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Tag: feminism

Get your tits out for the lads – the Page 3 ‘ban’

The Lib Dems aren’t planning on banning Page 3 but they do want greater regulation on glamour modelling. Well when I say that obviously I don’t mean all Lib Dems do because I don’t. Helen Lovejoy wants us to all ‘think of the children’ but I prefer to have faith that children are not as influenced by magazines and Page 3 as some will have you believe.

I was drawn on to this topic following having read Kelly-Marie Blundell’s post on it behind that link. She was inspired to blog about it following reading Andrew Emmerson’s post on it which you’ll find behind that link. But to sum up both believe that for the sake of the children these magazines or newspapers should be moved on to a higher shelf at your local newsagents.

Thinking about it I’m a pretty regular 28 year-old and I had a pretty typical upbringing. I was never influenced by pictures of naked women or semi-naked women that I saw in a magazine or a newspaper growing up. I didn’t buy The Sun and if I was reading a free copy on the train or in the Chinese whilst waiting for my take-away I certainly wouldn’t be looking at Page 3 – even today this is true. So I think nothing of it. A woman with her breasts out or wearing near to nothing at all is empowered and is doing so because they want to. I don’t think there is much debate about this (or is there?) so the question is clearly about what type of censorship or regulation needs to be placed on topless models or glamour magazines for the sake of the children.

Well you know what glamour mags and page 3 girls have been around for a while. Children are in general pretty interested in finding out all about the opposite sex (or same sex if they are that way inclined) at a fairly early age. Kids these days pretty much all have access to the internet. If they want to look at naked pictures of women or men then they can. Even if they don’t have the internet at home or their parents monitor their usage of the internet they’ll have a friend whose mum and dad don’t. Heck most young people have smart phones so have the internet on the go to use to look up pornographic pictures should they so like.

Does this and this alone lead to humans seeing other humans solely as sexual objects? No. No it doesn’t. Does it play a part? Well that is clearly up for debate a fair bit more but personally I just don’t see it and even if it did then how are you going to regulate it so no-one say under the age of 14 can see a picture of a woman’s breasts? You aren’t and any attempt to do so would infringe on those who want to look and those who want to sell their looks. It is a two-way street.

If there was regulation that curtailed the amount of people who could buy these newspapers or magazines then the money would go down for the models. Some may argue that is fair enough to save the innocent minds of the young but it won’t. The internet wins on this one and let’s be honest here no-one is that innocent even when they are young. Kids may not know it (some will) but they’ll have sexual fetishes and desires even from a young age.

It is normal and healthy for young people to explore themselves and explore the depths of their minds as they grow up. Part of this is dealing with feelings towards the opposite sex (or again same sex if they are so inclined). It is part of the growing up process and is perfectly normal. Seeing a picture of a woman in a skimpy dress or a oiled up man in a magazine is healthy.

There are other people involved in the growing up process to keep a child in the know as to what is right and wrong with how they deal with other people – and that includes teaching your children how to deal with people they want fancy. I am very much a nurture over nature guy and believe a parent should be able to teach their children how to deal with other people. I think by cocooning them it will only repress them and make them struggle once they get older.

Exposing children to the realities of adulthood is not a bad thing. Yes some people don’t treat people right but that isn’t because of magazines or Page 3 girls it is because they weren’t taught to treat people right. In this day and age of the internet and mobile internet you cannot cocoon children from the real world. It does scare me that children face sexual questions earlier and earlier in life but there isn’t anything we can do about that. Society has already gone that way.

The best way to deal with this issue is to be open with children. The cat is out of the bag so we have to deal with it in the most mature way possible and that is to put our faith in parenting and put faith in the children themselves. The more you push it away the more they’ll want.

Women (nor men) are sex objects. They are human beings. The best way to teach children this is by talking to them and treating everyone with respect. Children take the lead from their parents and not from magazines. I am sure of this and just keeping nude and sexy pictures away from their eye-line in newsagents with does nothing.

So I can’t support this even though I see it has good intentions. I just believe that children are not as stupid/influenced as some of us think. A few nude pictures do not change a person’s attitude and if it does then that says everything about the way that the kid was brought up.

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn set to walk free today and I’m not surprised one jot

So it seems as though Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be a free man later today after state prosecutors decided that they had no realistic chance of conviction and therefore will ask a judge today to officially dismiss all charges. This isn’t a shock to me but it will not go down well in certain circles.

I have no idea what really happened in that hotel room. Only two people do and neither of them are people that I know. There was a sexual encounter that we know but whether it was consensual or not we just do not know. Was this a powerful man getting us own way or a poor maid trying to extort money from a rich man? I don’t know and I won’t profess to know but what I will say is I’m not shocked the charges have been dismissed and this is why.

If the main prosecution witness is not believable then the likelihood of a jury convicting is insanely low. I have sat on two juries in my time. I was juror #7 on a GBH case where two guys were accused of beating up two bouncers outside a nightclub. When the bouncers took the stand all of the jury thought they were fantasists and were at best embellishing what had happened and at worst were just lying. We acquitted the two guys without too much deliberation if I’m being honest on all seven charges relating to the incident. We just didn’t believe the key prosecution witnesses.

The next day I was sworn in as juror #1 and would become foreman of a second case. Ten charges of sexual assault against a minor. It was a step dad on his step-daughter and he was accused of – well you don’t need me to spell it out. It was not a pretty case at all and the 12 year-old alleged victim (11 at the time of the alleged incidents) and we had several people on the jury who thought just because of the crimes we should find the defendant guilty. However there was no scientific evidence and the girl and her mother just were not credible witnesses so we had to find him not guilty (although in all honesty he may well have been guilty – we just didn’t know).

What we knew was the girl first made the allegations when she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas and that the mother didn’t go to the police until the girl went back to school and other mother’s told her that she should. So first of all we had a daughter that seemingly was lashing out because she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas and secondly her own mother clearly didn’t believe her daughter because she didn’t go to police for 12 days. If the mother didn’t believe the daughter then how on Earth can 12 member of a jury?

This is similar to what is going on in the DSK case. The main prosecution witness is clearly not credible as she has been a proven liar on her asylum forms and she has changed her story on what happened in the hotel room on several occasions in the aftermath of his arrest and she first went to the police. It was never credible and no matter what scientific evidence is there if you do not believe the victim beyond reasonable doubt then you just can’t expect to get a conviction.

The Maid’s lawyer, Ken Thompson, was not happy one jot about the decision saying, “The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case. He has not only turned his back on this victim but he has also turned his back on the forensic, medical and other physical evidence in this case. If the Manhattan district attorney, who is elected to protect our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our wives and our loved ones, is not going to stand up for them when they’re raped or sexually assaulted, who will?”

I can see his PoV considering who his client is but if his client hadn’t changed her story and lied before then the DA could have carried on with the case. She may well have been raped but the law is (rightly) weighted so that you need to prove a case and you could not prove this case.

It is sad it came down to this as some people will see this as another reason to say why rapists get away with their crimes more than they should. The conviction rate for rape is all too low and so is the rate where women even go to the police as they never expect a conviction but this has nothing to do with the crime but everything to do with the victim’s credibility as a witness. If you lie and change your story repeatedly then how can you ever be seen as credible?

I am personally surprised it took so long but I fear for my twitter timeline and I expect it to blow up later on today when he is formally freed from house arrest and the charges dismissed. I wonder just how many people if they were on a jury would convict without believing the key prosecution witness. I suspect not many and those that do are not good jurors.

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‘Is calling someone a bitch sexist?’ – Discuss.

So last night I was watching The Apprentice as I usually do at around midnight. I’m out on Wednesday’s you see and watch Around the Horn and PTI at 11/11:30 before catching up with the Sky+ed episode of Lord Sir Alan’s latest offerings. I usually tweet throughout my own personal broadcast about how I’m feeling about the show. Last night I was just crushing Melody and Natasha endlessly because they were both horrible and down right awful. Natasha not even understanding the task was truly wretched but then when she won but blamed everything on Susan showed that without a doubt she had bitchy tendencies. However apparently me calling her out on this was both sexist and deeply misogynist. Please read the following (identity of tweeter who interacted with me has been protected)

The image that was here is broken and I can’t find the original – apologies

Now I’m not down on etiquette of what terminology you can use and what you can’t but I think calling her out for being a bitch is fair game. Webster’s defines bitchy as thus, ‘characterised by malicious, spiteful, or arrogant behaviour’ does that describe Melody and more importantly Natasha in last nights episode of The Apprentice? Yes I think it does. She was malicious, spiteful and arrogant towards Susan throughout the task and belittled her constantly because she thought she was better than her. The fact she sat on her arse all day and did nothing (according to both the editing and what people said in the boardroom) proves my point. If you could have any gripe with my tweet is that I called her evil which is probably not strictly accurate but still.

So anyway on to the tweet itself – is calling someone a bitch lazy? No. No it is not. It is a term used in every day conversation. I have read in many places across the interweb this morning that the term for a male acting in a familar manner is ‘asshole’ and if you are to call someone a bitch then you should be prepared to use the term asshole as well. I do. Brilliant. I shall do some more research. Look at me go – I can use the interweb. The Urban Dictionary has many descriptions for the term bitch but here are a few:

‘Word used to describe the act of whining excessively.’

‘Annoying and whining female’

‘A woman who would say things that if she were a man, she would be confronted or assaulted. (using her position as a woman as a shield)’

‘to complain’

‘a women with a bad attitude’

Do most if not all of these describe Natasha’s attitude during yesterday’s episode of the show? Personally I think so.

So on to whether the term is outdated. It is not because the term has actually moved on. The term bitch is now not associated (in my view anyway) with women solely but with an attitude. Men can act bitchy and be called a bitch. Some prefer the term asshole apparently but acting like an asshole and bitchy are seemingly similar to a lot of people. So I wouldn’t say the term is outdated but some people’s perceptions are stuck in the past. Bitch doesn’t just mean woman. It means a certain type of person with a certain type of attitude. That is how I see it anyways.

As for ‘deeply misogynist’ – well I have to be honest. I didn’t know that term but I had a stab in the dark at it before I googled it and was’t too far wrong. So calling someone a bitch means that you hate women. I don’t know where to start with this one. If there is a person over the age of say ten in the world who speaks fluent English hadn’t called someone a bitch in their lives then I would be genuinely flabberghasted. Therefore according to this tweet every single person (both male and female) in the English speaking world hates women. Bad times for the female of the species clearly.

I just think that is crazy talk but maybe it is just me.

As for my defence that it was nearly one in the morning and it is twitter I think is a fair one. I’m not going to be overly thoughtful as I lay in bed tweeting from my iPhone as I’m watching TV. I’m going to be concise and I think that I was. I thought the way Natasha (and to an only slightly lesser extent Melody) acted was bitchy to the extreme using the Webster’s definition that I gave earlier and therefore they could be justifyably described as a bitch.

However to follow through with my assertation that I would be more rounded with my terminology if I wrote a blog post…Natasha’s behaviour on the episode of The Apprentice last night reeked of someone woefully out of their depth. Her performance showed that first of all she didn’t have the brain to understand the basic premise of the task and that having stock left over wouldn’t be a problem as the stock would be added to their total and whatever price they paid for it. She was unwilling to listen to her teammates and was rigidly stuck on her path – which was the wrong one – but would not listen to reason from Susan (to whom she acted like Susan was a piece of shit on her shoe) nor Jim who kept banging on about the same thing – which he was right to do so. Natasha’s performance showed why she has as much chance of winning the show and the £250k investment from old Amstrad boy as I do of waking up with Sophie Ellis Bextor looking longingly into my eyes. Natasha both acted like a spoilt brat who wanted to do things her way – and her way only and like someone who didn’t have a clue how to manage either the task or the people she was in charge of during the task. All in all she showed that she is both a terrific candidate for the money and a less than spectacular human being on that showing.

There we go. However I still think when you have a 140 character limit calling her a ‘bitch’ is fine.

But heck my English skills are not the best and I have probably missed the point entirely. If you want to weigh in then send me a comment. I’d be happy to hear from you telling me that I’m right or that I’ve missed the point entirely.

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Laurie Penny tells someone they are an ‘hopeless inadequate’ as well some from worse things. Harsh.

Sometimes life is hard. We all know that. Sometimes we say things we didn’t mean but if we say them on a social networking site the odds are that someone will notice. When you just being you draws the ire of many fellows you have to be very safe with your social networking words. This is something Laurie Penny may have forgotten earlier today when she tweeted the following:

(Screenshot courtesy of twitter user @Parlez_Me_nTory)

Penny Red Tweet
Penny Red seemingly has a potty mouth...

Is this the voice of someone who is a columnist over at The New Statesman and has written for several upmarket publications?

The tweet was deleted within moments but it had been seen. Clearly the person in question has pissed her off royally but telling someone to ‘fuck off and die’ is disgraceful and when you tell someone that they are a ‘hopeless inadequate’ it says more about the person saying those words than it does the person saying them.

Look I know I’m not Laurie’s biggest fan but I do respect her to some degree that she has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to stick by them through thick and thin. Having said that though you can’t go around saying such things about people – certainly not in a public forum anyway. She has a career and has put herself in an interesting position for the future however the more she uses bad language and direct insults at people who disagree with her the less support she’ll get.

She has something about her as a writer. There is little doubt about that. Her latest post in the New Statesman about Dignity in life, dignity in death has a lot of merit but she can’t help herself but drag it back to politics. Not everything in this world is about politics. Her conclusion that the way the government are killing the welfare state will lead to more suicides is so far removed from what the piece was seemingly about sums her up totally.

Love her or loathe her she is here to stay. However many more foul mouthed tirades and editors will start getting twitchy.

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‘No means no’ – who knew? #slutwalk

End Sarcasm.

Look we all know someone who has been raped. We probably also all know someone who has raped someone. Rape is a terrible thing. We can all agree on that. However the problem I have with Slutwalk is what exactly were they trying to achieve?

Everyone who will have taken notice of what the women were marching for will know and understand what they were up to already and didn’t need a march to tell them that women aren’t objects. The two sections of people they need to reach home with wouldn’t have given two hoots yesterday of the 5,000 strong march (which to me is a very low number considering).

The feminists that were the bulk of the march need to hit home with young women and the men that are pig ignorant. Will a march through London with very little press coverage achieve anything with those two groups of people?

Young women these days are split into two distinct camps – those with real ambitions and those with ambitions to bag a rich boyfriend. That is in my opinion a far bigger concern for the feminist movement that the treatment of women by men – the fact that a significant number of young people see bagging a rich partner as a legitimate life goal.

The other section of men who do seemingly believe that women are little more than meat and ‘deserve’ the treatment they get will not have taken a blind bit of notice of the goings on of yesterday.

Both men and women should be able to wear what they want without the shadow of harassment hanging over them. That is fairly obvious to most individuals. Just because someone dresses in slutty clothes doesn’t make them a slut. Just because someone wears a business suit doesn’t make them a businessperson. It isn’t rocket science.

I hope that the Slutwalk did some good but I just don’t see it. To hit home with the two groups of people that they need to then a march through London with just a low turnout will achieve very little. The future of the feminist movement seems doomed unless the next generation really take up the cause but the way its looking this looks unlikely.

In the BBC News report Hannah McQuarrie, 25, said on Ken Clarke: “His comments were wrong. Any assault which invades someone’s privacy or takes away the rights of their body is wrong.” Now I’m not sure here but I never ever ever heard Ken Clarke say any rape or invasion of someone’s body wasn’t wrong. When people twist people’s comments so drastically how can people take them at face value?

I love the final quote from George Legg, 21, “I am here in solidarity. I can control myself – I am attracted to women but I don’t feel the need to pressure them.” Good on you son. Just like 95%+ of guys you aren’t an arsehole. The thing is that 5%. However I would contend that 5% or so of women are arseholes too but I’m not allowed to say that.

This post was brought to you by the insult ‘arsehole’

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Laurie Penny was asking for it

Ok in the words of the kids I ‘epic failed’ today. Whilst reading the excellent piece by David Allen Green in The New Stateman entitled Is it the Sun what lost it? detailing the Ryan Giggs affair and how the newspaper still cannot report the juicy bits that would actually cause people to buy said newspaper, my eyes were drawn to to the headline Ken Clarke was asking for it by the feminist writer Laurie Penny and I was sucked in, clicked on and subsequently read the vitriol she spilled out from her keyboard.

Now we know that rape is more prevalent in men but women also commit rape. Men also commit rape on other men – certainly in prisons all over the world. Rape is not just a problem for the females of this world but say that and you are a hieratic in the eyes of feminists but it is true and this issue needs to be addressed. In this feminists piece she started her summing up with the following:

Ken Clarke’s repulsive, reactionary comments are part of a culture that still misunderstands consent, punishes female sexual agency, and wilfully ignores the scale and prevalence of rape

No Miss Penny I think we all understand that no means no – don’t tar the human species with your brush of superiority. I understand that. Everyone who is reading this blog understands that. Ken Clarke understands that. So this is not a cultural problem. As for ignoring the scale or prevalence of rape – really? Most people will know of someone who has been raped. Most people whilst not having been raped will have seen what it does to the lives of the victims. Whilst rape isn’t exactly an open discussion forum it also isn’t something that the people of the world are exactly clueless about either.

I shall let her carry on in her own words:

Unfortunately, Clarke is no ordinary sexist

*does a double take and interrupts*

Ken Clarke is a sexist? Come again? When was that put out there? Did I miss that memo? Ok so we can all agree that Ken Clarke’s comments were not terrific but by saying that there are different types of rape is that really sexist? Are there different types of murder? Is a mother killing her abusive husband after years of abuse an identical crime to someone who has stalked his victim and beaten them up and then drowned them in a lake? Both are murder in law as they killed someone with full intent to cause death or serious injury but as jurors we would look at those two crimes differently but in law they are identical. I know rape is the debate that we are allowed to have as it is an abhorrent crime but to say Ken Clarke is sexist because of his comments are not just un-just but also wholly inaccurate. Does his comments bear truth that he believes that the male species are superior to the female one? Looking at what he said it clearly does not.

Ok Laurie your turn again:

Clarke made a serious mistake, and he deserves to be seriously sacked – but it will take more than a handful of resignations and high-profile prosecutions to bring an end to a culture of complacency where rape is everyday violence.

Ken Clarke being sacked would do nothing to stop or slow down rape crime. Correct. Bravo. However he should also not be sacked as what good would that do? Is he too liberal on rape or is it just the fact that he thinks that there are different types of rape that bares the brunt of your angst? Did Ken Clarke ever say that he didn’t think rape was a crime? No. Did Ken Clarke ever say that he wanted rapists freed quicker? No. Did Ken Clarke ever say that he has raped anyone? No. Did Ken Clarke say anything that in the cold light of day could be construed as anything other than an opinion which people might disagree with but is perfectly valid.

Rape as I have said before is worse than murder in many ways but just because the Justice Secretary says that all crimes are not the same doesn’t mean that he is insensitive but more like he is doing his job. No two crimes are ever identical. There are circumstances behind every crime that are specific to that crime. To tell all judges to give the exact same sentence for every crime is moronic.

As we know now seven days on Ken Clarke has not gone and is still in office. The piece that was written on that day by Laurie Penny linked above is testament to the reactionary world we live in today and it is a scary place. On Question Time the next night he came across extremely well and a lot better than for example Jack Straw or Melanie Phillips. Ken Clarke might not be everyone’s cup of tea but he has shown very little evidence that he is sexist.

Just because someone says something you disagree with does not make them evil and nor does it make them sexist.

We’ll end with one last point and rebuttal from me. Laurie…

The world is full of rape, and this week, the headlines are full of rape. As the head of the IMF languishes in a New York prison on a charge of sexually assaulting a maid in his Manhattan hotel.

Charged is key term. Innocent until proven guilty. You cannot make a case that the world is full of rape (which it is) and your first example is about someone who has not been found guilty in a court of law. That is just poor journalism. Plenty of people are charged with crimes that they have not done. Plenty of people are found wrongly innocent or guilty of crimes too. We have to let these things play out.

PS: I hate the title of this blog but as you used Ken Clarke in the same terminology I felt like I had to. I feel disgusting.

Edit 30 May: I would like to apologise for anyone who feels offended by the title of this piece. As I wrote originally just above I was not happy with the title but went with it. It retrospect it was not right and as someone pointed out – two wrongs don’t make a right.

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Katie Hopkins doesn’t speak for women everywhere. Feminists recoil in terror at her Question Time ramblings.

Last night whilst watching Question Time my twitter feed just about blew up. What politician had said something to upset everyone? No-one. For once the devil was the fifth panelist who is really there to make everyone else look smart. Step forward Katie Hopkins, former ‘star’ of the Apprentice.

She defended Andy Gray and Richard Keys and said that many women aren’t arguing for equal rights but for special treatment.

Cue head explosions everywhere as I sat back and watched the carnage.

One thing she did say that I definitely agree with is that positive discrimination is not the way forward. In a political sense she was talking about all female shortlists. The best person should get the local party nomination whether they are black or white, Christian or Muslim, male or female – gender simply should not come into the equation.

As a broad notion I am against positive discrimination full stop but I can see in exceptional circumstances, i.e. South Africa after 1990 that it has a place. All male lists would be sexist in a local party did that but all women lists are fine and dandy. That doesn’t sit right with me. I know many feminists who believe that they deserve special treatment to make up for decades in inequality but is that fair?

If ITV commissioned a show called ‘Loose Men’ it would firstly be rubbish but secondly it would be derided in the media and amongst women. Men have to deal with the fact that Loose Women is allowed to exist but they can’t have it the other way.

Even at younger ages girls are allowed to join the scouts but boys aren’t allowed to join the guides. Now I know it’s unlikely many boys would want to but still it is inequality against men. There is a female only insurer out there – Sheilas Wheels – and having a look over their website it does seem as though men are not allowed insurance from this company. Imagine what would happen if someone set up a bloke’s only insurance company, I suspect they might get a fair bit of bad publicity for being sexist.

Going back to Katie Hopkins for a minute – the most common point I read on twitter last night was that she didn’t speak for them. Many women pleading with her to stop talking as there she was the official mouthpiece for women everywhere and they needed everyone to know she didn’t speak for them. Well duh. Of course she doesn’t speak for everyone. Did I feel the need last week to say that because I’m male George Galloway doesn’t speak for me? I do not believe I did. Whatever you think of Miss Hopkins she is allowed her opinion – and that is all it is –her opinion – she doesn’t speak for women everywhere and everyone knows this.

Look I know sexism exists and in the grand scheme of things it is far worse for women than men. I know this and I accept this but it is a two-way street to some degree. However it seems as though many women – and certainly the feminists that I know – think that sexism against men is fair but that sexism against women is not. This belief to me is unfair. Because the white man enslaved the black man for centuries should the black man enslave the white man for a few centuries as payback? This is essentially the same argument that feminists put forward for why sexism is allowed one way but not the other.

We are all allowed opinions folks but one person never speaks for another unless you ask them to. Remember that.

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