The Hypocrisy of Left Wing Right-On Dudes.

Left-wing men are the worst hypocrites for normalising violence against women. You expect misogyny from right-wing conservatives who are anti-abortion, slut-shaming arsewipes. But, it’s those men who think they are the Dude who are the real problem in rape culture. It’s celebrities like Leonardo Dicaprio and Colin Farrell who hang out at the Playboy mansion who normalise the patriarchal construction of women as fucktoys. It’s Hugh Hefner who thinks his financial support for Roe vs Wade makes him a Dude [cus, it had nothing to do with him being allowed to fuck as many women as possible without consequece]. Or, Rolling Stone magazine who have Charlie Sheen as their cover story despite his clear history of serial domestic violence and his abuse of prostitutes [not to mention glamourising his descent into drug addiction]. It’s Roman Polanski and Chris Brown being given standing ovations despite taking no responsibility for the very serious crimes they committed. I never see mentions of Sean Penn’s arrest for domestic violence mentioned in articles lauding his status as a Dude. PETA have given props to Tommy Lee for his financial support whilst conveniently ignoring his convictions for domestic violence against his now ex-wife Pamela Anderson. Anthony Kiedis, noted supporter of Barack Obama and PETA, isn’t exactly boyfriend material with his personal history of VAW [not to mention the lyrics to The Adventures of Raindance Maggie are on the wrong side of the rape apologism debate]

Why do we only ever see female celebrities posing naked in Playboy and never male celebrities posing naked in Playgirl? Why do female celebrities have to ensure they look fuckable at 40 and have to pose naked to do so? When was the last time George Clooney, noted Dude, required to get his cock out in order to conform to the Patriarchy’s beauty standards? Okay, PETA, misogynists that they are, do have male celebrities posing naked but the image of Dave Navarro in his “Ink not Mink” campaign is nowhere near as well known as the image of Pamela Anderson defined as chunks of meat by PETA. Yeah, I’ve been harping on about PETA here recently, but, really, they are the line in the sand. Supporting the rights of animals whilst helping to perpetuate rape culture is pretty much the essence of hypocrisy.

Really, though, the nincompoops who support Assange because he runs Wikileaks whilst insisting that he couldn’t possibly be a rapist because he runs Wikileaks are the real hypocrites. The level of paranoia and serious congnitive dissonance [not to mention general stupidity] involved in their leaps of illogic are something spectacular. This was posted on the Wikileaks Twitter feed this week:

WikiLeaks @wikileaks Despite not even being charged, Assange is the most rape-smeared man in modern history. 2x to 4x that of DSK, depending on how you measure.

It’s just a #facepalm moment. Now, I haven’t read the whole of this blog but the first bit was enough to make me think the author was a dingbat with some serious paranoia issues. And, I’m sorry, but hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London whilst having a tantrum about being questioned [and not arrested] just makes Assange look like a complete prick [not to mention guilty]. Assange supporters could join with Ched Evans supporters and form a supergroup of whiny-arsed, stupid nincompoops with serious delusions of grandeur. We could call them: The Quintessential Nincompoops.

It is perfectly possible to campaign against racism or investigate corruption in government or be an environmental activist and still be a misogynist and rapist. The Occupy Movement went out of its way to disassociate itself from the women who were raped in their camps in Glasgow, New Haven, London, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Dallas [and the list goes on]. These Dudes implied, rape after rape, that the women weren’t actually “involved” in the movement or were “vulnerable” and shouldn’t have been there, or were “prostitutes”. Because, women who get themselves raped clearly brought it on themselves by being vulnerable or prostitutes or pretending to be activists. Or, some other fucking misogynistic horseshite. It just made it easier to for the right-wing arseholes in government to dismiss the entire movement.

It would be nice if those men who self-identify as “Right-On Dudes” got off the hypocritical bandwagon in behind the anti-choice, slut-shaming arsewipes and started taking the systemic violence against women seriously. Feminism needs more men who are willing to stand up in the fight against domestic violence and sexual violence. But, we need men who aren’t hypocrites. We need men that understand the systemic nature of VAW and who are willing to start changing the misogynistic discourse which places all women on a spectrum of Patriarchal Fuckability. We need men who do understand that Hugh Hefner’s “relationship” with his multiple girlfriends were abusive. We need men to understand that abusing the body of a prostitute is VAW; that pornography is VAW.

We need men who understand that misogyny is just as harmful to society as racism, homophobia and disablism are.

We need men who aren’t hypocrites.

Pussy Riot: whose freedom, whose riot?


Please reblog this radical feminist analysis of the Pussy Riot controversy. [via RadFem Hub]
Recently there has been lots of noise around the arrest of three members of Pussy Riot, a Russian anarchist female punk band. The media almost unequivocally represented them as the modern heroines of our time, fighting for freedom, democracy, sexual liberation and peace against a dark and ruthless dictatorship (articles are to be found in the NYTLe MondeThe Guardian, etc.) Feminist groups all over the Western world are sending links and petitions to “free pussy riot”, anddemonstrations have even been organised in support of the group by big institutionalised organisations such as “Osez le féminisme” (dare to be a feminist).
Now while I support without ambiguity the liberation of Pussy Riot’s members, it’s worth pausing for a minute to ask ourselves, as radical feminists, what the political dynamics are here. Why would Western media denounce so passionately the repression of feminists in Russia, when it usually only diffuses information that supports male supremacy and patriarchy? Feminism has long disappeared from any malestream media, except when journalists can turn it into male masturbation material, that is pornify either our suffering or our resistance to it. What’s going on here?
Before learning more about the case, the first thing that made me frown was the fact progressives were hailing Pussy Riot as the “new feminists”, despite that their name is fairly insulting to women. It is certainly not apolitical, since we are in a context in which pornography has deeply colonised our movement and the only groups that the media presents as feminist are those that either insult us or reclaim the very instruments of our subordination, that is, male sexual violence, PIV, pornified femininity and all the associated harmful cultural practices. These tactics of destroying the meaning of feminism form part of a general worldwide backlash against women.
I found it suspicious that Pussy Riot was getting so much media attention, even for pseudo feminist standards. You can measure the degree of feminism of an action by how men react to it, and if men collectively cheer and celebrate it, then you can be pretty sure there’s something wrong about it, or that it doesn’t somehow support our liberation from men. And as far as I can recall, even the slutwalks didn’t get as much coverage or public appraisal. What was it that men liked so much about Pussy Riot?
Well, under closer inspection I discovered that the high level of coverage was related to – though indirectly – promoting men’s right to women’s sexual subordination and the pornification of our movement. The arrested women actually form part (and are victims of) a mixed anarchist group called “Voina” (meaning “war”), founded in 2007 by two men called Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolaïev, who regularly engage the women in extreme and degrading women-hating pornography as part of their public “political stunts”. Some of Voina’s men have actually already been incarcerated in 2011 for hooliganism – which is punished for 7 years of prison in Russia, but their bail was paid for by an artist named “Banksy” four months after their imprisonment. (More information can be foundhere and here)
Included in their anti-government actions are a “public orgy” in the national museum of biology in a room full of stuffed bears, where several men anally penetrated their female partners in a position of submission, including one heavily pregnant women, as a metaphor to “bugger/fuck Medvedev”. “Medved” means “bear”, hence all the stuffed bears – this was meant to be symbolic, artistic and revolutionary according to the activists. Here the male anarchists literally used women as dead bodies or receptacles through which to make a political point to other men. Violating women as a means to offend other men is nothing else but an age-old patriarchal mechanism – behind which the intended target are us, for men to bond over our annihilation.
Another planned stunt in the name of “sexual freedom”, inspired by extreme forms of pornography such as zoophilia/ necrophilia, includes a member of Pussy Riot masturbating with a dead chicken in a supermarket under the watch and camera of the anarchist males, after which she inserts the dead chicken entirely into her vagina and hobbles with the chicken inside her out of the supermarket. This is how the male members themselves describe their act of “liberation”:
“How to Snatch a Chicken: A Tale of How One Cunt fed the Whole of the Group Voina… in honor of their hero, a 19th century political philosopher/prisoner, Voina’s president’s wife dubbed “Vacuous Cunt With Inconceivably Huge Tits,”smuggled a chicken out of a grocery store in said “Vacuous Cunt…”  [the journalist comments] : First, the troupe searched for a large and fresh enough chicken. Then, the store isles and CCTV cameras were blocked by the members of the group holding up banners with “FUCK WHORING YOURSELF!” smeared on them in I-don’t-want-to-know-what. The blockade allowed Vacuous Cunt to promptly stuff and smuggle the poultry out of the store, which was then presumably cooked and eaten.[1]
The president is presumably Oleg, and the woman in question, apparently his wife – a situation which would qualify as domestic abuse and sexual slavery given the level of violence, women-hatred and humiliation directed at the women involved. The woman is reduced to a corpse to be ‘stuffed’ in the most degrading and insulting way. No woman would desire such things as inserting a dead chicken in her vagina in public were she not under heavy control and terror. Also of note is the fact that one of their children was brought to this stunt, visibly no older than four. Sexual exhibitionism in the presence of children may also qualify as child sexual abuse. How deeply has women-hatred sunk into men’s minds, that they are incapable of imagining a riot without it being a by-the-book copy of a gonzo porn film? Here again, we see men instrumentalising women and using sexual torture of women as a means to communicate a political message (which if not totally vacuous, communicates nothing other than their hatred of women).
Perhaps the most saddening action of all consisted in filming one of the women naked, covered in cockroaches, meant to be understood as “sexy”. The association of women to filth and parasites to be eliminated couldn’t be clearer. This is women-hating, genocidal propaganda at its most dangerous form. Voina’s men give the world to see where women’s place must be, even when fighting against authoritarian regimes: head down, underneath men and fucked by them.
Now what does this mean for us, what can be understood from the media’s silence about Voina’s pornographic exploitation of women, when all the attention is focused on promoting Pussy Riot as our modern heroines? The effect and intent is political. While all the public eyes are set on the Russian representatives of the state and religion as the ultimate fascists, dictators and machos, we are made to forget that the primary oppressors and tyrants of these particular women are the men closest to them, that is, Voina’s men and their use of pornography to demean, oppress and enslave their female comrades. They are their everyday police, the fascists and colonisers breaking the women’s resistance, occupying their souls, sentencing them to public humiliation and subordinating them through sexual abuse. We are made to forget that these women are doubly victimised: first victims of the violence by the men of their own group, they are then punished and held responsible for the abuse committed against them.
By holding Pussy Riot as examples of resistance, being silent about the pornographic violence and denouncing the state and religious authority as the only oppressor, it follows that the media is complicit with the men from Voina. It protects the anarchist’s individual impunity, and more generally, furthers all men’s interest in promoting rape and women-hating propaganda. It also prevents women in general from identifying men’s sexual violence and the harms of the penis as the primary agents of our oppression. It distracts and disgusts women away from feminism. What kind of dignity and respect for our movement can women have if the only models of resistance given to us by the media are those to be seen by millions of men as humiliated, soiled and degraded in this way?  Even the most brave and valiant women, who fight bare handed and alone against Putin and the religious authority, must be shown by men to the world as surrendering and conquered.
If we want justice for the women imprisoned and to show true solidarity, we need to not only denounce the injustice by the Russian state, but also denounce the violence by the men from Voina. We need to recognise and openly denounce the pandemic levels of sexual violence present in most male-centric leftist or anarchist activist groups, whereby women are often pimped by the men of the group for pornography or expected to submit to extremely violent or degrading acts in the name of “sexual freedom”. What counts for these men is to fight for men’s total public access to women, especially militant women, because it really serves to put all women back in line. The weapon of mass destruction against women is the penis and this is why all men are focusing on making Putin look bad while they say nothing about the bastards of Voina.
For our sisters, for all women, we need to say out loud that this is not feminism.
–  HUB Newsfeed

Pussy Riot: Gender, Free Speech, Benevolent Sexism and “Western” Hypocrisy?

I’ve been following the legal trials of Pussy Riot for several months now. I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable about the directions the press has taken with this case and with the level of celebrity endorsement, particularly on the issue of free speech. Whilst I do think this issue is fundamentally about the right to free speech, I don’t think it is the right to free speech that the media suggests. I have always felt that the right to free speech only supports those in power or a very small group of those with no access to formal power but who can engage with the media. I don’t think discussions about the right to free speech are ever supportive of marginalised groups; no matter how much left-wing men swear it is. Free speech is the rallying cry of pornographers, neo-Nazis, rape apologists, and racists who assert that their right to be a jackass is more important than the harm they cause. Hearing people defend the tenets of free speech always makes me twitchy. Free speech, like pacifism, is a position only available to people with privilege. After all, the right to free speech is irrelevant if you live in abject poverty in a place with no access to electricity and, subsequently, have no real medium in which to assert that right.

A couple of weeks ago the journalist Miriam Elder, who is the Moscow correspondent for the Guardian, tweeted this:

Curious: do you think there would be such a campaign against Pussy Riot if they were men? And such a campaign of support in the west?

I’ve been pondering this since she tweeted it but haven’t quite been able to articulate my concerns about the way the media is constructing Pussy Riot. I’m a big fan of anarcho-feminist punk bands, or any feminist musicians,  and feminist performance art but there is something wilfully disingenuous about the uncritical way in which Pussy Riot are being portrayed in the “Western” media. This is not to say that I think Pussy Riot deserve to be convicted for hooliganism in this case. Far from it, I think arresting non-violent protestors is one of the Patriarchy’s favourite power plays. It’s a nasty silencing technique. The three members of Pussy Riot should never have been arrested; never mind convicted. However, I do have concerns about the media’s treatment of Pussy Riot; particularly since Pussy Riot were not protesting the right to free speech. Free speech is somewhat of red herring here. The debate for “free speech” is just the same old “Western” hypocrisy and benevolent sexism pretending to liberate women when all it does is further constrain us.

Until last night I thought I was the only one with these concerns. Then, Rowan Davies tweeted a link to this article on RadFem Hub: A Radical Feminist Collective Blog. I had no idea about Pussy Riot’s connections to Voina. To be fair, I hadn’t actually heard of Voina either. A perusal of google suggests they are a political performance art group; that is usually code for general misogynistic pornography pretending to be “art”. PETA has a similar policy and I think they are all misogynistic nincompoops too. Voina are, simply, quite vile, nasty misogynists. It would be very hard to argue the right to free speech based on their campaigns which is why the creation of Pussy Riot was both a necessity for publicity and a way of obfuscating Voina’s misogyny.

The relationship between Pussy Riot and Voina disturbs me but it also explains why Pussy Riot are getting so much “Western” media interest. Generally speaking, the media’s interest in Feminism is either to force women into accepting the pornographication and objectification of their bodies or to belittle, humiliate and denigrate feminists. I don’t think Pussy Riot would have received media attention in the “West” if they were male. I don’t know anywhere near enough about the internal workings of the Russian government so I can’t really comment on whether or not I think a male punk performance band would have been arrested in similar circumstances. But, I do believe that Pussy Riot is only garnering support in the “West” because of the holdover of the anti-communist hysteria, anti-feminist discourse and because of “benevolent sexism”. The inclusion of “free speech” is about the free speech of pornographers; it’s not about the free speech of feminists.

Pussy Riot are getting support from male artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney, and Stephen Fry because of “free speech”. I think their various personal histories of misogynistic discourse make their definitions of “free speech” both hypocritical and lacking in political analysis. I do truly believe a lot of their support is because Pussy Riot have vaginas and are young and pretty. It is benevolent sexism: the protection and support of pretty women whose personal voices are erased in order for the Menz to feel better about themselves [or ignore their own inappropriate behaviour]. Benevolent sexism is incredibly harmful to the Feminist movement because it gives the appearance of male support without acknowledging the conditions of that support; notably passing the Patriarchal Fuckability Test as Pussy Riot do.  I don’t think that this is necessarily a conscious decision on the part of some of their male supporters but I think it is there. This is not to say that Pussy Riot aren’t either deliberately using the PFT as a way of garnering support or that they aren’t aware of being used in this manner. It’s certainly not the first time women have used the benevolent sexism card to push through their legal demands.

It’s also worth acknowledging that the only major world artist whose been attacked for their support is Madonna who was labeled a moralising “slut” by Dmitry Rogozin, a deputy minister. Madonna expressed her support at a performance in Russia; as did the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Paul McCartney. I haven’t heard of anyone referring to members of RHCP as sluts. And, let’s be honest here, Anthony Kiedis’ sexual history isn’t exactly that of a man who respects women.  I also don’t see a group of celebs lining up to pay for the legal costs of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samustsevich as, apparently, Banksy did when he paid the bail of several members of Voina when they were arrested at a previous demonstration. Nor, do I see anyone really upset about the possibility of Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova’s young children being taken into care. After all, the loss of their children into foster care isn’t about the right to free speech for men. 

I also don’t think Pussy Riot were just arrested because they were criticising the Russian government. I think they were charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred because they identified as Feminist activists. This case is as much about silencing feminists as it is about the right to “free speech”. It is about patriarchal approval for the right kind of feminists: those who think that prostitution and pornography are valid “career choices” rather than the abuse and torture of vulnerable women. I doubt very much that the male celebs lining up to support Pussy Riot would be doing so if the women were also anti-pornography and anti-prostitution campaigners who refused to use the language of pornography in their campaigns. Similarities to the Ukrainian feminist group Femen, who have support in the “West” are striking.

I do believe the right to free speech is an important requirement in a democracy. But, we don’t have it now and we never really had it. Free Speech is about rich, white men being allowed to say whatever they want, whenever they want it. It’s about allowing pornographers to abuse and torture women’s bodies without taking any responsibility for the harm. So, whilst I have supported the campaign to free Pussy Riot, I have not been doing so uncritically under some misguided construction of feminism or free speech. 

I have been supporting Pussy Riot because no one deserves to be imprisoned for singing and dancing.

I have been supporting Pussy Riot because we need to change the discourse around free speech so that it applies equally to minority groups.

I have been supporting Pussy Riot because we need to stop using women’s bodies as political tools.

I have been supporting Pussy Riot because the #waronwomen is destroying women’s lives everywhere.

Child maintenance: Defining financial child abuse

There is no birth control which is 100% effective. Most women know that every time they have PIV, they are risking pregnancy. We have sex because we enjoy it; despite the knowledge of all the possible lifetime consequences. We know the difficulties of choosing whether or not continue the pregnancy. We know that many women do not have a choice; whether it is because there is no access to abortion in their area or if poverty will force a “choice” on them. We know what pregnancy can do to our bodies in a “normal healthy” pregnancy; never mind one in which we could potentially have SPD, anaemia, gestational diabetes, hyperemesis, or pre-eclampsia. We know the all the possible consequences of giving birth; vaginally or via caesarian. We know the possibilities of post-natal depression, tearing and even the fact that domestic violence frequently starts or gets more severe during pregnancy. We know the statistics because we know the realities. We see them every day in our families and our friends.

The real question is why do so many men (and some women) assume that men should face no consequences for fathering a child? And, why does the government support the right of these losers to fuck women with impunity whilst slut-shaming those women for having sex?  Why does the government think it should punish some women for withholding contact from abusive men without punishing those same men for the abuse or their failure to pay maintenance? Why do men get to do whatever they want whenever they want with no legal or moral requirement for them to act like an adult?

Here’s the thing: I think withholding maintenance is financial child abuse. If you help create a child, then you damn well better financially support them. Men who withhold maintenance to punish the mother are committing child abuse. Failure to support your child is neglect and should be legally recognised as such. If the primary carer, otherwise known as the mother, could go to prison for child neglect for failing to adequately feed and clothe their child, then why shouldn’t the erstwhile “father”? These men aren’t “good fathers” and the pretence that they are actively harms children. Children need good, kind men in their lives. They don’t need abusive arseholes who prioritise fancy cars and booze above the basic needs of their children.

And, yeah, I think men who don’t bother to financially support their child, shouldn’t be allowed access. Deliberately withholding support should be a legally valid reason to deny contact. Men who use access to control their ex-partners should be prohibited from contact. Men who commit domestic violence against their partners shouldn’t be allowed contact with their children. If you assault your partner, then you can’t ever be a good father. Good fathers are not abusive. Children deserve the right to be raised in a happy and secure home; not one in which their “father” gets to dictate everything that happens just because he has a penis.

Failing to support your children means you aren’t a real man. You deserve to be named and shamed. You are responsible for the feminisation of poverty.

You are the reason our old government had to subsidise single mothers through tax credits and income support. You are the reason that these same women will be pushed further into poverty by our current government of misogynistic arsehats. These are the people who are destroying our families; not single mothers who are desperately trying to feed and clothe their children whilst dealing with abusive men and a society that doesn’t think men should be held responsible for anything. Ever.

Canada has a much better track record with child maintenance than the UK. The assumption there is that men should pay to support their children in order to prevent women’s dependence on the welfare state. Perhaps our current government of nincompoops should have looked into that instead of slashing the welfare budget creating a whole new generation of vulnerable children being raised in poverty. These are the consequences for failure to pay in Canada

  • Make deductions from wages (maximum of 40% gross wage);
  • MEP can take money payable to the debtor from bank accounts, mutual funds, rent or contract fees;
  • Garnish income tax refunds, GST rebates, Canada Pension Plan income, and Employment Insurance payments;
  • The debtor may be prevented from transferring any property he or she wishes to sell, and allows MEP to seize assets including vehicles, shares and bonds;
  • The debtor may have his or her driver’s licence, registration, licence plates, or abstracts restricted or suspended;
  • Recreational licences for fishing and hunting may be restricted;
  • MEP may cancel current driver’s licences for account more than 60 days in late payments;
  • Passports can be revoked;
  • MEP may prevent an owner from re-mortgaging or selling real estate without first making payments. In some cases MEP may force sale of real estate;
  • Failure to make child support payments may be registered as bad debt and affect credit;
  • If assets are being kept in the name of a company, MEP can apply for a court order allowing the company’s assets to be used to pay for the debt;
  • MEP may seize assets the debtor tries to sell; and/or
  • If assets are being put in someone else’s name to avoid collection, MEP can apply for a court order allowing for their seizure
It’s easily assessed via personal income tax which is filed yearly. Yes, there are real holes in the system and some men do get away with child financial neglect but, at least, Canada recognises that men who refuse to support their children are committing a crime which has long-term consequences for those children. The UK needs to take a real stand against abusive men and start forcing men to take responsibility for where they decide to ejaculate.

Gingerbread Campaign on CSA