“Underage Girls”: Victim-Blaming by Proxy

I always have these half-formed blogs posts that I never quite finish and then some journalist, in this case Deborah Orr, comes along and writes it. With this piece, it was partly my lack of confidence in my ability to explain what I meant but also the realisation that naming men, especially celebrities, would inevitably involve naming the young women they abused. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about child rape in a manner that would label another woman’s experience as part of the spectrum of sexualised violence. Do I have the right to do so without their consent? On the Relationships board of Mumsnet, there are frequently posts by women asking if their experience constitutes rape or some other form of sexualised violence. In those cases the answer is, inevitably, yes and the threads become both places of support and places to share stories safely. But, taking the story of someone famous (or identifiable in their own community) and labelling it as child rape without them using the term feels invasive. But, at the same time, is it not silencing to refrain from discussing these stories which leads to further normalisation of unhealthy relationships and sexualised violence? I’m loathe to label experiences for other women whilst simultaneously believing we need to. I’ve had these conversations before but I am never sure where the line should be drawn: insisting that we do not obfuscate or minimise sexualised violence whilst worrying about harming those who have not yet labelled their experiences.  

I’ve been thinking about the line between obfuscation and the power of labelling since the documentary on Jimmy Savile was first announced. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the use of language to label and define child sexual abuse since I’m increasingly concerned as to how language is being used to obfuscate both the sex of the children and their age in an attempt at victim-blaming-by-proxy. I think its important that we identify the sex of the victims. All to often the calls to remain gender neutral, designed to ensure that male victims of sexualised violence aren’t omitted, serve only to silence the fact that the vast majority of victims of sexualised violence are women and girls. It also elides the fact that the vast majority of sexual predators are male. Frankly, I’m getting more than slightly angered by the constant attempt to be gender neutral. No one disputes the fact that men are victims of rape. No one disputes the fact that male children are victims of rape. All we are asking is for the acknowledgement that the vast majority of victims of sexualised violence are women and children and that the vast majority of perpetrators are male. To argue otherwise, silences victims and lets perpetrators continue to get away with harming others. 

I’ve also become increasingly concerned by the the conflation terms of “paedophile” and “underage girls”. Now, I do believe that paedophilia is a psychiatric illness but I find it incredibly bizarre that every man who rapes a child is called a paedophile when it is simply not true. The term paedophilia is used indiscriminately to obscure the fact that many men, perhaps even most, who rape children do so because they want to without having any underlying psychiatric condition. In fact, men who are paedophiles also rape children because they choose too. A psychiatric illness does not always negate criminal responsibility. There are some which limit or restrict personal and criminal responsibility but paedophilia isn’t one of them and, technically, Savile wouldn’t be classed as a paedophile since the girls he raped were post-puberty. Conflating paedophilia with child rape allows rapists to elide and conceal responsibility for raping 15 year olds because they aren’t “children”.

The competing use of the term “underage girls” also feels like its obfuscating the fact that these are children. We can’t use the term “girl” anymore to label a female child since it now refers to adult women; effectively erasing the question of legality and the definition of child rape. The use of “girl” confuses the boundary between adulthood and childhood making it easier for male sexual predators to claim ignorance about the exact age of the child they are abusing. “Underage girls” puts the focus on the victim, not the abuser. The abuser makes it all their fault. It is not a compliment to be labeled a “girl”. It is a way of silencing criticism of male predatory behaviour towards teenage girls. If all women are “girls”, then there is no reason why an adult male can’t have sex with a 16 year old. 

The use of the term “underage girls” has simply evolved into victim-blaming. It is their fault an abusive man groomed and then raped them. It is their fault for looking 18 instead of 15. But, we never question why men who are 25 or 35 or 50 want to fuck 18 year olds. It is about power. It is about control. Why are these men worried about the very fine line between legal and not legal. A sexual relationship between a 15 year old girl and 35 year old man is illegal. A sexual relationship between an 18 year old and a 35 year old may not be illegal but it is still creepy.  The power dynamics are wrong. This isn’t about love relationships. It’s about fulfilling a desire for power and control. We should be criticising and questioning these men; not congratulating them for joining Hugh Hefner in the abuse of young women.

We need to stop obfuscating with language and start using words like child rape to refer to relationships between 15 year old girls and 35 year olds. We need to start asking men why they find an 18 year old sexually attractive because it isn’t just about women who pass the Patriarchal Fuckability Test. It’s about the real definition of the Patriarchal Fuckability test: being young, frequently malnourished, sexually available at any time but only to fulfil the male orgasm. The male orgasm is the only point that matters in sex. The sexual desires of adult women are eroded and subsumed into a rhetoric of domination. 

But, then we also pretend that teenage girls should be pleased that middle aged men find them sexually appealing rather than being utterly creeped out by it. We groom them into thinking that being desired by older men is something to aspire too; that their only value is in their sexual availability. We need to stop celebrating men who date young women barely out of childhood. We need to start asking these men why they can’t date women their own age. What is the difference between an 18 year old whose birthday has just passed and a 17 year old a week away from her 18th birthday? What makes adult men think this is reasonable behaviour? What are we teaching our girls if we are raising them to believe that having sex with a man old enough to be their father is all that they deserve. If women and girls were truly valued, we would not be obfuscating the line between consensual sex between two competent adults and the sexual abuse of young women and girls by older men.

And, let’s be clear here. The level of child rape in the Jimmy Savile case isn’t confined to the BBC. It’s everywhere. We’ve just been pretending it doesn’t matter for so long that we have completely silenced our childrenPretending that it was a problem for the BBC in the past is a vile lie which simply serves only to perpetuate and perpetrate rape culture. Our children deserve better than this. 

Reddit: Free Speech is the Privilege of Men

I promised myself I wouldn’t write about this case. There is nothing I can say that a thousand other Feminists haven’t been saying for years about Reddit’s stance on misogyny. They are all for it. I mean, I’ve never used Reddit but it’s a social media platform. It doesn’t matter which one you mention, they all support misogyny [and racism, disablism and homophobia]. They all hide behind the construct of “free speech” to protect the right of men to say and do what they want without any thought to the harm their actions/ speech cause. It is the very essence of male entitlement and privilege. As I’ve said elsewhere, publishing photos, nude or otherwise sexualised, without consent is sexualised violence. This is an issue of consent and of the right to privacy. It is not something that should be covered under the construct of “free speech”. Free speech is the legal protection for the right to critique the government and other political/ cultural structures. The right to free speech is not the same as the right to be a jackass. The fact that a large number of men are confused by this is their problem. We shouldn’t indulge their desire to allowed to be as violent as possible just because they want to. There is no right to “Free speech” for those who are actively harmed in the perpetuation and perpetration of rape culture. We need to stop pretending that the right to free speech is more important than anything else. 

It is the issue of “creepshots” which has brought Reddit to the attention of mainstream press but not because rendering women into objects by uploading photos their sexualised bodies without consent is wrong. Nor is it because the issue of creepshots creates some serious legal implications in terms of the right to privacy and what constitutes a criminal offence. Nor is it because of questions the the construction of “sexuality, entitlement and public consumption.”  That’s not why men are having whiny-arsed tantrums and the media is running stories on it.* Nope, the issue has come up because Feminists have taken the step to publicly out the men perpetrating sexualised violence.

The hypocrisy of these men whining about their right to privacy having been violated by being named online when they have deliberately and maliciously participated in the sexualised violence of women by posted “creep” shots of them without consent is unbelievable. I am so very glad that someone with the computer skills tracked them down and named them. Yes, the expectation of privacy whilst in public is non-existent but that’s but that’s because we perceive women’s bodies as public objects. Women have as much right to privacy as does the statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square. The level of male entitlement to women’s bodies of which they should have no access is unbelievable. If we complain about being objectified, then we are abused and humiliated; labelled whores and fat and ugly and stupid and frigid.

We need to hold these men accountable for their sexual predation. If the law won’t support us in criminalising these forms of sexualised violence, then we too should have the right to free speech without limit. We should be legally entitled to name and shame these men as they have named and shamed us. Michael Brutsch didn’t want to be publicly identified as Violentacrez because of his family. Yet, he did not care about publicly humiliating women or perpetrating rape culture. If he did not want his real life name attached to Reddit sites  publishing photos under the terms: jailbait, rapebait, incest and misogyny, then he shouldn’t have put them up in the first place. His behaviour is the problem. Not the Feminist activists who are holding him publicly accountable for the sexualised violence he perpetrated. If James Silverwood and Dominic Terry were actually concerned about their right to privacy, they shouldn’t have started a Facebook page called “12 year old sluts”. These men need to be held accountable for the harm caused by their behaviour and we should have the right to call them on it. Otherwise, free speech is nothing more than a joke; a privilege of men denied to all others. 

So, a huge thank you to my Feminist sisters who have called these violent sexual predators out.

This is nothing less than a War on Women.

It is a war whose battlefields are women’s bodies.

We have every right to fight back with every piece of technology available; after all, men are using the same technology to destroy us.

*The vast majority of news stories I’ve come across have been written by Feminists like Kira Cochrane. However, I do not believe the media would be running these stories in mainstream press if it weren’t for the fact that Feminist activists have started outed the sexual predators involved in taking and distributing the photos. These sites have been running for years without any real comment on the level of misogyny they perpetuate. 

Ice Age 4: Another Kids Film, More Asinine Gender Stereotypes

I’m not sure why I even bother taking the kids to the pictures anymore. They inevitably serve to make unbearably cantankerous with the constant gendered stereotyping and, frequently, the erasure of female characters. However, it was pissing with rain and my house already looks like  a Turner prize installation art project what with the layer of paper mache, painted shoe boxes and toilet paper tube mobiles and that’s without mentioning the cat who bears more than a passing resemblance to a disco ball with the amount of glitter stuck to her. So, off to the pictures we went. And, yeah, I’m cheap so it was the kids club movie which is why I’m reviewing a film that’s been out for several months already.

Ice Age 4 has, at least, a few female characters. You know, the ubiquitous ones: the crazy old bat, self-sacrificing mother, and the “evil” temptress who falls in love with a cock and then learns to be good. Plus, there’s the whole rebellious teenage daughter who learns that doing exactly what Daddy tells you to do is the only way to be “good”. And, yeah, a character actually does refer to the grandmother as a “crazy old bat” because there is nothing funnier that disablist comments about dementia. She’s also spiteful because  it wouldn’t be funny if a character with dementia wasn’t spiteful too.

Ice Age 4 had some funny moments but the female characters were just awful. Some of the worst written characters I’ve seen in a while. The evil, stubborn temptress who just needs to be rescued and fall in love with her rescuer to become a “real” woman is just so tedious and repetitive. As is the story of a teenage girl dumping her best friend to go off with the “cool dude”, slags off her friend and then everyone, miraculously, becomes best mates. That’s bullying. It isn’t something we should be showing young children. 

Yeah, there are places where the female characters “rescue” someone but it is never as important as being rescued by Daddy/ Lover. Because Daddy/ Lover knows best. Daddy/ Lover always knows best and where would we be without the Anxious Patriarch trope? I mean, kids might actually learn to engage critically with the Patriarchy. And, then kick the ever living shit out of it. And, we couldn’t have that. Nope. Not at all.

Oh, and from a completely non-feminist perspective, what is it with kids movies and lame song interludes? Sure, if the movie is supposed to be a musical but one random and seriously fucking stupid song in the middle? Just, why? Are there no competent musicians in LA who could be brought in to write non-stupid songs for children? Or, better yet, just skip the musical interlude all together.

Positive Anti- Rape Campaigns: We Can Stop It.

I’ve ranted about some of the more offensive rape campaigns before, with the West Mercia Police coming for some serious criticism for the victim-blaming shite they tried to pass off as an anti-rape campaign. There are, however, some new really positive campaigns who hold the rapist responsible for rape. I attended the Rape Crisis Scotland annual conference in Glasgow last week where a few of the better campaigns were advertised. I’m going to post links to some of them over the next few days. I would, however, like to post links to any positive international campaigns. So, please send me links either as a comment to this blog or to my email: stewiegriffinsmom@gmail.com

There have been 3 very good campaigns in Scotland in the past 5 years.  Two were developed by Rape Crisis Scotland. The newest campaign called We Can Stop and was developed by the local police forces. The tagline: “Sex without Consent is Rape. We Can Stop it.” is one that Assange might want to think about. The entire campaign focuses on men. It puts the onus on men to understand the legal definition of rape and consent:

Rape. Are you the type of guy who understands what this really means?
In Scotland the law relating to rape has recently changed. It now concentrates on what ‘consent’ means and the fact that consent can be withdrawn at any time. In addition, sexual attacks on men have been legally classed as ‘rape’ for the very first time.

It also directly challenges rape myths which is more than the Met managed with their fancy-pants new campaign which ended up being the same patriarchal, victim-blaming bullshit about women making themselves vulnerable to rape. You’d think that the specialist rape unit of the Met might be slightly more aware of rape myths but, you’d be wrong.

By far, the most powerful part of the campaign is the images: 

Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel

I love Margaret Laurence. She’s a brilliant but criminally under-rated Canadian author. As with most Canadians my generation, I first came across her work as a set text in high school. In my case, it was the short story collection A Bird in the House. It remains my favourite book by Laurence but The Stone Angel is a close second. 

The Stone Angel is set in the fictional town of Manawaka; as are A Jest of God, Fire-Dwellers, A Bird in the House and The Diviners. The Stone Angel is the life-story of 90 year old Hagar Shipley who tells it retrospectively whilst living in the house of her eldest son and his wife. Without giving away too much, The Stone Angel is basically about the choices and the consequence therein that women make, the relationship decisions that leave devastation in their wake, and growing old knowing the mistakes made caused those Hagar loved pain. 

Laurence’s books are a must-read for everyone. All of her books centre around women. In many ways, they are a celebration of women; even when they are self-destructive or self-deluded. They are real, which in a culture which celebrates “reality TV” and “celeb culture, feels incredibly powerful and frightening.

My two favourite quotes: 

“Privacy is a privilege not granted to the aged or the young.” 

“Pride was my wilderness, and the demon that led me there was fear. I was alone, never anything else, and never free, for I carried my chains within me, and they spread out from me and shackled all I touched.”

So, Feminist are *Negative* and *Only See the Bad In Everything*

Sometimes Twitter is a fountain of fascinating information and sometimes you end up reading things like this and then rocking in the corner sobbing. I can’t decide what bothers me most about this: that the information isn’t actually correct or that it’s supposed to be aimed at AS level Sociology students. Now, granted I live in Scotland so maybe I’m confused and the AS level is for 12-14 year olds but if it isn’t then this is disgraceful.

This is the information on the unit of feminism in Sociology listed on Oldham Sixth Form College’s Interactive Learning for GCSE and A-Level website:

– Many feminists are very NEGATIVE about the society we live in and always see the BAD in everything. Most feminists believe that society is male dominated – this is called PATRIARCHY. 

– They look at society on a MACRO scale [this means that they look at society on a large scale]. They want to generalise their ideas about males and females to the whole of society.

– Feminists also believe that society is based on CONFLICT, this means disagreement. The conflict is between the SEXES – males and females. They believe that women have been disadvantaged in society and that men have more power than women and that this is not right.

– There are lots of different feminist theories not just one. They all share one thing in common – they look at the differences in society between men and women and try to see how these problems could be solved. 

– Liberal feminism – they believe that women and men are becoming more equal in society. They see that the problem was caused by the law being sexist and also the differences in socialisation[way we are brought up] between males and females. To solve this we need to be socialised differently and get rid of sexist laws.
– Marxist Feminism – they believe that men and women are still unequal in society. Women arethere to benefit capitalism by being unpaid housewives and having low paid part time jobs. The problem is capitalism and the solution is to get rid of it and replace it with a communist societywhere men and women will be equal.
– Radical Feminism – they also believe that men and women are still unequal in society. Women are seen as being exploited by men and patriarchal society. Some radical feminists believe the solution is separatism – this means that men and women should live apart.
1. True or False Quiz
2. Drag & Drop Quiz I
3. Drag & Drop Quiz II

I genuinely don’t know where to start critiquing this. In a past life as a teacher, I can safely say that the level of understanding required in the quizzes at the end is what I would expect a 12-14 year old. Not at the beginning of the unit, clearly, but I can’t imagine teaching 14 year olds who didn’t find these definitions patronising.* As a mother, I’d just be angry. As a Feminist, well, I can’t quite believe that anyone who teaches sociology could possibly think that *negativity* was the defining characteristic of Feminism.

I’d really like to know who wrote this guide and what exam board these children are sitting because I would hazard a guess that the sociology results aren’t exactly stellar. The definitions of the terms are so simplistic as to be completely meaningless. Some of them are beyond wrong. There is no real understanding of the actual differences between liberal, marxist/socialist and radical feminism but that’s because whoever wrote this doesn’t know what Feminism is. Feminism is a political theory. That is kind of the whole point. There is no reference to reproductive freedom or the equal pay act. There is no reference to violence against women. The assumption that Feminism has no class analysis [one of the questions in the quiz] is farcical considering the inclusion of “marxist” feminism. Class analysis is kind of the basis of Marxist critique and the assumption that Liberal and Radical Feminists don’t use class analysis is just silly. There is no mention of Women of Colour or the various waves of Feminism. There isn’t a single named Feminist.

The definitions of communism and capitalism include no structural or power analysis. And, frankly, communism was never about equality between men and women. That’s just stupid. I also missed the bit about capitalism requiring women to be housewives and work part time; as will the millions of women who work full time whilst being mothers and who still live in abject poverty. Differences in socialisation is meaningless unless you can identify what those differences are. Hell, 10 minutes on Wikipedia would better equip a student to pass their AS Sociology exam than this garbage.

I am really, really hoping that this is actually some media student’s AS level final project because the thought of a teacher writing such utter drivel makes me want to cry.

I mean, it looks like its supposed to be a study guide detailing the required knowledge to pass an AS level but that can’t be right. This can’t possibly be a study guide?

*My teenager is currently pissing herself laughing at the definition of the word conflict. 

The Met Has A Truly Original New Anti-Rape Campaign

Yep, they have a tots new campaign that has never, ever, ever been done before. One in which the Sapphire Unit, noted for its support of victims of rape and having no history of incompetence or malicious disregard for rape victims,* has come up with a brand, spanking new anti-rape campaign that has never been done before. Apparently, they are going to use licensing laws to close pubs and clubs where “high levels of rape and sexual assaults take place as part of a radical attempt to create a hostile environment for rapists.” Now, I’m sure this is a lovely new policy but 1) why haven’t they been doing this already? Surely that’s one of the reasons we have licensing laws? and 2) How will they define “high levels” considering the fact that the vast majority of rapes are never reported to the police because of their institutional disregard for the safety of women and their general policy on blaming women for being raped?**

But, this isn’t the best and original bit of the new anti-rape campaign. Nope, the big exciting bit is that it “will challenge male behaviour while attempting to speak to women about reducing their vulnerability to rape.” Because, obviously, there has never been a single rape campaign ever that has told women to stop getting raped. Possibly, the lovely Boys in Blue should have spent slightly more time looking at the new Scottish anti-rape campaign called We Can Stop It because it targets rapists. It doesn’t blame women for being raped. It blames rapists.

Women don’t need to reduce their vulnerability. The only thing that makes women vulnerable to rape is being in the presence of a rapist.

The “professionals” in the Sapphire Unit might want to visit these campaigns by Rape Crisis Scotland: This is not an invitation to rape me and Not Ever. And, stop perpetrating rape myths since this is precisely why reports of rape are down in London. It’s because women don’t trust them. 

Targeting pubs and clubs is a good idea. Targeting men and making other men responsible for policing the behaviour of their friends is a good idea. Telling women what to do to avoid rape is just the same old victim-blaming behaviour and it just shows how little the Sapphire unit has learned from the sheer number of deliberate and malicious “mistakes” their members have made over the years which resulted in an untold number of women being raped by men who should have been in jail.

*You know, if you don’t count the monumental fuck-ups of the John Worboys case or the dude who got sacked for deliberately screwing up. The Met seems to be glossing over these minor hiccups so probably we should too. Or, something.

** Obviously, I am being facetious here but I thought I’d just double check because according to Rape Crisis Scotland a not-very-large number of people didn’t get that this was ironic. 

Flaming Chickens of Mass Destruction: Catherine, Called Birdy

Catherine, Called Birdy is an utterly brilliant  and feminist children’s book about a young girl trying to carve out a space to be herself when she is nothing more than a spare object for her father to flog to the highest bider. Flaming Chickens of Mass Destruction* is the best part.

*It’s also an excellent name for an anarcho-Feminist punk band but only if you give me naming recognition.

Justin Lee Collins: Just Another Right-On Dude But One Who Inspired the #dickheaddetox

Another day; another abusive man is basically forgiven for being a violent thug. I’m getting bored of writing about all these arseholes. I’m beyond fucking angry at them continuing to be feted and forgiven for the abuse.

Justin Lee Collins is a vicious, violent thug and it is an absolute fucking disgrace that he only got 140 hours community service for harassing, stalking, and scaring the ever-loving shit out of his ex-partner. He deserves to be in jail but he is not because the judge bought into every myth about domestic violence possible.

There is nothing I can say about Collins that the Fleet Street Fox has not already said more eloquently here:

Judges know the power of words. They know that hearing “140 hours community service” is not as frightening as “six months’ jail”, and they also know that stealing a case of mineral water in a riot is not as serious as assaulting your partner over a period of seven months.
They also know, because the High Court ruled on this in July, that only words which contain a genuine and intended threat can be considered criminal. The judge in that case said people “are free to speak not what they ought to say, but what they feel”.

So idiots who write unfunny jokes about murdered five-year-old April Jones, set up silly Facebook pages mocking the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, complain about British soldiers in Afghanistan or upset the grieving by writing about having sex with the dead are – and this is important – not criminals. They’re idiots, they’re offensive, but they cannot in law reasonably be thrown in jail.
But they were.

A man, famous or otherwise, who reduces his partner to a constant state of fear, who assaults her, bullies her and admits only the part of her story she was canny enough to catch on tape IS a criminal. Justin Lee Collins is a thug, a bully, and a liar. He CAN be reasonably jailed.
But he wasn’t.

I don’t think that was because he was famous, or because he could afford a good lawyer. I think it was because a change in the law recognising that words said by a partner are part of domestic abuse, and equally as if not more damaging than a punch or a smack, will not be in force until next March so it was impossible to prosecute this little toad as he should have been.

And it’s also because we get incredibly angry about the words we see written down, forgetting that means we can tear them up, delete them or burn them, and not about the words we hear which wriggle into our heads and stay there until we are able to shake them out.
The most important words in your whole life are not the ones you see but what you hear – hello, goodbye, I do, I’m pregnant, it’s bad news I’m afraid. You might forget precisely what was said, but they change your life one way or the other and you never forget where you were, and what you were doing when you heard them.

If only judges heard what everyone else does.

If you haven’t already clicked the link to Fleet Street Fox’s article, do so. Now.

Then, read Eva Wiseman’s Naming and Shaming article in the Guardian. We need to start naming and shaming these violent misogynists. It’s a disgrace that Charlie Sheen who has got form for domestic violence against more than one partner, “accidentally” shooting then girlfriend Kelly Preston in the arm, as well as the abuse of prostitutes now has another hit television series.

I’m sick of Chris Brown who violently assaulted his partner Rihanna.

I’m sick of Mike Tyson who has a conviction for rape and a history of domestic violence. I’m sick of the rape apologists who’ve financially supported Tyson’s new career as a “motivational speaker”. I’m pissed off at Spike Lee for directing Tyson in a one-man play which whitewashed Tyson’s violent history. I’m pissed off at the rape apologists wearing Tyson’s branded clothes.

I’m sick of the child rape apologists claiming that Roman Polanski’s status as an “artiste” is more important than the child he drugged and sodomised. I’m pissed off at every child rape apologist who stood up and gave the man a standing ovation at the Oscars.

So, I’m with Eva Wiseman. Let’s start calling these “men” out for what they really are: violent misogynistic thugs who deserve our contempt and our hatred. Let’s do her dickhead detox.

James Brown: domestic violence*
Hugh Grant: abusing a prostitute
Sean Connery: domestic violence
Ike Turner: domestic violence
Mel Gibson: probation for domestic violence [not to mention the issue of racism]
Harry Morgan: domestic violence
Tupac Shakur: sexual abuse
Richard Hatch: domestic assault
Tracy Lawrence: domestic abuse
Dennis Rodman: domestic abuse
Mickey Rourke: domestic abuse
Sean Penn: domestic abuse
Paul Gascoigne: domestic violence
Stan Collymore: domestic violence
Bill Wyman: child rape**
R. Kelly: domestic abuse [amongst some other horrifying accusations]
Micheal Lohan: domestic violence
Larry Fitzgerald: restraining order for domestic violence
Santonia Holmes: multiple arrests for domestic violence
Tommy Lee: domestic violence
Alec Baldwin: emotional abuse
Steven Tyler: child rape**
Iggy Pop: child rape**
Jerry Lee Lewis: child rape**
John Peel: child rape**
Jonathon King: child rape
Gary Glitter: possessing child pornography and child rape**
Johnny Thunders: child rape*
Jimmy Page: child rape**

*I’m using both domestic abuse and domestic violence because the terms reflect the legal status of the crime in the jurisdictions in which the men were charged.

** None of these men were convicted of child rape. But, that’s because we live in a society that celebrates male violence and doesn’t give a shit about children.


Yet Another Example of Male Entitlement: Man demands access to women-only breastfeeding class

A male student midwife complained about being prohibited from attending a women-only breastfeeding class run by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). You did just read that right. Chris Butt is pissed off because the NCT put the needs of their paying clients above a male student midwife. Obviously, he has felt the need to go off whinging about this. His article was published in a subscription only magazine, however the Daily Mail covered the story here.

So, Chris Butt went whining to the press because the NCT wouldn’t let him into a women-only breastfeeding support group. Here’s the thing, many women wouldn’t care about having a male midwife. Many women wouldn’t care about have a man in a breastfeeding support group. But, these women do. They joined a women-only group for a reason. We don’t need to interrogate each of them to decide which of them has a Patriarchy-approved reason for choosing a woman-only group. They did. Now, their choices need to be respected. It’s not like the NCT banned him from all their groups; just the woman-only one. And, yeah, as a midwife, he will get to see lots of women naked but these specific women don’t want him too. So, why should his desire to be in a women-only group trump the desire of these women to access support in a women-only environment?

Frankly, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather not have deliver my baby than a man who doesn’t get the need for women-only support groups. By putting his selfish desire above the wishes of a group of women who aren’t even his patients, Butt is demonstrating a distinct lack of empathy which I’ve always thought was necessary in the medical profession. Does Butt not understand that a large percentage of domestic violence starts during pregnancy? That these women-only groups are sometimes the *only* place a woman has to access support without the violent partner being involved? What about women who aren’t allowed to be in the presence of men they aren’t related to? Shouldn’t those women be able to access support too? Or, victims of sexualised violence who feel uncomfortable around men? Thankfully, the NCT said no but we shouldn’t even be having these discussions. There is nothing wrong with women-only groups. The fact that some men think there is says more about male privilege than it does about anything else.

And, doesn’t it strike anyone else as just a little bit creepy that this man is demanding the right to access a women-only breastfeeding group, even though, the NCT had offered him an alternative group that men could attend. I mean, why?