The Lorax: Would Have Been Funnier Without the Fat Jokes or the Misogyny

Took Small to see The Lorax this morning. It was actually pretty funny in places and less patronising than Ferngully with the whole destruction of the forest killing the planet story line. Thing is, The Lorax still felt obligated to go with two utterly stupid and dire tropes: the fat, stupid sidekick and the “it’s only okay to hit girls that aren’t pretty”. I know I complained about the trailer to The Lorax previously but it just annoyed me even more in the film. This is what I said about the trailer:

It was the same tired old joke about not threatening violence against women unless they don’t ‘look’ like women: that is too say fat. Because, it’s just totally okay for children’s films to reinforce the same tired old stereotypes about women only having value if they are skinny and pretty. Or, that women can only ‘look’ like women if they are skinny. Or something. 

It would be nice if just one film directed at children didn’t include threats of violence and gender stereotyping. Is that really so much to ask? Is Hollywood so lacking in imagination that they can’t imagine a world where people don’t run about threatening to punch anyone who disagrees with them or denigrating those who don’t fit Patriarchal Constructions of Fuckability?

The normalising of male violence is harmful for everyone. It teaches boys that they are nothing but violent thugs incapable of self-control and tells girls they are responsible for the violence because they aren’t pretty enough or nag too much. And, this is without going into the whole basis of the plot which is that boys only do dangerous and stupid things to get the attention of girls. Because, boys are never, ever responsible for their own bad decisions. Always has to be the fault of a woman, [and its worth pointing out that the young boy is being raised by a single mother whilst the man who caused the tree crisis was being raised by an emotionally abusive mother reinforcing the “woman are responsible for male behaviour trope on several levels].

The fat, slow, and dim sidekick in The Lorax was a bear; one who just couldn’t keep up either intellectually or physically. It didn’t anything to the story. It wasn’t funny. It was just the same old pick on the fat kid shit which is everywhere. It was the same demeaning behaviour as evidenced in most Hollywood comedies which are anything but. Being overweight doesn’t make one stupid and it’s unbelievably tedious to see this trope used over and over again. The Lorax could have been a brilliant film; instead in went for crass jokes and offensive stereotypes. Plus ca change and all that.

Misogynistic Advertising Walk of Shame: Apparently, Rape is Funny via MyCheck

I’d like to think this is a joke. That no one would be so utterly stupid as to think rape and murder are acceptable advertising campaigns but we all know that’s precisely the kind of shit that gets advertising execs all hot and horny. After all, MAC only pulled the Ciudad Juarez limited edition make-up line after customers complained. Apparently, no one at MAC quite understood that naming make-up after a Mexican border town imploding due to drug violence and the systemic mass murder of women might be considered, well, in poor taste. Probably they all failed kindergarten or never saw Sesame Street. Even Oscar the Grouch could have worked out that naming make up after systemic VAW was just a little bit rude.

A campaign for an App, of all the stupid shit possible, which includes the use of a date rape drug and ends with the a man sharpening a knife in a room full of unconscious [or already dead] tied up women really is scrapping the barrel of indecency. Jezebel has already called MyCheck on its misogyny; as has the Israeli Times but do we really need advertising campaigns to get to this point before they are pulled. Surely, someone in advertising somewhere gets that systemic VAW isn’t funny or clever. 

This is “edited version” of the video. The article in Jezebel contains a link to the original video in its entirety: 

I’m sure someone will be along soon to inform me that I can just not purchase the App but that really isn’t the point. I’d like the entire advertising industry to remove their collective brains from wherever they have stored them and just stop making this shit. Is that really too much to ask?

Apparently, Naomi Wolf is Going to Apologise.

Naomi Wolf claims to regret this letter she wrote in the New Statesman concerning the Assange rape case. She said so on a webchat on Mumsnet yesterday. Of course, she also said: “I do not write or post rape myths. My concern is always to support rape victims and support prosecution and conviction of rapists.” I’m thinking she and I have very different definitions of what constitutes a rape myth because the letter, dated December 7th 2010, is basically one gigantic rape myth. But, heh, it’s Naomi Wolf and it’s not like she’s ever really worried about the truth. If she was, she would have fact-checked before writing this letter:

Dear Interpol:
As a longtime feminist activist, I have been overjoyed to discover your new commitment to engaging in global manhunts to arrest and prosecute men who behave like narcissistic jerks to women they are dating.

I see that Julian Assange is accused of having consensual sex with two women, in one case using a condom that broke. I understand, from the alleged victims’ complaints to the media, that Assange is also accused of texting and tweeting in the taxi on the way to one of the women’s apartments while on a date, and, disgustingly enough, ‘reading stories about himself online’ in the cab.

Both alleged victims are also upset that he began dating a second woman while still being in a relationship with the first. (Of course, as a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That’s what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!).

Thank you again, Interpol. I know you will now prioritize the global manhunt for 1.3 million guys I have heard similar complaints about personally in the US alone — there is an entire fraternity at the University of Texas you need to arrest immediately. I also have firsthand information that John Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, went to a stag party — with strippers! — that his girlfriend wanted him to skip, and that Mark Levinson in Corvallis, Oregon, did not notice that his girlfriend got a really cute new haircut — even though it was THREE INCHES SHORTER.

Terrorists. Go get ’em, Interpol!
Yours gratefully, Naomi Wolf

Now, I’m not really holding out much hope that Wolf will actually apologise properly for the rape myths in this letter. Hell, I’m not even sure if she will ever recognise the myths. The only thing she really regrets is getting the case wrong since this was never about consensual sex. Regretting writing something factually incorrect isn’t the same as apologising for deliberately and maliciously slandering the reputation of two women whose only crime was to report their rapes to the police.

The webchat on Mumsnet is a complete car crash. As ever, the women of Mumsnet prove to be brilliant, hilarious and, well, fucking awesome. Wolf comes across as an essentialist writing about several subjects that she knew very little about; particularly the section on neuroscience. I find it utterly depressing that the media continues to promote Wolf as a feminist when she is mostly a parody of herself. Her new book Vagina, the technical topic of the webchat, seems to be a mishmash of nincompoopery. I’ve only read snippets published online but even those were enough to make my toes curl in embarrassment for Wolf. However, Wolf needs to write back to the New Statesman and make a full and unreserved apology for the hurt she has caused and for continuing to perpetuate rape myths whilst claiming to support survivors. Frankly, she is the last women I would want supporting me after being raped. 

So, Kanye West, Uber-Feminist, Has Been Pondering The Word Bitch

As one does on Twitter. After penning a song by the same title. At least, I hear he’s penned a title by the same name. I’m not exactly a Kanye West fan; what with him being a misogynistic nincompoop. Not that I follow West on Twitter what with the whole following only women to combat cultural femicide policy that I have. It also has a positive effect on my blood pressure since I rarely ever have to come across West; in any way shape or form, unless I’m reading Jezebel. It was the lovely round-up on Jezebel that lead me to West’s utterly bizarre meanderings on Twitter.

Here’s a clue: if you have to ask if something is offensive, it probably is. Especially, when what you actually ask is this: 

“To be more specific, is it acceptable for a man to call a woman a bitch even if it’s endearing? Even typing it in question form it’s still feels harsh?”

The word bitch has never been anything but offensive, with the possible exception of Meredith Brook’s song Bitch but, even then, I’m not terribly convinced. And, bitch has never been a term of endearment unless you’re a misogynistic arsewipe. You know, like Kanye West is. If your partner uses the word bitch as a term of endearment, you should be dumping his arse as fast as you can.

Apparently, Stating the Obvious Makes One A “Nazi”

This should be classed under “stating the obvious” but apparently a lot of men are confused as to whether or not it constitutes rape when they stick their penis in a person who is asleep. I say a lot of men but really I mean rapists. After all, most men aren’t stupid and it doesn’t take a genius to get that a person who is asleep or high or severely intoxicated isn’t capable of consent. Turns out, according to Steve Brookstein, a man I had never heard of until he started tweeting rape myths, that stating the obvious makes one a Nazi. You know, because holding men accountable for rape is just like genocide.

Now, generally speaking, I’m against giving these kinds of aresholes any publicity but apparently Brookstein is some kind of “celebrity”. At least, he was a contestant on some sort of reality TV show. I had to google him to discover this and it served only to reinforce my belief that reality TV shows are evil. After all, this nincompoop would be stuck in the middle of nowhere talking to himself on twitter if it weren’t for whatever TV show he was on giving him publicity. Obviously there is a certain irony in me giving Brookstein publicity by blogging about him but the level of rape apologism over the past few weeks has made me reconsider my opinion on ignoring stupidity in the ignorant. Ignoring these men’s rants on social media platforms is allowing rape culture to flourish.

Brookstein has tweeted his support of Assange by stating that sex with an unconscious women isn’t rape. He has tweeted that Orla Vuss deserved to be raped by Ched Evans because she was a “drunken slag”. In Brookstein’s world women who respect themselves don’t get raped. And, anyone who disagrees with him is a Nazi. Invoking Godwin’s law isn’t exactly evidence of a rapier wit or any kind of basic intelligence but Brookstein seems to have a lot of supporters who agree with him. Course, I’m not entirely sure why anyone would want the support of rapists but we need to call out rape apologist or we are just as guilty of perpetuating rape culture.

For those MRA’s reading this, and I know you are, this is Vera Baird on the legal definition of rape which is sex without consent. It was originally published in the Huffington Post :

Wednesday’s piece by Brendan O’ Neill is wrong in citing the case of DPP v Morgan as if it were the law on rape.

That case was overturned almost a decade ago.

He says that feminist have wrongly said – about the Assange situation – “Sex without consent is rape”. Let us let pass by the fact that, on that version, George Galloway is a feminist, since he “clarified” his first wrong assertions saying exactly that.

The law of rape is available to all, including yesterday’s author, in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

It says that it is rape if a man (A) has sex with either a woman or a man who does not consent and who A does not reasonably believe is consenting.
Whether a belief is reasonable has to be determined having regard to all the circumstances including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether s/he is consenting. (Section 1 ) However it also says that there is a presumption that there is no consent if the person was asleep or otherwise unconscious at the time of the relevant act. (Section 75)

On both bases, “Sex without consent is rape” as Galloway said, is a reasonable summary of the law when A’s companion is unconscious.

Sleeping people cannot consent and what reasonable person could think that they can?

What has been discussed is some presumption of ongoing consent from earlier consensual sex but that is untenable since nobody can tell from a sleeping person whether they do or do not want to repeat the experience.

None of this affects the consensual nature of the earlier sex.

A’s companion may be willing to have more sex but the only practical way to know his/her state of mind it to ascertain it at the time and that is certainly the lawful way to behave.

Feminists on twitter have been calling out Brookstein all week on his ignorant pro-rape rantings. It would be nice if more men stood up to be counted in the War on Women by telling Brookstein, and all his stupid supporters, precisely what real men think of rape apologists.