Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Native Americans

Amnesty International says that Native Americans are twice as likely to be Raped.

Little Beauties


Airing again on VH1 on Thursday April 26th, 2007 3:30pm will be a new episode of the the show Little Beauties: Ultimate Kiddie Queen Showsdown. The website listing a brief summary of the episode and when future ones will air.

Now, you might wonder why I am telling you all this. Well, when I was a teen, I actually competed in some pageants. The ones north of the Mason-Dixon Line are a little different than the ones that will be shown on this particular program, but I think getting a look into the "true" pageant circuit of the South gives you a better understanding of what the industry's really about and how extreme the pageant business has become.

Watching this program you'll be introduced to girls mostly under double-digits. As you watch, make notes on all the things you think might be slightly strange for a 6 year old to be doing. Whether it be the photo-shoots covered in fur and Aqua Net, the Pro-Am modeling competition where coordinated music, costumes and dance moves, including the strategic removal of certain articles of clothing, are judged by adults, the tanning and hour long make-up sessions or the "passion" of the parents for their own "little beauty" to do perfectly, may be a few examples.

Note as you watch that the narrator of the show is actually the most sought after pageant MC in the industry. This show is not making much of an attempt to present an objective representation of pageants. The show clearly shows favor to the industry, giving the impression even more so to both the general audience and those involved in pageants, that this subculture is healthy, normal and has no need for critical examination.

In a country where we are so concerned with perverts, child molesters and censorship, why then is VH1 trying to mainstream this subculture even more by airing it on a regular cable station. Ironically, in the South where most of these events take place is where there is more of a concentration of conservative citizens, but looking at these pageants and the way in which young girls are exploited does not give you the impression that the adults around them are concerned with the conservative values they so proudly stand for. Instead, they dress their daughters in provocative baby-doll glamour and slather them with self-tanner, make-up and hair products. They try there best to make them look as little like themselves as possible, they show them the "right way" to walk, talk, move, dance, behave, dress, etc. From infancy they are told who they are is not good enough, that if they want to win they have to be somebody else. Furthermore, they place them in situations where then they have to be judged by adults who will make the decision on whether or not they are truly "beautiful". Before these girls hit puberty they will have developed opinions on their bodies, behavior and on other girls that will tell them that stigmatized perfection is normal, that conformity is key and that those who don't are the weird ones.

Moreover, this mainstreaming only promotes these ideas to the general public. Also, it only makes the sexualizing of little girls seem more normal. Please watch and let others know. Hearing the response to it from others is the only way to know whether I'm being overly critical or if there is something even more outrageous brewing in out culture.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Culture of Skepticism

From Twisty

Speaking of child rapists who freely roam the countryside, have you Brits wondered why it is that every time you turn around lately, some perv in your neighborhood is throwing an acquittal party?

Because rape convictions in the UK have plummeted to Taliban-level depths, that’s why! They’ve sunk from a 1977 high of 32% to a low of just 5.6% in 2007. Why? Hold on to your hats. It’s because nobody believes the women.

That’s right. According to The Guardian, when it comes to men brutally assaulting women, there festers in Britain a certain “culture of scepticism.”* Supporters of women’s continued oppression have successfully countered small gains in the number of rapes reported by propagating the notion that women are both congenitally insatiable and naturally perfidious. Because of the success of this bogus narrative, prosecutors, cops, and the citizenry are overwhelmingly convinced that a woman’s overriding impulse is to punch herself in the face a few times, chain herself in an underground bunker, and plead with innocent male passers-by to let her service them. Gentlemen that they are, the men reluctantly comply. Once her slutty objective is accomplished, the ‘victim’s’ natural feminine depravity kicks in, whereupon she compulsively makes a false rape accusation. It’s as simple as that!

Here the faint of heart should avert their eyes, because we now allude to the repellent story of just such a case. This particular atrocity, gothically dubbed the “Dungeon Rapes” to titillate pornsick media consumers, occurred in the US, but it perfectly illustrates the juridical savagery of this “culture of scepticism.”

To wit: Convicted child rapist builds secret underground bunker. Convicted child rapist serially abducts two 17-year-old girls, duct-tapes them in the bunker, savages them, and leaves them to suffocate to death in the airless room. At the trial, convicted child rapist claims the “sex” was “consensual.” He is acquitted on insufficient evidence, and, of course, “smiled as he was escorted from the court.”

The “sex” was “consensual.” The chicks were just sluts who wanted drugs. The convicted child rapist built his sleazy underground rape room for innocent romantic getaways. Why not?

The “culture of scepticism” would have us believe that this kind of prevaricating-slut scenario takes place in all but 5.6% of the 12,000 annual reported rapes in the UK.

Quoth The Guardian:

Rape is unique because in no other crimes were victims subject to such scrutiny in court or was the defendant so likely to claim the victim had consented to the attack. Between half and two-thirds of all cases are dropped before they come to court.

How is this possible?

Naturally, I have a theory which is mine. It has two parts. Here they are. But be forewarned. In Part 1 I’m going to go slightly Dworkin on your ass and blame it on porn. Specifically BDSM. Even so, please do not write in and lecture me on how ‘liberating’ your groovy BDSM ‘lifestyle’ is. Believe me, I’ve heard all the arguments, and believe me, they are all asinine. Please, just get some help.

But I digress.

To continue, this “culture of scepticism” crap actually makes perfect sense. Why shouldn’t juries believe that women enjoy abuse? The mainstreaming of sadomasochistic porn into the everyday onslaught of media imagery — advertising, fashion, TV shows, video games, garden-variety Hollywood movies, music videos, email spam, et al — has made the improbable equation, “sex + violent dominance = pleasure,” seem perfectly accurate and perfectly reasonable.

Note, if you don’t mind, that this thinking is insane. Pornography, particularly the S&M genus, is the graphic representation of the violent oppression of half the human race. It degrades the whole species because it has normalized the fetishization of suffering to the extent that convicted child rapists may, with the blessing of a jury of their peers, routinely saunter away smiling after brutalizing teenagers in their goddam underground bunkers.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If women were not systemically oppressed, pornography could not exist. In a post-patriarchal society, free of the degrading paradigm of dominance and submission, pictures of people fucking would have all the prurient allure of a podiatrist appointment. It is the rape-based degradation to which consumers of pornography respond, dum-dum!

But I digress.

The remaining part of my theory is that the populus is so desperately invested in patriarchy that they are unwilling, even in the interest of justice, to part with one of its primary cornerstones: the slut class. Patriarchy depends on the slut class to serve as the receptacle for its pornsick incontinence. A slut class naturally implies a good-girl class, from whose virginal ranks the privileged male selects his unpaid housekeeper/fetus incubator/childcare worker. It naturally follows that if you go around convicting rapists, you diminish the she-was-asking-for-it slut class, which in turn, as distinctions between the two become more and more nebulous, diminishes the good-girl class. See, convicting rapists has the undesirable side effect of making women a bit more human.

You know, if I were a little more on the ball this morning, I might dip a querulous toe into the argument that society will never stand for the eradication of rape. Such success as capitalism enjoys is largely based on the wide availability of unpaid domestic labor created out of the sex class. Which sex class could not exist if women were not rapeable. Can you dig it? The global economy would collapse without rape.

Have a nice day.
________________________


I can see where porn/BDSM/Rape fantasies may certainly lead to the culture of skepticism - but do they necessarily cause a culture of Rape? I know of fully sex-positive, woman-loving people in the arena that are all for Rape fantasies and BDSM because they make a very clear distinction on the line of consent being the difference between alternative sex and violent degradation. Among them: Tristan Taormino, and Dan Savage. Is the line of consent still too hard of a concept for people to grasp? Are we not advanced that far as society yet? Is there a way to surpass the culture of skepticism and still incorporate BDSM and Rape fantasies into willing participant's sex lives?

Monday, April 23, 2007

how sad



Post Secret

Culture of Domination

"It takes a disconnect to enable or bystand distruction. The same disconnect sustains ignorance that the traumatization of children will shape their values and motivations for generations."

This video shows images along with narration of how cultures perpetuate ideals of domination, and how people are inherently hurt by these systems. It's pretty impressive.

From Feministing.com

Apparently a school newspaper newspaper in Canada thought Rape was funny enough to be included in their April Fools edition.

Didn't they learn from the uproar over Conneticut State's "satirical" editorial "Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It"?

Misogyny, masculinity and mass murder

A Volatile Young Man, Humiliation and a Gun
By Bob Herbert
The New York Times

Thursday 19 April 2007

"God I can't wait till I can kill you people."
- A message on the Web site of the Columbine killer Eric Harris.

In the predawn hours of Monday, Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, a former marine and Eagle Scout in Austin, Tex., stabbed his wife to death in their bed. The night before he had driven to his mother's apartment in another part of town and killed her.

Later that Monday morning, Whitman gathered together food, water, a supply of ammunition, two rifles, a couple of pistols, a carbine and a shotgun and climbed the landmark 30-story tower on the campus of the University of Texas.

Beneath a blazing sun, with temperatures headed toward the mid-90s, Whitman opened fire. His first target was a pregnant teenager. Over the next 80 or so minutes he killed 14 people and wounded more than 30 others before being shot to death by the police.

More than four decades later we still profess to be baffled at the periodic eruption of murderous violence in places we perceive as safe havens. We look on aghast, as if the devil himself had appeared from out of nowhere. This time it was 32 innocents slaughtered on the campus of Virginia Tech. How could it have happened? We behave as if it was all so inexplicable.

But a close look at the patterns of murderous violence in the U.S. reveals some remarkable consistencies, wherever the individual atrocities may have occurred. In case after case, decade after decade, the killers have been shown to be young men riddled with shame and humiliation, often bitterly misogynistic and homophobic, who have decided that the way to assert their faltering sense of manhood and get the respect they have been denied is to go out and shoot somebody.

Dr. James Gilligan, who has spent many years studying violence as a prison psychiatrist in Massachusetts, and as a professor at Harvard and now at N.Y.U., believes that some debilitating combination of misogyny and homophobia is a "central component" in much, if not most, of the worst forms of violence in this country.

"What I've concluded from decades of working with murderers and rapists and every kind of violent criminal," he said, "is that an underlying factor that is virtually always present to one degree or another is a feeling that one has to prove one's manhood, and that the way to do that, to gain the respect that has been lost, is to commit a violent act."

Violence is commonly resorted to as the antidote to the disturbing emotions raised by the widespread hostility toward women in our society and the pathological fear of so many men that they aren't quite tough enough, masculine enough - in short, that they might have homosexual tendencies.

In a culture that is relentless in equating violence with masculinity, "it is tremendously tempting," said Dr. Gilligan, "to use violence as a means of trying to shore up one's sense of masculine self-esteem."

The Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-Hui, was reported to have stalked female classmates and to have leaned under tables to take inappropriate photos of women. A former roommate told CNN that Mr. Cho once claimed to have seen "promiscuity" when he looked into the eyes of a woman on campus.

Charles Whitman was often portrayed as the sunny all-American boy. But he had been court-martialed in the Marines, was struggling as a college student and apparently had been suffering from depression. He told a psychiatrist that he absolutely hated his father, but he started his murderous spree by killing his wife and his mother.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Explode

I was rocking out to this song and looked up the lyrics to sing along. It's not quite as fun a song as the dance music would suggest...

Nelly Furtado "Explode"

Vera's face burnt as a memory of bedroom fun
With a ligther and some hairspray
Smoking in the girls' room
Not worse than Shelley's rape behind the McDonald's
By a man she thought was fine, didn't tell anybody
Or maybe back then we just thought that she was getting some

Now we look back and see that she didn't know how
We never thought that we'd get caught up
Stuck in the teenage waste

As we explode

Then getting drunk in the bushes by the road outside the Kmart
Rolling around in them to see if you would get prickled
Slip the acid on your tongue rooftop shopping mall parkade
We couldn't get enough

Then count the stars and the ten million woes
Just you and the universe judging each other
We never knew that we'd get caught up
Stuck in the teenage waste

As we explode

As we let go

It's a fight, it's a fight and you finally belong
Got a shiner now and it's more than a battle scar
More than a battle scar, such a good, good story to tell
At lunch break, lunch break, lunch break, lunch break
Such a good, good story to tell

You bully, you break, you bully, you break
You fake, you fake, you fake, you fake
You smoke, you toke, you want, you flaunt, you hit it and you're in it and it's spinning

And it's wild
We never thought that we'd get caught up
Stuck in the teenage waste

As we explode

As we let go

We're counting the stars
We're counting the stars
We're gonna go far, we're gonna go far
We're counting the stars, we're counting the stars
We're not very far, we're not very far

And it's you and me in the open air
It's truth or dare, we don't care
We're counting the stars, we're counting the stars, we're counting the stars, we're counting the stars

Friday, April 20, 2007

Guess this ad



A woman with literally an entire highway going through her vagina...what could this be advertising (aside from objectification, gang rape, violence, women as passive recepticles...)

Can't guess? It's here along with another "less clear" ad for the same product...

Couture fantasy gang-rape

To sell clothes, Dolce & Gabbana show a dead woman being dragged away by a naked man...


...and one of an impending gang-rape


To be fair, D&G thinks male gang-rape is high fashion too.

Violence is sexy

These lovely representations of violence against women are from a fashion photo shoot on America's Next Top Model (you know, with Tyra Banks, the self-empowered, superwoman, lingerie model). They - along with the comments made by the judges about the photos are listed here. Some of my favorites:


Guest Judge Photographer Mike Rosenthal: Even though she doesn't look dead, I think she still came up with a great picture.


Nigel: The look on your face is just extraordinary. Very beautiful and dead.


Miss J: What's great about this is that you can also look beautiful in death.



Nigel: It's a great shot. Death becomes you, young lady.



Miss J: These are broken-down dolls. These are busted up, broken-down dolls, marionettes.

Justin Timberlake

In shedding the boy band label, Justin seems to be toying with the line between edgy sex and violent abuse - fine line that it is...

SexyBack video with a mutual espionage and a fairly forceful sexual encounter. I can't quite put my finger on what exactly makes me uncomfortable, but the stalking (on both parts) and borderline violent sexual encounter just don't sit right)


In What Goes Around Justin makes a shortfilm style video in which he and Scarlett Johansson are a new couple. Take note of the gender roles, expressions of dominance, violence, and sense of justification when she dies in a fiery car crash after kissing another guy.

Playing with Rape


An action figure of "Rapist #1" from the movie Grindhouse...



Rape Crisis Scotland has launched a campaign to ban a t-shirt sold by ASDA which said "if at first you don't succeed, buy her another beer." Drug facilitated rape...funny.

Commodified body-parts

Fairly self-explainatory. Women's bodies are for sale - piece by piece. Also - while the body parts are naked, and sexually explicit, they are also a joke. Pretty much disenfranchised all the way around...




Be the next Pussycat Doll

female empowerment


Jessi Klein considers "girl power" empowerment

Introduction

Spring of 2007 at Northeastern University I went about creating a project exploring the elements that come together - especially on college campuses - to create and promote a culture of Rape. In doing this, I couldn't help but get carried away with all the examples of popular culture that are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, objectifying - and considered harmless, or worse, entertaining. My vision is for this blog to be a forum to confront these images. We must not allow the Rape culture to go unchallenged.