@Daniel Tosh: Perpetuating Rape Culture

Rape jokes are Patriarchal silencing techniques. People who laugh at rape jokes are those who haven’t thought about the consequences of their laughter on rape victims and rape culture and those who don’t think rape matters. Increasingly, I’m beginning to believe that its the second group who are the most numerous.

So, here’s a bit old hint: if you laugh at jokes about rape, you are perpetuating rape culture. You tell rapists that its okay to rape; that rape is nothing but a silly little thing that women whinge about. Every time you laugh at a rape joke, you tell a rape victim their trauma doesn’t count. With every snort, you tell women that they have no right to expect to bodily autonomy. With every snigger, you tell a woman its her fault she was raped. With every giggle, you tell women that their bodies are nothing more than disposable fucktoys for men.

Laughing at jokes about rape is women-hating behaviour. It reinforces and perpetuates rape culture which results in 1 in 4 women being raped. It reinforces sexual assault and sexual harassment. It creates a society where women don’t matter. It tells women not to bother reporting their rapes because no one will care.

There is a petition here to have Comedy Central stop airing programs by Daniel Tosh. Let’s start silencing the perpetrators of rape culture instead of the victims.

The text of the petition letter is as follows:

Take Daniel Tosh off the air

Daniel Tosh, offensive jokester extraordinaire, crossed the line a few days ago in a comedy club. During a skit in which he made jokes about rape, a young woman stood up in protest of the offensive jokes. In response, Daniel Tosh “joked” about how “funny” it would be if she were to be raped by “like five guys” right then. His jokes continued and the laughter in the club grew so loud that the young woman had to flee in fear.

This takes offensive joking to the next level. Tosh did not simply make jokes about rape, which is bad enough as it is, but he used his jokes in a threatening way that a young woman ran away to maintain her safety. He used his jokes to silence a person who was concerned with the nature of them.

This is not a man that deserves to be revered and aired daily. He is tasteless, offensive in nature, and proud of it. There should be no pride in humiliating and scaring other people. His fauxpology on Twitter was hardly sincere and only serves to show us how much he cares about himself, but not for other people. Bad things do happen, and yes, you CAN make jokes about them, but that doesn’t mean you should. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you get to decide if anyone should be offended by them.

This petition is to get Daniel Tosh and his show, Tosh.0, taken off the air permanently. No new episodes, no reruns, no comedy specials. Period.

Our petition has already reached over 8,000 signatures. Is that something you can ignore?

Look! More Offensive Clothing. This Time For Babies.

I love Twitter. Where else would I come across such examples of sartorial elegance for babies. Well, I didn’t find them. It was @OSLioness who found them on Amazon. 

Available here

Available Here
Now, I know Mumsnet has an undeserved reputation for judginess, but I’m going to have to hoick up my judgey-pants here. If you put your kid in one of these, I’m going to assume you’re a nincompoop. 

Dearest Vagina, Once Again I have Failed You.

Dearest Vagina,

Once again I have failed you. I have previous form for neglecting you. I neither shave you nor vajazzle you. I refused to purchase the completely bizarre “smoothethegroove” in order to make you look more fuckable to men who are stupid. Unfortunately, and I think this goes without saying, I will also not be buying the 18 Again cream which is supposed to make you “tighter” and resemble the vagina of a virgin. It doesn’t matter if the cream is made of the natural ingredients of “gold dust, aloe vera, almond and pomegranate”. You will not experience the pleasure of the cream anywhere near you. 

Weirdly, I like you just the way you are: having birthed two children. I don’t want to “feel like a virgin” either. I like being me: a woman whose body has changed and developed through age and experience. I know this means I will continue to fail the Patriarchal Fuckability Test. But, really, when have I actually passed the PFT? And, who really wants to have sex with a man who is only aroused by the anorexic body of an only-just-not-quite-a-teenager? An adult male who dates 18 year olds has some serious psycho-sexual issues they need to deal with. Who really wants to have sex with someone like that? Who wants to be with a man who only wants to marry a virgin?

So, you will remain unshaven and unvajazzled and without your own special wardrobe or creams. You will just have to remain you. After all, isn’t that the point of every Disney Princess movie ever? Or, something like that. I’m sure.


The One Where I Publicly Thank Jeremy Clarkson For Proving My Point

Who knew there’d actually be a day when I’d have to thank Jeremy Clarkson for anything? He is a misogynistic arsewipe of epic proportions whose “opinions” are merely abusive and arrogant twaddle. Why he’s given a public platform for anything is beyond me. Nor do I get the obsession with cars in general. Yes, they are useful for travelling with small children and assorted paraphernalia, moving furniture and lugging groceries. Other than that, they are pretty much environmentally destructive and, frequently, unnecessary status symbols; especially the penis replacement versions favoured by Clarkson.

But, Clarkson has proved useful in one area. He’s just withdrawn an injunction he took out against a former spouse preventing her from publishing statements about their marriage. Now, this is the self-aggrandising shite with which Clarkson came out as a “defence” for withdrawing the complaint: 

“I’ve overturned my own injunction – how cool is that? Injunctions don’t work, they’re completely pointless and unbelievably expensive. And due to a new interpretation of the law you might have to go to trial if you take an injunction out and that’s even more expensive.
“I thought ‘Just let her run about saying what she wants to say’ and people can say ‘I believe that or I don’t believe it’. Either way it makes no difference to me, it’s as simple as that. Frankly I’ve got more important things to worry about than a woman I was married to for five minutes 30 years ago. So now I have no stress of an injunction and I can look Ian Hislop in the eye.” 

The one thing Clarkson has never been and never will be is cool but I think I can let that particular delusion of his stand. But, let’s be honest here, he only withdrew it because social media has made injunctions and superinjunctions pointless. Whilst I am firmly on the right to privacy, I believe that injunctions [and confidentiality agreements] only protect those with power; usually that requires a penis. I don’t believe that we can expand the current laws on privacy and free speech  to protect women. We need to completely eradicate and rebuild the legal system so that those who aren’t white men are given equal protection without caveat or exclusion from the creation of the law rather than writing clauses to cover those excluded the first time round.

After all, does anyone really believe that Clarkson’s ex-wife would have been granted an injunction to prevent Clarkson speaking about her publicly? I sure don’t.

Normalising Rape Culture in Toddlers: The Lock Your Daughter Up T-Shirt

I regularly get told I’m over-thinking things. Hell, my mother just told me so at dinner when I was holding forth about superinjunctions and confidentiality agreements. I think they are nothing more than Patriarchal tools to permit rich, white men to sexually abuse women whilst giving those women no recourse in law. Apparently, this was over-thinking the issue. 

Anyway, we were at the St Johns Craft Fair. I may have mentally spent about £18 000 pounds. Just so much beautiful furniture, clothing, jewellery, and art; most of it made by women. There are so few spaces wherein women’s art has a chance to shine that being somewhere full of women’s art feels so incredibly special. The jewellery company Eclectic Shock was my favourite new find of the day. 

It was all extremely lovely right up until the point I found a t-shirt for a toddler with the ever-so-lovely maxim “Lock Up Your Daughters”. You know, because girls need to locked up and protected from would-be rapist toddlers. Erm, or instead of perpetuating rape culture in your baby sons, how about teaching them to respect themselves and women. How about teaching your sons that they are capable of acting like actual humans with empathy and kindness? How about teaching your sons that girls are humans too; that they are entitled to be treated with kindness and respect. 

The “Lock Up Your Daughters” t-shirt for toddlers is just the normalisation of rape culture. They aren’t funny or cute. They are just the same old misogynistic shite. Just this time using toddlers as advertising. I’ve never understood why people would dress their sons up like would-be rapists. I mean, what the hell else is that t-shirt supposed to mean? Seriously, someone tell it’s actually a silly reference to a TV show that I’ve never heard of or the name of some celebrities pet elephant or something.

Edinburgh International Book Festival: Still Reinforcing Cultural Femicide

I think its fairly self-evident that I love reading; certainly anyone who follows me on twitter is bombarded daily with my witterings on my favourite books. I also love the Edinburgh International Book Festival but, every year, I am disappointed by how white male-centric the festival is. This year is no different. I complained here about the official catalogue which made it pretty self-evident how few women would be speaking at the Festival; and, of that small number of women, how many were children’s authors. I love children’s literature but women don’t just write books for toddlers and teenagers. 

For a variety of reasons, yesterday was the first chance I’ve had to attend the Book Festival. I’d like to say I was surprised by the obvious display of cultural femicide but I wasn’t. The vast majority of pictures of authors on display were male. In the bookstores, the vast majority of books on the special displays and tables were by men; including the children’s bookstore. 

Now, I’m sure that the staff didn’t consciously make the decision to prioritise men’s writing but that’s how insidious cultural femicide is.  The privileging of men’s writing frequently happens at an unconscious level and is reinforced through the media and academia. The Book Festival’s choice to hang mostly photos of male authors may seem a small point but it’s the accumulation of such small decisions which harms women’s writing. It is just as problematic as literature departments in universities only using one or two novels by women a course so as not to alienate male students. It’s obviously not a problem to alienate the women students who, frequently, make up the majority of literature students in all languages.

The Festival’s continuing privileging of male writers just reinforces the notion that women’s writing is gender-specific and that fucks me off no end. As ever, I will fill in the comments box at the Festival [and the subsequent surveys] pointing out the erasure of women’s writing but I don’t expect things to change any time soon. After all, it would take someone seriously brave and radical to overhaul the Edinburgh Book Festival so it includes more than white men. I’m doing my part by only buying tickets to women writers and only buying books written by women.

These are the books I bought yesterday:

  • Lisa O’Donnell’s The Death of Bees
  • Monique Roffey’s With the Kisses of His Mouth: A Memoir
  • Pat Barker’s Union Street
  • Scarlett Thomas’ Popco
  • Scarlett Thomas’ The End of Mr Y
  • Lisa Cacho’s Slavery Inc. The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking
  • Catherine Rayner’s Sylvia and Bird
  • Catherine Rayner’s Ernest
  • Sue Hendra’s Barry the Fish With Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monster
  • Kristina Stephenson’s Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Terrible Secret
The only author of adult books I’ve read before Monique Roffey’s The White Woman on The Green Bicycle which is a bloody brilliant book. We already own all of Kristina Stephenson’s Sir Charlie StinkySocks books and have seen her at the book festival in previous years. They are fab books.

Women Against Rape Seem To Have Forgotten We Are Supposed To Be Fighting The Patriarchy

Twitter Feminists are doing a very good job of dismantling the anti-woman rhetoric written by Women Against Rape in the Guardian today. The article is a pile of victim-blaming, rape excusing twaddle from two women who should know better: Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff. Any woman who writes this is victim-blaming:

It seems even clearer now, that the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction.

They are calling the two women liars. It doesn’t matter how much we want to pretend they aren’t, suggesting the charges are a “smokescreen” is calling two victims of sexualised violence liars. That is the territory of MRAs and their handmaidens. Not Feminists. Yeah, they try to minimise the impact by saying this without a trace of irony:

… the names of the women have been circulated on the internet; they have been trashed, accused of setting a “honey trap”, and seen their allegations dismissed as “not real rape”.

WAR are also calling the two women liars. They are suggesting it wasn’t real rape. By buying into Assange’s paranoid fantasies, they have effectively silenced two rape victims and trashed the reputation of their organisation. They are arguing precisely the same thing as MRAs. All for what, to line up to defend a whiny little tosser because they think he’s The Second Coming? Well, he isn’t. I know her and she’d kick the shit out of Assange.

Yeah, it might be true that Assange is being pursued with more vigour than most rapists are in the UK or in Sweden, but that’s hardly an excuse to dump the procedure against Assange. All rapists should be pursued this aggressively. Then, rape victims might actually get some justice. Instead, WAR have just made it a whole lot harder for women to get support. They have made it harder for other women to get convictions for rape.

 The whole article is a pile of paranoia and misinformation. WAR have just ensured that I won’t ever use them for support or refer friends to them. Anyone who writes that Wikileaks is more important than the bodily integrity of two women is no feminist. Wikileaks is more than one man and, frankly, it’s not like Assange’s reputation in Wikileaks is all that brilliant what with the whole dumping an Iranian leak into the shit without a backward glance.

Freedom of speech is meaningless if it only applies to rich white men’s rights to criticise governments. Supporting Assange at the expense of rape victims removes women’s right to bodily integrity. It removes our right to free speech. If that isn’t hypocrisy, then I don’t know what is.

Ode to the Doom Cats

This is written by lovely friend Philippa Molloy. It refers to a joke on Mumsnet many, many months ago; a joke which still makes me smile.

Ode to the Doom Cats

I am a doom cat of cognative dissonance

Fuck off, fuck off you awkward feminists
I see its my right to be marginalised or terrorised
Just cos my genitals don’t hang on the outside.
So what if I want to cook meals for my man
Ignoring the fact that if thats what I want
Feminism says I canI am a doom cat of cognative dissonance
Don’t make me feel awkward you nasty feminists.

So, Prince Harry Got Naked in Vegas and I’m Supposed to Care about HIs Right to Privacy

As ever, I think the media, and the all dipsticks in a frenzy over this, have got themselves mixed-up in some sort of David-Bowie-inspired-Labyrinth debacle. This isn’t about the constraints on the British Press which prohibit them from invading the privacy of the Royal Family. This debate should be about everyone’s right to privacy. No one should find pictures of themselves being drunk, stupid and naked on the web; even over-entitled white boys with some serious privilege issues. And, let’s be honest here, the media sources making po-faced statements about not being allowed to show pictures of Harry’s penis are actually whinging about not being allowed to. I doubt even channel 4 news would have managed to refrain themselves from showing all the footage of Harry’s penis if they though they could get away with it.

I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about Harry. I think he’s a buckethead and I have no time for him or the rest of the nincompoops in his family. I do, however, care about his right to privacy and that of ordinary people; especially those who are vulnerable. I think Paris Hilton is nincompoop but no one deserves to have their sex tapes available on TMZ [or whoever posted them. I’m not going to google this to double check which parasitic media outlet actually published them]. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted in this manner. And, here, I do mean sexually assaulted. Having pictures of your unclothed body posted about the net for others to sneer at or masturbate to is sexualised violence.

And, yeah, I’m sure some will read this and think I’m over-reacting; that Harry is just being a jack-the-lad and it’s all a bit of a fuss over nothing. I would agree that Harry playing naked billiards with his mates is neither news-worthy or surprising [although, let’s be honest here, possibly a bit unsafe playing it drunk]. But, it is sexualised violence to post pictures of his body naked without permission. Frankly, I’m not overly-fond of the issues around consent and naked pictures in general. I think far too many vulnerable people get pushed into both being photographed or filmed naked and then lose the rights to their images but are somehow led to believe they have “consented” through “choice” [and, seriously, do I loathe “choice” feminism and it’s insistence on pretending to “empower” vulnerable women through their sexual exploitation].

There is also a gendered dimension to this issue which the press is conveniently obfuscating. Harry, age 27, running about naked is a bit of a laugh; Vanessa Hudgens, still pretty much a teenager, sending a man naked pictures of herself is a “slut”. This is without even getting into the serious misogyny which has punished both Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan. The old slut-shaming double standard always rears it’s ugly-head in these situations. As @londonfeminist tweeted this morning:

Just imagining today’s headlines if Prince Harry were Princess Helen.

We all know the Daily Fail would be running headlines about a Princess Helen being disgrace to the crown, a slut, a whore and a whole passel of nincompoopery. They’d publish the photos. They wouldn’t care about a Princess’s right to privacy; not in their desperate attempt to label her a whore.

Publishing photos of people either naked or in other sexually compromising positions is sexualised violence. This should apply as equally to bucketheaded princes as it does to vulnerable 17 year olds. And, the media aren’t the only ones responsible for perpetuating this sexualised violence. Every time ordinary people google these images, they are buying into and feeding the sexual exploitation industry and helping to increase the number of sexually exploited people.

The whole reality television and “celeb” magazines industry need to die. Today.

People need to stop financially supporting the sexualised violence of others. This serves only to feed rape culture.

Oh, More Rape Apologists Whinging About Poor Ickle Sexual Predators Lives Being Ruined

I think Savannah Dietrich is a pretty incredible teenager. Having been sexually assaulted by two teenage boys, she took the very brave stand of publicly naming and shaming them despite the fact that it was technically illegal for her to do so. Now, I’m a generally fan of the theory of a  juvenile justice system whose entire purpose is supposed to be the rehabilitation and education of young offenders. I think many teenagers end up caught in the system due to the failings of the adults responsible for them. I think sealing juvenile records and keeping their names from public knowledge is, in many cases, the best way to ensure that those teenagers have the possibility to go on to become important members of our communities. But, I have two qualifiers: those who commit sexual violence and murder need to have exemptions made on a case by case basis. A fifteen year old who shoots their stepfather who had been molesting them for 4 years deserves the chance to heal in private. A fifteen year old with every advantage who chooses to get behind the wheel of a car whilst intoxicated which results in the death of a pedestrian doesn’t necessarily deserve the protection afforded by anonymity [unless, of course, said 15 year old is also a victim of abuse]. I like to live in a utopia where our teenagers are nurtured and respected and not villified for crimes caused by the Patriarchy.

The two teenage boys who sexually assaulted Savannah Dietrich don’t deserve that protection. They had no respect for Dietrich’s bodily autonomy. Then, they published photos of the assault on the internet. They needed to be held publicly accountable for their crime; particularly since they seem to be playing the victims of a smear campaign orchestrated by Dietrich. Here’s a hint, if you commit sexual assault, your reputation isn’t being smeared by being publicly named. Your reputation was smeared because YOU chose to do so by committing sexual assault. It is YOUR fault. No one else is responsible for your behaviour. Just you.

Judging by this article in the Huffington Post, I suspect the boy’s defence attorneys might want to revisit the concepts of personal responsibility and free will.  Or, at least, contemplate not making public statements that make your clients look even more pathetic and guilty than they already are. Yeah, death threats were a tad OTT but suggesting that the victim of their sexual assault ruined the lives of the perpetrators by holding them publicly accountable is just stupid, rape apologist horseshite. Being kicked out of the high school you attend with your victim and being forced to move are the NATURAL CONSEQUENCES of sexual assault. NO ONE should be forced to live near or go to school with the person who sexually assaulted or raped them. The fact that the defence attorney of one of the attackers, David Mejia, thinks that the possibility that his client might lose a potential scholarship to an Ivy League university is worse than the sexual assault his client committed just demonstrates how fucked-up rape apologists are. His client should be in therapy. He should be in therapy as part of his legal punishment to deal with the fact that he’s a sexual predator.

We never hold sexual predators properly accountable for their crimes.

We always excuse them by blaming their victims.

Savannah Dietrich has kicked off a public debate which seems to be changing the discourse around sexual violence and personal responsibility. I’m glad she’s taking the very brave step of naming and shaming her attackers but how shameful is it that it takes a teenager to get the media to notice the vileness that is rape apologism?

I also notice a real lack of left-wing right-on Dudes declaring Dietrich a hero for her use of “Free Speech” but that’s because “Free Speech” protects the perpetrator’s right to publish photos of their sexual assault and not the victim’s right to publicly name them.