four young boys…one of those boys took a photo of her being raped and decided it would be fun to distribute the photo to everyone in Rehtaeh’s school and community where it quickly went viral. Because the boys already had a “slut” story, the victim of the rape Rehtaeh was considered a SLUT.”

But there were other issues with the investigation as well, Parsons told the Halifax Chronicle Herald: “[t]hey didn’t even interview the boys until much, much later” and “nothing was done about [the photos] because they couldn’t prove who had pressed the photo button on the phone.” She was told that even the distribution of the photos was “not really a criminal issue,” despite the fact that Rehtaeh was 15 at the time, meaning the photos constituted child pornography.

While the investigation was ongoing, Rehtaeh struggled with anger and depression leading to her hospitalization on one occasion. She also moved to a different city to avoid harassment of her peers, including a barrage of texts asking “Will you have sex with me?” and telling her “You’re such a slut.” The Steubenville victim similarly faced harassing text messages after her identity was revealed by news coverage, including threats resulting in charges against two teens.


Link with more information, and a petition demanding an inquiry into the way this case was handled.

Why the "My bad sex wasn't rape" editorial is so utterly, utterly vile.

So, this was posted: http://www.salon.com/2013/03/22/my_bad_sex_wasnt_rape/

I'm going to try to break down why this was so disgustingly, sickeningly wrong.

I say "try", because to do so properly would take a lot more time, because there is a shit ton of crap to sift through here.

First of all, let's take the verbiage she uses. Stuff like this:
sleeping with any girl who would spread her legs

Does that sound neutral to you? Sure doesn't sound that way to me. I've heard that terminology used many times, and never by anyone who respected women.

Let's move on.

Two weeks after we had sex for the first time, he and I and his best friend got drunk — me for the first time in my life — and I ended up having sex in a park with both of them. It was somewhat miserable...

This short passage gives us a lot to analyze. She lost her virginity at 15, and two weeks later is in a threesome. While drunk for the first time. But hey, it was only somewhat miserable, so she's lucky, I guess.

So yeah, that's not worthy of analysis at all, I'm sure. Surely not, in a culture in which young women are conditioned from birth to see their worth and value in their looks and sexual desirability. Messages which this particular woman started learning way too early, earlier than other girls who aren't introduced to that world... way too early. No, let's just pretend that she's perfectly reasonable to dismiss her desire to have sex when she didn't really want to in order to please males with a handwave. Cause really, how is that meaningful, right?

And let's just skip over fact that so many people here have been focusing like a laser on the idea that since it's not illegal everywhere for 15 year olds to have sex with 19 year olds, none of this is questionable at all. Let's assume that she was in one of those places where it was legal, and let's pretend that it is also meaningless that she was drunk for the first time, or that she had lost her virginity 14 days earlier and was now involved in her first threesome.

And let's also skip the part where she was sexually abused from 4 to 9. And let's also skip the part about her acting out with an old man in her neighborhood at age 12, engaging him in phone sex. For all we know, she considers this acting out part of her "agency" and exploring her own sexuality, so let's just leave that aside.

Let's just skip to the part about her not thinking it was rape. You know what? Good for her. I'm really happy for her that she doesn't feel victimized, and wasn't traumatized. That's nice for her.

But she isn't the only woman in the world, and for her to be pushing the idea that drunk 15 year olds are fair game is, frankly, beyond fucked up. We all know that teens will have sex when they want to. But the fact is that rapists use alcohol to rape. Her muddying the waters on this issue by pretending her experience is somehow noteworthy is bullshit.

So she didn't feel like she was raped, big fucking deal! A whole hell of a lot of women who first had sex at 15 don't feel like they were raped. A whole hell lot of a women who first had sex at 12 don't feel like they were raped either. No one is out there telling women that they have to feel that they were raped if they don't feel that way. Because if they don't, that's their prerogative.

No, what's important is reaching the tens of thousands of women each year who do feel that they were raped. What is important is reaching the women who do feel that they were raped but who still aren't reporting it. And what this person is doing is not fucking helping.

No, what she is doing is playing into the hands of MRAs and victim blamers who want to silence women. More on that later.

whether the coverage on CNN after the conviction was too sympathetic to the rapists (perhaps CNN went too far,...

"Whether" it was too sympathetic? Really? "Whether"?

"Perhaps" they went too far?

Telling, yes? Yes. Let's move on.

So much of victim blaming relies on these outmoded views of women’s sexuality.

No, no it doesn't. Victim-blaming relies on bullshit ideas. For example, the one where some people like to trumpet the idea that women claim they were raped just because they didn't enjoy the sex, or they regretted it later. (Sound familiar? It should. Because Anna trumpeted that shit herself, in this piece of shit editorial. Good work, Anna!)

At the same time, it is not helpful to label every murky sexual encounter as rape or to say that anything any woman states is rape is, in fact, rape.

Yeah, that's a huge problem, taking women at their word. She's so brave to stick her neck out on this. Rapists and MRAs everywhere are so grateful a woman has finally had the courage to come out in a (supposedly) progressive publication and say that since women VERY RARELY lie about being raped, that makes it "not helpful" to label rape as rape, just because a woman says she was raped.

So great to see this being praised here on DU, really.

If they don’t take control of their own erotic development early, they may never take control — like the women I knew in college who blamed alcohol or drugs for their own sexual adventures or misadventures,

Yet another attempt to give credence to the victim-blaming lies that rape culture finds so comforting. I imagine, given what she said about the coverage of the Steubenville rapists, that the writer probably has all kinds of empathy for rapists in college.

Seeing a pattern here?

For most of us, we don’t come into our own about articulating our specific wants and desires until late in life, if ever. Let us encourage a culture where everyone – regardless of gender, orientation, etc. – does so openly, honestly, respectfully. Let us all learn to say, “I don’t know how I’m going to like that, but let’s try it out.” (We could take some lessons from the BDSM communities where boundaries and limits are strictly negotiated in advance.)

Yes, the BDSM community, where rape is even more common than in the so-called "vanilla" community. What stinking, stupid bullshit.

I guess that's gonna have to be enough. I'm not willing to spend the time that would be necessary to really expose every ounce of steaming shit in this thing.

Your right to free speech can be curtailed in many situations.

I don't know why this concept is so hard for so many to understand. The civil right to free speech guarantees that the government cannot infringe on what you can say.

Private organizations? They most certainly can. Examples of places which can set rules about what types of speech are not allowed: workplaces, stores, restaurants, amusement parks, online forums, etc. Your employer can further restrict your speech at any location where you are there as a representative of that company.

Places where you can say whatever off-color or sexual jokes you want, make whatever racist or sexist comments you want, etc. include personal blogs, books, websites you own, your own property and out in public spaces, your comedy routines, songs you write, your own Twitter feed, etc.

It's really not that complicated. It can get blurry in that if your job involves your public image, such as a celebrity who is an official spokesperson, some contracts can be terminated based on egregious comments regardless of where they're made. Other than that it's pretty simple, right?

Many organizations frown on off-color or sexual comments and jokes. This isn't really a shock to that many people, I hope.

The reason they have those rules indicates that anyone who is offended by such comments absolutely does have 'the right' to not hear them in those locations where they're not allowed. That is why such rules exist.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Most of you probably recognize that line. Some of you think it has merit and some not. Most of us recognize that language does influence society. Those who have studied history recognize the patterns used when groups of people are intentionally objectified and dehumanized using language, and the reasons behind such objectification and dehumanization.

Recently it was posited in meta by a handful of people that the word 'pussy' isn't really a sexist insult (either because in their opinion it actually refers to cats, or it just isn't that 'serious' of an insult, etc.) I thought after seeing that thread that it would be good to ask in here about the insult, to get an idea of what most people on DU thought. As I expected (this being a progressive board) most people did find it sexist. (As pointed out in the thread it is actually misogynist, and not sexist, but many people don't clearly understand the distinction, so in an effort to encourage more discussion I used 'sexist'.)

Now today we have a thread equating 'balls' with courage. A common expression. As common as the one equating 'pussy' with weakness and cowardice. Another common expression when someone is perceived to be complaining without reason is that that person needs to get the 'sand out of their vagina'. There are many more. There are other many more expressions associating strength with male sex organs, and weakness with female ones. When a man is perceived to be bossed by his female partner, people might make jokes about him having handed over his organs to her.

Many people seem to prefer to think these ideas are just silly jokes. I say they are not. They are subtle reinforcements of an idea which has been with us for millennia, and if we are serious about creating a world where women are freed from being treated like they are 'less than' and the 'other' then we might want to start watching our thoughts and words.

Yes, these are common expressions. However, 'mighty white of you' used to be a common expression, too.

Guess why it isn't anymore?

Because we started taking racism seriously.

Please consider no longer treating these 'silly' ideas (which reinforce the idea that women are less than) as if they are not worth considering. The war on women is not just in the legislature or in our bedrooms. It's in our minds. That's where misogyny initially takes root. That's where insidious things like these 'harmless jokes' and habits like victim blaming start.

Thanks for reading.

Silencing tactics

I'm sure we are all familiar with these. Some of the more popular ones are

There are more important issues
Women have it worse in (some other place)
Just an isolated incident
This is trivial/boring
You're the bully/You're the sexist
Just ignore it
You should be flattered
Harming the community/cause
Free speech/censorship

These illogical arguments are very common and I thought it might be helpful to discuss some of the more common ones so that we can more effectively deal with them when we see them used. I will admit that I'm to the point that I tend to see them as a reason not to engage, but they may be used in all sincerity so, maybe its good to discuss ways to quickly illustrate how illogical they are.

Please share any other ones or any variations on these. My goal is more meaningful discussion of feminist issues, and fewer distracting, derailing subthreads.

Why victim-blaming is ALWAYS wrong.

Whether you think women shouldn't get drunk at parties, or shouldn't take sexy pictures (unless they intend to make them public), or underage girls should share the blame for being raped by dint of their having "consented" to having sex (before they are even capable of giving informed consent, of course )..

What victim-blaming does is PROTECT the ABUSERS, RAPISTS, and any other person who is CLEARLY in the wrong.

Do you honestly believe that these victims haven't absorbed the message that THEY WILL BE BLAMED?

Do you really not see that this is a major contributing factor in their not ever reporting having been wronged?

Do we want more women and children to come forward so that we can do a better job of ensuring criminals are punished?

Then how about we stop the desperate effort to find some reason, ANY reason, to make if seem like she should be ashamed of being victimized.

One feminist's thoughts about equality, war, the draft, etc.

It is a good thing that those women who choose to serve will now be paid the same as their male comrades. This is undeniable.

It is also a good thing that this is sparking discussions about selective service. Many think, as I do, that there should not be a draft at all, and no one should have to sign up, not if we purport to have a 'volunteer' military. (If we are to compel people, compel everyone, and make the training standard procedure, and not dependent on an emergency.)

Whatever your thoughts on war and the idea of a standing army, it seems to me that one thing is being overshadowed in these discussions... and that thing is the questionable idea of women working for 'equality' within a patriarchy. As I said before, women serve now. They die now. There is no question that the ideals of honor and righteousness from battle are firmly entrenched in most cultures, and that won't disappear overnight.

But don't we want it to? Eventually? I do. If one has to fight, it should be viewed as a necessary evil, IMO, and not something to be celebrated. Not something to be glorified.

I can only speak for myself, though I know I'm not alone when I say that I most certainly do not want, as an end goal, equality with patriarchal men, not as beneficiaries and willing participants of oppression in this patriarchy. I do not want to take my place as an equal among those who ignore the fact that they are taking advantage of someone else's oppression... much less someone who does so knowingly. What I want is liberation from this ancient, outdated system. My end goal is to end it, for everyone's benefit.

Please keep in mind that 'the patriarchy' does not mean 'men'. It is a heirarchy, with men as its rulers, and its female enablers are rewarded, just as any man who works against it or who dares to transgress the rules set up to maintain this power structure is punished.

So yes, while I am glad that women who choose to serve will not be denied their full compensation, I hope that we can also keep in mind that the military is an entirely patriarchal institution, which enshrines heirarchy as a religion... and failing to question this idea - that heirarchy is intrinsically good and useful - is only setting ourselves up for failure. Failure to evolve as humans past this idea that dominating and taking advantage of each other is a positive thing. That its rewards are somehow worthy. That it is inevitable. I know I'm not the only one here who thinks that education, assistance, cooperation, communication, and better strategies of conflict resolution can almost completely eliminate the 'inevitability' of war.

Smedley Butler was not wrong. We can be glad for women's equality while still recognizing that ultimately, assisting in propping up these outdated ideas is doing more harm than good in the long run.
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