James. 26. British.
Eclectic. Eccentric. Electric

  1. The Hypocrisy of the Male Gaze

    adietofbrokenbiscuits:

    It’s an inarguable fact of life that, in many areas of popular culture, women’s bodies are presented in a heavily sexualised way. Magazine covers, lads mags, advertisements, pornography and even fashion editorials; no matter your opinion of the phenomenon, sexualised imagery of women is hard to escape in 2014.

    What can be more difficult to find, however, are healthy attitudes to genuinely autonomous expressions of sexuality. Whether it’s attitudes to casual sex, to women who act in porn or to women who perform other forms of sex work, the male gaze is often not only consumptive but judgemental to boot. Women engaging in any of these areas are dismissed as “sluts” and “whores” or thought of as “dirty”. The message is clear; we want to fuck you, but we don’t respect you. Or, in the words of a sex worker I follow on Tumblr: “you’ll jack off with your left hand and point with your right”.

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    This can be very clearly illustrated in the recent case of the “Duke Porn Star”, an American college student whose work in adult film was “exposed” by a fellow student. The surrounding furore, as well as the death threats and abuse she’s received, were explained in her words here. It’s pretty shocking (but sadly, unsurprising). Casual sex is seen in much the same way. Many women I know have been criticised, mocked or judged for their sexual expression - sometimes even during a sex act! If your number of sexual partners is deemed too high, that’s a crime too; even if the person judging you has themselves contributed to that number! Stripping faces a similar fate; I’ve heard friends of mine say they’d happily visit a strip club and pay for a lapdance but would “never” date a stripper. Hello, cognitive dissonance!

    What does it say, then, that genuine sexual autonomy is looked down on? It says that women are still expected to be passive receptacles. That sex, for women, is still totally performative; we’re expected to engage in sexual behaviour, but heaven forbid we actually enjoy it. And don’t even THINK about seeking it out yourself, or seeking a career in the sex industry; even when you talk eloquently about your choices they’re still deemed to be the wrong ones. You must be defective, or damaged, or have experienced some kind of trauma (the “stupid little girl who doesn’t understand her actions” as Belle Knox was told). There’s no way that a woman can enjoy sex as freely and self-indulgently as a man!

    If you have a political or personal problem with promiscuity, porn or sex work, that’s your prerogative. If you don’t want to engage in that behaviour yourself, that’s also fine. What isn’t okay, though, is using the objectification of women for your own ends and then denigrating the women who are providing you with pleasure. The bottom line is this: if you disdain or vilify sexual autonomy, you don’t deserve to benefit from it.

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  2. causewecool:

spankmeagainplease:
Feel free to sexually harass me if you’re male. You know what they say “Boys will be boys.”. Although I’m not sure any of you will want to do that since I’m not very modest, therefore not attractive.--------The new principal at my school used two phrases while addressing new dress code rules to a class."Modest is hottest." and "Boys will be boys."He should have said something more along the lines of: “The school dress code was established to provide our students with a safe and orderly learning environment that is free from distractions.”Let’s start with the phrase “Modest is hottest.” Shall we?Modest-Having or showing a moderate estimation of one’s own talents, abilities, and value.If modest is hottest, then it’s not modest.You are literally sending the message to young girls, who are already struggling with self confidence, that hiding their body makes them more attractive. You are establishing a sense of shame in these young, developing minds and bodies. A human has the right to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Showing less skin doesn’t make you any more attractive. Showing more skin does not make you any less attractive. When someone calls you attractive that just means that they are attracted to you.At what point in your career did you find it appropriate to define my “hotness”? Why are you at all concerned with how “hot” I am? You are teaching us, through modesty, to be objects of sexual arousal. I’m sorry, but I don’t dress myself to look “hot” for anyone. I dress myself as a way of expressing myself and my body. “If covering up my body is supposed to make people sexually/physically attracted to me, then how would those people feel if I decide to have sexual relations with them, without clothes on?” “How am I supposed to love and feel proud of my naked body and develop a sense of sexuality when exposing my body is deemed shameful and unattractive?” Since when should being “hot” be my concern. I don’t want to be with someone who just thinks I’m hot. I want to be with someone who loves and respects all the parts of my mind, personality, and body. THAT’S what you should be teaching, not “How to be hot.”.My body is not a sinful temptation that needs to be hidden. My body is not your personal, sexual object. My body does not overshadow my character. My body is not any more sexual than a man’s body. My body is not here to look “hot” for you.Next up is “Boys will be boys.”Being a boy refers to your gender. That’s all.It does not make you constantly sexually aroused, animalistic, or sexually uncontrollable, but for some reason society has come to the conclusion that you are this stereotype. This is extremely sad. This gender stereotype is unfair to all men. By telling them who they are as a man you are absolutely taking away their moral agency. “But he’s a teenager. He’s raging with hormones.” You don’t think I’m raging with hormones as well? Believe me I am. Men are not stupid. They are not unable to see when someone is not consenting to sex. It’s not ‘in their nature’ to rape because they are a man, it’s not ‘in their nature’ because IT’S WRONG TO RAPE SOMEONE. Raping someone is a cognitive choice. (how modestly the victim dresses does not affect them being raped). When the few people that do sexually harass people happen to be male and you use the excuse “Boys will be boys.” you are not only excusing their behavior, you are condoning it. It’s this “Boys will be boys.” mentality, culture, and attitude that condone sexual assault. Whenever the excuse “Boys will be boys.” is used, it’s just an exercise of male privilege. It’s this attitude that condones sexual assault. You are giving them a free license that makes it okay for them to be sexually violent, that says “Well I’m a boy, it’s just who I am.” Sex needs to stop being about “no no no bad dirty gross shameful” and start being about “Yes. Let’s have consenting sex because I want to.” Consent. THAT’S what you should be teaching, not “Well you know how they are… Boys will be boys!” Boys are not sexually uncontrollable.Boys do not have a genetic, animalistic, violent nature.Boys are not born with a natural desire for destruction or control.Despite what society and culture keeps trying to cram down everyone’s throat, having a penis doesn’t make it okay to sexually harass someone. The false idea that men can’t control themselves is so unfair and completely ridiculous.


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The next day He called me down to his office to discuss my concerns. (Students and teachers told him about it, which I expected)




I spent a good hour and a half arguing with the principle about his comments when he called me down to his office, today. I offered to send him what I posted if he was interested in reading it. He said “No, that won’t be necessary.” I explained to him that I wanted him to read what I wrote and I would appreciate it if he did. He said “No, I don’t really care to read it. That’s okay.”I asked him what he meant by the phrase “boys will be boys” and he explained that if a girl is inappropriately dressed that it can lead to inappropriate, sexual touching and staring (sexual harassment). If a boy chooses to sexually harass someone, it’s his choice no matter what his gender is.He explained to me that boys are more “wound up” than girls are. I didn’t quite understand what he meant by that so I asked him for a different adjective and after a minute of mumbling he chose the word “aggressive” but then followed that up with “…well I don’t think that’s the correct word to use…”. I agree, not the best word to use, eh? I asked him to explain why boys are different than girls in this regard and he said “Well to start, all boys are attracted to girls…” I interrupted with “No. There are actually boys who are attracted to other boys.” He laughed and said “Oh, yes of course!”… I guess that part must have slipped his mind.I asked him, in general, what the difference is between girls and boys. He said that boys “misbehave more” and are “outgoing”. He said that girls are “reserved”. That’s all. That’s the word he used, “reserved”. Boys and girls are different because they have different organs and hormones. Being a girl doesn’t automatically make me reserved. Just like being a boy doesn’t make you automatically misbehave. I explained to him that by using the phrase “Boys will be boys.”, he is excusing and condoning bad behavior from boys, such as sexual harassment and rape. “But that’s not reality, that’s your opinion.” he said. He explained that his daughters “behave” and that his nephews were disrespectful… because they are boys. I said “That has nothing to do with their gender. They act that way because of how they were raised, the environment they are living in, and the choices they make.” I told him that the phrases he used were sexist and stereotypical and unfair to all genders. I explained to him that many students and people of society were offended by what he said and the phrases he used. I told him that I thought he should apologize for what he said and explain to students and society that this kind of message is not okay or appropriate.He said he wouldn’t apologize for that, but he would give me an apology, which was “I’m sorry you feel that way.” After he dodged almost every question I asked by sharing his plans to improve LHS, he decided that he had had enough of not being able to answer my questions or concerns and ended our discussion by saying “I’m going to end this discussion.” and I was sent back to class.



There is so much wrong with what this principal is doing that I can’t even list it, but yeah here’s your takeaway:
He explained that his daughters “behave” and that his nephews were disrespectful… because they are boys. I said “That has nothing to do with their gender. They act that way because of how they were raised, the environment they are living in, and the choices they make.” 
They are disrespectful because you have specifically told them they can do whatever they want and you will excuse it because they’re boys!
Lakeland Senior High School and his name is Mr. Martinez

    causewecool:

    spankmeagainplease:

    Feel free to sexually harass me if you’re male. You know what they say “Boys will be boys.”. Although I’m not sure any of you will want to do that since I’m not very modest, therefore not attractive.
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    The new principal at my school used two phrases while addressing new dress code rules to a class.

    "Modest is hottest." and "Boys will be boys."

    He should have said something more along the lines of: “The school dress code was established to provide our students with a safe and orderly learning environment that is free from distractions.”

    Let’s start with the phrase “Modest is hottest.” Shall we?

    Modest-Having or showing a moderate estimation of one’s own talents, abilities, and value.

    If modest is hottest, then it’s not modest.

    You are literally sending the message to young girls, who are already struggling with self confidence, that hiding their body makes them more attractive. You are establishing a sense of shame in these young, developing minds and bodies. A human has the right to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Showing less skin doesn’t make you any more attractive. Showing more skin does not make you any less attractive. When someone calls you attractive that just means that they are attracted to you.

    At what point in your career did you find it appropriate to define my “hotness”? Why are you at all concerned with how “hot” I am? You are teaching us, through modesty, to be objects of sexual arousal. I’m sorry, but I don’t dress myself to look “hot” for anyone. I dress myself as a way of expressing myself and my body. “If covering up my body is supposed to make people sexually/physically attracted to me, then how would those people feel if I decide to have sexual relations with them, without clothes on?” “How am I supposed to love and feel proud of my naked body and develop a sense of sexuality when exposing my body is deemed shameful and unattractive?” Since when should being “hot” be my concern. I don’t want to be with someone who just thinks I’m hot. I want to be with someone who loves and respects all the parts of my mind, personality, and body. THAT’S what you should be teaching, not “How to be hot.”.

    My body is not a sinful temptation that needs to be hidden. 
    My body is not your personal, sexual object. 
    My body does not overshadow my character. 
    My body is not any more sexual than a man’s body. 
    My body is not here to look “hot” for you.

    Next up is “Boys will be boys.”

    Being a boy refers to your gender. That’s all.

    It does not make you constantly sexually aroused, animalistic, or sexually uncontrollable, but for some reason society has come to the conclusion that you are this stereotype. This is extremely sad. This gender stereotype is unfair to all men. By telling them who they are as a man you are absolutely taking away their moral agency. “But he’s a teenager. He’s raging with hormones.” You don’t think I’m raging with hormones as well? Believe me I am. Men are not stupid. They are not unable to see when someone is not consenting to sex. It’s not ‘in their nature’ to rape because they are a man, it’s not ‘in their nature’ because IT’S WRONG TO RAPE SOMEONE. Raping someone is a cognitive choice. (how modestly the victim dresses does not affect them being raped). When the few people that do sexually harass people happen to be male and you use the excuse “Boys will be boys.” you are not only excusing their behavior, you are condoning it. It’s this “Boys will be boys.” mentality, culture, and attitude that condone sexual assault. Whenever the excuse “Boys will be boys.” is used, it’s just an exercise of male privilege. It’s this attitude that condones sexual assault. You are giving them a free license that makes it okay for them to be sexually violent, that says “Well I’m a boy, it’s just who I am.” Sex needs to stop being about “no no no bad dirty gross shameful” and start being about “Yes. Let’s have consenting sex because I want to.” Consent. THAT’S what you should be teaching, not “Well you know how they are… Boys will be boys!” 

    Boys are not sexually uncontrollable.
    Boys do not have a genetic, animalistic, violent nature.
    Boys are not born with a natural desire for destruction or control.

    Despite what society and culture keeps trying to cram down everyone’s throat, having a penis doesn’t make it okay to sexually harass someone. The false idea that men can’t control themselves is so unfair and completely ridiculous.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————-
    The next day He called me down to his office to discuss my concerns. (Students and teachers told him about it, which I expected)
    I spent a good hour and a half arguing with the principle about his comments when he called me down to his office, today. I offered to send him what I posted if he was interested in reading it. He said “No, that won’t be necessary.” I explained to him that I wanted him to read what I wrote and I would appreciate it if he did. He said “No, I don’t really care to read it. That’s okay.”

    I asked him what he meant by the phrase “boys will be boys” and he explained that if a girl is inappropriately dressed that it can lead to inappropriate, sexual touching and staring (sexual harassment). If a boy chooses to sexually harass someone, it’s his choice no matter what his gender is.
    He explained to me that boys are more “wound up” than girls are. I didn’t quite understand what he meant by that so I asked him for a different adjective and after a minute of mumbling he chose the word “aggressive” but then followed that up with “…well I don’t think that’s the correct word to use…”. I agree, not the best word to use, eh? 

    I asked him to explain why boys are different than girls in this regard and he said “Well to start, all boys are attracted to girls…” I interrupted with “No. There are actually boys who are attracted to other boys.” He laughed and said “Oh, yes of course!”… I guess that part must have slipped his mind.

    I asked him, in general, what the difference is between girls and boys. He said that boys “misbehave more” and are “outgoing”. He said that girls are “reserved”. That’s all. That’s the word he used, “reserved”. Boys and girls are different because they have different organs and hormones. Being a girl doesn’t automatically make me reserved. Just like being a boy doesn’t make you automatically misbehave. I explained to him that by using the phrase “Boys will be boys.”, he is excusing and condoning bad behavior from boys, such as sexual harassment and rape. “But that’s not reality, that’s your opinion.” he said. 

    He explained that his daughters “behave” and that his nephews were disrespectful… because they are boys. I said “That has nothing to do with their gender. They act that way because of how they were raised, the environment they are living in, and the choices they make.” 

    I told him that the phrases he used were sexist and stereotypical and unfair to all genders. I explained to him that many students and people of society were offended by what he said and the phrases he used. I told him that I thought he should apologize for what he said and explain to students and society that this kind of message is not okay or appropriate.

    He said he wouldn’t apologize for that, but he would give me an apology, which was “I’m sorry you feel that way.” 

    After he dodged almost every question I asked by sharing his plans to improve LHS, he decided that he had had enough of not being able to answer my questions or concerns and ended our discussion by saying “I’m going to end this discussion.” and I was sent back to class.
    There is so much wrong with what this principal is doing that I can’t even list it, but yeah here’s your takeaway:

    He explained that his daughters “behave” and that his nephews were disrespectful… because they are boys. I said “That has nothing to do with their gender. They act that way because of how they were raised, the environment they are living in, and the choices they make.”

    They are disrespectful because you have specifically told them they can do whatever they want and you will excuse it because they’re boys!

    Lakeland Senior High School and his name is Mr. Martinez

    (Source: brunette-nymphette, via wilwheaton)

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  3. "But the problem with slut-shaming goes way beyond the problem of a double-standard. It’s not just that men and women both engage in slutty behavior and therefore no one has a right to throw stones—it’s that there is nothing wrong with slutty behavior (or, as I like to call it, behavior) in the first place."

    Oh for a society that would accept this as a given

    Source: Rihanna Does Whatever She Wants With Her Vagina and for Some Reason That’s a Problem
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  4. As feminists, united we fall apart – divided we may yet succeed

    This International Women’s Day I am mostly* agreeing with Zoe Williams

    *I disagree with her with regards to ‘right wing’ feminism. This is no place for the outdated left-right dichotomy.

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  6. 'It's the same old game. Get your rosaries off my ovaries, as we used to say'

    (Suzanne Moore in kicking the collective asses of the anti-abortion brigade in today’s Guardian)

    For all the liberal language, independent counselling is just an underhanded anti-abortion tactic

     I do remember leaving the party very fast. I must have been about 11 and in a haze, looking through magazines while the women ooohed and aaahed over plastic boxes. God knows why my mum had made me go to a Tupperware party with her. In no shape or form did it resemble a party – it was just full of boring neighbours feigning huge enthusiasm for salad spinners. Nonetheless I felt the atmosphere change suddenly as the plastic lids were snapped back on the boxes. The women were no longer talking about the storage of leftovers but about getting “rid” of things. And “the right thing to do”. It was tense. My mum, menthol cigarette in a holder – an affectation she had picked up in the States – got to her feet and said: “Christ, you really don’t know what you are talking about. If it wasn’t for abortion I’d have a football team by now.”

    In a blur, we knocked over mountains of sandwich containers as we were given our coats. Safe to say we never went to any more Tupperware parties. I thought at the time that it was because we were too good. I now see it’s because we were too bad.

    On the way home she told me what it was like getting pregnant in the glorious 50s, years before she had me. Sitting in the bath, drinking quinine from the chemist she worked in then, eventually scraping together the money to go to London. There, in a small room, another woman clipped the neck of her cervix and told her to “just go”.

    She collapsed bleeding in the toilets of Liverpool Street station. That’s where she miscarried or aborted the foetus, or the baby, or whatever you wish to call it. I am not squeamish about these words. I have no desire to reduce every abortion to a meaningless bunch of cells or cytoblasts as some feel compelled to do.

    I know what having an abortion is like myself so I could make a terrible joke about it running in the family. Actually, my point is that abortion is a very common experience. Nor am I trying to suggest that the proposed amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill concerning counselling mean a return to these dark old days. The reason I am telling you all this is because I admired my mother’s refusal to be ashamed of her own experience. Now this new breed of anti-abortionists snip round the edges of the process with their strategies of delay … er, sorry, “independent counselling”. But beware their language of care. This is not about care but about control. This control absolutely depends on shame: sexual shame. This shame keeps us quiet. Shame keeps us locked into individual guilt. Shame even makes us stupidly grateful that we are allowed to have any choice at all.

    This whole debate around counselling pivots on the idea of deep and private shame, positing the idea of counselling being used to sell an evil procedure. Women are always “vulnerable” dupes, never simply adults who have made decisions. Some weird pension analogy has been brought in, though health care is nothing like it as advice and services do often come from the same people ie: doctors.

    The truth is that, in theory, the argument about abortion is won. Most people, however uncomfortably, support a woman’s right to choose. We feel that pushing a woman to give birth to a child she does not want is heartless. We know the lengths women go to. The moral cowardice of the Irish polity results in those women, often alone and shivery, whom you see on Ryanair flights.

    There is little point trying to persuade those who are religiously opposed to abortion (though I am intrigued at the Catholic attitude to the foetus – miscarried babies are not buried as they are not baptised) but we can simply remind ourselves we are living in a largely secular democracy.

    Loving the unborn more than the born is politically convenient, as the unborn do not have to be housed or educated or parented. The 60,000 abortions that Nadine Dorries and Frank Field hope to stop via “unbiased” counselling will presumably produce 60,000 children that someone has to look after. (I am not sure where this figure of 60,000 comes from, but then to be fair I am not sure Dorries does either.)

    We are repeatedly told this is an “emotive” issue. The new vocabulary of the anti-abortion lobby is full of vaguely feminist platitudes – not feminist enough to counsel the men who walk away from pregnancies but still. Underneath, we are fallen women, damaged goods and so terribly stupid that we can be persuaded to have a quick abortion by wicked charities. When we could be what? Wombs to provide babies for “proper couples” or go it alone as the root of all evil: single mothers?

    This is nauseating. A vote of conscience? If MPs had one they would say it is not the business of the legislature to control women’s reproduction. They would stop telling us what is “emotive” and ask what actually is. I didn’t want counselling in order to have an abortion. I certainly did after a miscarriage – again an awfully common experience – but none was offered. No, instead let’s bring on an army of “independent” zealots who can tell us that abortion leads to cancer, mental health issues and infertility, and sod the evidence that having a baby is more risky than having an abortion. Anyone who talks about how easy it is and how the reality is glossed over is ignorant. You have a scan. You know and see what you are doing. It’s not a walk in the park but it is a huge relief. The emotive part is the enforced waiting.

    Now the tactics are to further that wait. This is nothing short of cruelty dressed up in the language of concern.

    As Field and all his cronies are so concerned about my reproductive cycle, I am happy to give them my gynaecological CV. Abortions! Miscarriages! Natural childbirth! Caesareans! He and his fellow legislators can pore over it with their expertise, right? Their laws are important. My body isn’t.

    For they have learned their lessons from America. As the public do not support an outright ban on abortion they will fiddle at the edges on time limits and counselling. In states such as South Dakota, pregnancy “help centres” have been set up where counselling means being lectured by unqualified, faith–based volunteers who are resolutely anti-abortion. Make no mistake, counselling is the route by which access to abortion is limited.

    This smokescreen of language is worthy of George Orwell’s Newspeak. In the guise of impartial advice, the opposite will be offered. As illiberal as these times are, even Cameron is backing away, finally.

    All fundamentalisms seek to control female sexuality. It’s the same old game. Get your rosaries off my ovaries, as we used to say. You trust me with a child but not with a choice? If MPs want to help women then they can make access to abortion and contraception more efficient. Who has the authority over my body – some geezer in the House of Commons? Or me and my doctor? Like my mother, I feel no shame and I refute this language of “care”. You want a definition of a nanny state? How about one that thinks it’s OK to poke around in your uterus?

    Simply BRILLIANT!
     

  7. "Too many of us still believe that “self-respect” for a woman means chastity and modesty. If she’s wearing revealing clothing, enjoys attention, and maybe even likes sex outside of a committed monogamous relationship, we call her a “slut”—and accuse her of not respecting herself. Perhaps she does respect herself, perhaps she doesn’t. (Promiscuity is not perfectly correlated with low self-esteem, despite what a lot of pop psychologists tell you.) But in the end, it doesn’t matter. Women aren’t commodities whose value is based on their own fluctuating sense of self-worth."

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