Why I argue

Mary Wollstonecraft is awesome and kinda hilarious.


No, seriously.  That’s pretty much it.

As a woman, there seems to be a great deal of pressure for me to be nice and sweet and not argumentative.    I happen to enjoy being argumentative.

In part because I see this as something my predecessors fought for.  Mary Wollstonecraft would be proud, and Eleanor of Aquitaine would be only disappointed in my ambitions (I don’t really feel ruling europe from the shadows).  I can argue because they and women like them through time have argued, and persuaded and gotten mad and written stuff down.

I see my ability to express and argue an intelligent informed postition as a way to honor the women who went before me.

Also, I’ve never been good at keeping my mouth shut.

The Brontesaurus agrees with me.

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Today in stereotypes that hurt everybody: “Men can’t control themselves.”

So, I was discussing with some of my venerable r/Shitredditsays Colleagues about men’s sexuality this morning.

One of the things as a feminist I find so terribly frustrating is this constant mantra from many men about how men cannot control themselves and cannot control their own sexuality.   If true, that’s pretty damn shitty, but I know enough men, and have heard enough men talk about how untrue and hurtful this stereotype is.

My main issue is that many men seem to embrace this stereotype and use it as an excuse for everything from creeping on random girls on the internet to rape. My dad embraces this stereotype and I love my dad so the fact that he thinks so poorly of his own sexuality (a phrase I hope to never write again. I have a mental block about thinking of my parents and sex.) and the sexuality of all men bothers me. It worries me, because he sees other men as a threat to myself and my sister, despite the fact that he raised us to be level-headed when it comes to relationships (true facts, he talked to me about statistical probability of “the one” when I started to ask about relationships) and sees any men we date as a bit worrying generally.

Male sexuality is strangely policed by a combination of macho patriarchal attitudes involving virility and power that it seems no one really desires to work on or deconstruct.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we can’t always control what we are sexually aroused by, but controlling reactions to that attraction and how we express those reactions is something that everyone can take personal responsibility for.  The idea that men cannot control themselves from their biological urges is quite frankly insulting to all men.

If this stereotype isn’t true, and I really believe it isn’t for 99.9% of all men, then not only women, but men need to actively point out that this stereotype hurts everyone.  If there’s one thing I think the Men’s Rights movement can do effectively on their own, right now (to make more substantial strides in terms of legislation and their other issues they’ll still need wider support), is to start by squashing the narrative that men cannot control themselves within their own movement.  If they care about equality, then they need to start by looking internally at narratives that many men buy into and espouse.  By changing the language of the discussion, both male and female slut shaming can be cut back, rape can decrease, and the fear some men complain about when they are alone with women or children will be mitigated.  And as a bonus, women may start to become more trusting of men after a while.

I’d say women need to do this, but quite frankly, when it comes to changing the language of sexuality and sexual desire, we, despite our repeated assertions don’t seem to be able to get through to many men, who persist in the same stereotypes of women, no matter what women say to the contrary.

If men are going to be the sexuality police, they need to start with themselves to more fully change the narrative of male sexuality.  And that’s how it should be.

Easy actions to do here:

  • See the stereotype, educate the person saying it.
  • Don’t propagate the stereotype yourself.

Simple, easy, like falling off a log.

Posted in Feminism, Men's Rights, Reddit, Sex | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Unless you’re involved in DV support and advocacy in some way, you might not know October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

You probably do know that it’s also breast cancer awareness month. If you go shopping, you won’t find stores practically littered with products advertising donations to end domestic violence, you won’t find cutesy t-shirts objectifying and sexualizing domestic violence, or colorful magnetic ribbons to attach to your car. Domestic violence remains our little secret, overshadowed by something easier to talk about, something that it’s easy to joke about (ha, ha, boobs!). We’ve decided, culturally, that breast cancer survivors aren’t at fault, even a little, for their cancer. We can’t seem to get on board with the fact that domestic violence victims deserve that same support.

Together, we can’t even decide what constitutes abuse, much less who’s to blame. So I’m going to make it clear: no one deserves abuse. Ever. It doesn’t matter if someone (even you) thinks you brought it on yourself, if you antagonized your abuser, if you stayed out too late, cheated on your partner, if you didn’t listen, if you brought home the wrong grades, or for any other reason.

You have the right to safety. To bodily autonomy. To safely express yourself without fear.

Physical abuse is not the only type of abuse. From Misty at Shakesville:

“It isn’t “only” hitting, slapping, choking, shoving. It also is using the body to intimidate. Physical abuse is also causing fear and intimidation via punching holes in walls/doors and throwing objects. It is intentionally scaring a partner by driving unsafely. It is preventing a partner from leaving their home.”

Sexual abuse receives even less attention in the media and conversation than physical abuse. This silence only encourages survivors to keep their pain to themselves. From Pandora’s Project:

Sexual abuse is any sort of non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual abuse can happen to men or women of any age.  Sexual abuse by a partner/intimate can include derogatory name calling, refusal to use contraception, deliberately causing unwanted physical pain during sex, deliberately passing on sexual diseases or infections and using objects, toys, or other items…without consent and to cause pain or humiliation.

There is another dangerous and insidious form of abuse – emotional abuse. Often, if you are being emotionally abused, it’s hard to recognize it as abuse because no it leaves no bruises. From Helpguide.org:

Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do what they want.

If you are in an abusive situation, physical or not, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE or visit them here. If you or someone you know is being sexually abused, contact RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE.

These organizations are always in need of financial assistance. You can donate to The Hotline here, and to RAINN here. If you can’t make a monetary contribution, please consider making another sort of donation, such as time or shopping through one of their fundraising partners.

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Amanda Knox Freed: recommended reading

What an effective Rorschach test this case has become for attitudes about women. In the anonymity of the internet, commenters feel free to expose their misogyny

from the comments of “The scapegoating of Amanda Knox”

Amanda Knox has been freed. I’m not going to comment on her guilt or innocence. This article sums up my feelings perfectly.

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MRAs do not understand feminists. Or math.

Indeed, feminists are among the most hateful creatures on this planet…Feminists hate women, too. That is, they hate all women who aren’t feminists. And these pro-choicers seem undeterred by the fact that three out of every four women choose not to identify with the term “feminist.”

When you consider the proportion of women these feminists hate (around 75 percent) and the proportion of men they hate (around 100 percent), it soon becomes apparent that feminists only get along with about 12.5 percent of the population – that is, other feminists united in their hatred of the majority.”

—  from Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” on Campus by Doctor of Nonsenseology Mike Adams

I must be doing feminism ALL WRONG.

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Musical Interlude Monday

Welcome back to the week my ducks. Since I was discussing Florence + The Machine with your other blogmistress Kita, I shall post a track that is getting some serious replaying on my end.

Fun story:  This song references What The Water Gave Me by Frida Kahlo, Virgina Woolf’s death, and the mythological story of Atlas  By fun story, I mean facts of interest.  Anyway, on to the music.

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So, I have another blog.  It is purely for librarianish things so I don’t clutter the place up with rants on copyright or in this case, information ethics.

If you have not had enough of Scarlett Johansson drama, I wrote a post on information ethics.

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