Posts Tagged ‘misogyny’

  1. Three’s A Crowd

    September 28, 2012 by The Kraken

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    You know what? I’m still thinking about tits. Even though I’ve splashed my bile over the whole Kate Middleton debacle I still have baps on the brain. God knows why because I’ve had my very own pair for the last 41 years. Then again, it’s precisely because I have funbags of my own that I am obsessing over the subject. That and the No More Page Three campaign that’s making me want to lob burning tyres into any given newsagents.

    What is with The Sun’s page three? I’m comforted by the fact that thousands of other people have spluttered the same question as they signed the campaign petition, yet I get the raging vapours when I realise that right now, in 21st Century Britain, I can actually show my four year old daughter pictures of tits in a national newspaper. A newspaper. Not a wank mag. Not an anatomy text book. A newspaper.

    I just don’t get it, the whole notion of checking a paper for the news, a crossword or TV listsings just to be confronted by the norks of Chantelle from Chelmsford. In fact it makes me sick up into the back of my throat. The whole thing leaves me so bewildered that I swear to fuck someone’s been feeding me rohipnol. Quite possibly the type of someone who leers over page three in the first place.

    And as much as this offends me as a woman it sends my rage into space when I view it as the mother of a little girl. There I am showing four year old Kraken Junior that she’s strong, determined, intelligent, inventive and capable of changing the world while page three shows her that her value lies solely in the tits that she hasn’t even grown yet. What a delightful start to any little girl’s life. And there I was fretting over her wanting to be a princess. What I should be worrying about is whether she one day compares herself to these laughable examples of femininity and starts slashing at her own body with a knife just to relief herself of her thundering lack of belief and self-esteem. I’ll send the bill for her psychiatric treatment to editor Dominic Mohan shall I?

    Yet even if I never expected better of The Sun, you’d have thought that it would expect better of its own readers. You see, even though the paper thinks of itself as a rag that stands up for the common man it’s happy to piss all over the other half of the population. It’s also happy for the common man to one day see his own daughter gurning back at him from page three. What a lovely thought for all of those page three supporters, that one day their daughter may get her kit off and submissively stare out of a newspaper while some stranger gets a stiffy and splashes his spooge all over her picture before balling up the sodden page and chucking it into the bin. How’s that for respect for women? But then again I really don’t expect page three supporters to think that far ahead in the first place. Not when there’s a quick woody to hand.

    More than that, is this really what a newspaper wants to look like in modern Britain? Opening The Sun to page three is like setting a flux capacitor to 88 mph and finding yourself back in a workingmen’s club in 1971. It’s such a dated notion from such a dated age that you’d think that any decent editor would back off faster than David Cameron from a benefits claimant. So exactly what is The Sun trying to achieve by clinging onto it? Perhaps it’s actively trying to die out which it will when the last leering, 70′s-stuck, daughterless reader finally kicks the bucket and takes the entire paper’s readership with him.

    Which is why the NMPT campaign isn’t just women defending women. It’s also about women defending the daughters and wives and grandaughters and nieces of any given tit-ogler, although it’s a big shame that we’re having to do this for them. If you fancy being generous, though, you can sign the petition here or you can tweet or you can nip over to Facebook. Go on. Even if your day’s been a bastard here’s your chance to turn it around.

     The Kraken is a ‘furious and ranty ex-freelance journalist’. She has a wonderfully rage-filled blog, with the excellent title, ‘The Kraken Wakes’ and you can find her on Twitter right here

  2. Street Harassment Goes To Work!

    May 23, 2012 by Becca Day-Preston

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    Being a person with a vagina and the temerity to, on occasion, leave the house, I am no stranger to street harassment. In fact, as we have seen again and again on AWOT, very few of us are. The sad fact is that, yes, barely a week will go by without some charming fellow just letting you know, in the kindest and most polite way possible, that you have BANGING TITS or that he wants to DESTROY THAT. And, sadly, we’ve kind of gotten used to it, haven’t we? Wearing a low-cut dress, I will tightly button my cardigan if I’m going to be walking through the weekend crowds, and I think twice about attracting attention at all if I’m going to be alone at night for any reason. We all do it; we all monitor and edit our behaviour and appearance to give street harassers less of a ‘reason’ to bawl obscenities at us.

    The thing is, though, it’s not just on the street, is it? It’s on trains and in pubs and in Sainsbury’s on a Saturday afternoon and in the library (for reals) and in your own home if someone invites Wanker Mike to your party. And sometimes it’s at your desk at work.

    I’m a receptionist, which means I have the dubious pleasure of having to smile a lot, while staff and customers alike treat me like I am barely more intelligent than a ball of foil. It’s fulfilling.

    In my work we get a lot of parcels delivered by couriers, and last week, a new DHL man came, and our exchange was thus:

    He: Hello darling.
    Me: Can I help you?
    He: Got a parcel for you, sweetheart.
    Me: Right (gesturing that he should put it on the desk)
    He: (handing me the thing to sign) Here you go, babe.

    Now, at this point, I was so stupendously pissed off that I thought “I want to say more words, so I can say them in a snippy way, so that he knows I am pissed off”

    Me: Are you having a nice day?
    He: I am now I’ve found you, gorgeous.

    I’m not going to lie, I almost exploded. I almost threw my computer screen at his head and I almost called him all the bad things I could think of.

    But I didn’t: I calmly explained to him that his language was demeaning and unnecessary. I pointed out that we do not know each other and that a simple “hello” would always suffice. I said that approaching a young woman, on her own, and using those words, is incredibly threatening.

    To his credit, he listened, at least. Then he told me I was being silly, that I was overreacting, that this way of greeting someone is “just Northern” (er, no, mate, I’m from Newcastle so you’re not getting that catch-all bullshit past me) and, the worst, that he has always spoken this way to women, and that nobody else has ever complained.


    And I thought “I bet they have, you creep, and I bet you dismissed them like you dismissed me.” He left, to harass another day, and I was left, impotent in my uncomfortable desk chair, visibly shaking from the confrontation.

    This isn’t the first time, unfortunately, that this has happened. The old DHL man commented on my legs all the time (I sit behind a desk, he has never seen them) and asked me which building I live in (WHICH BUILDING!). There’s another courier to whom I had to say “please, call me Becca, not Beautiful or Honey.” And then there’s the much older male colleague who once called me Baby. Confronting these men has always left them smirking like “what’s her beef?” while I feel sick and shaky and scared.

    The worst thing is, after every time this has happened, I’ve questioned myself. Was I being over-friendly myself? Was I flirting? Do I just give out these “harass me!” vibes? And that’s ridiculous. So I’ve decided that next time a courier or a colleague sexually harasses me at work, I won’t say a word to him. And then I’ll lodge a formal complaint.

    And then he can never truthfully say that nobody has ever complained before. Small victory, but I’ll take it.

    Becca writes an absolutely top notch blog, which I recommend you bookmark immediately. She describes herself as a beauty addict, feminist and faux ginger, as well as a Minajaholic (probably not the same as a mingeaholic, which is what I first read when I saw that). She’s a postgraduate student, an amusing tweeter and a user of excellent similes. I suggest you follow her on Twitter toute suite. 

  3. Transphobic and misogynistic: Paddy Power’s latest ad

    February 21, 2012 by Jane_Fae

    According to the Guardian, the UK (and Irish) trans community is up in arms at an undeniably transphobic ad campaign devised by Irish bookmaking megacorp, Paddy Power.  Darn tooting!

    But limiting the debate to issues of trans sensibilities misses an extremely big point.  For the “joke” here – as well as the consequences in terms of disrespect and violence – is one that applies equally to all women, trans or otherwise.

    Its yet another production in a long line of failed advertising industry productions that seem to think a dose of laddishness and an appeal to “the craic” excuses anything.

    The ad, airing on YouTube in plenty of time for Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham races on 14 March, is based on the premise that not all ladies are “ahem, ladies”.  Punters must take care to distinguish between mares and stallions (trans women).  Along the way, the voice over takes an oh-so-humourous sideswipe at a woman,  mistakenly referring to her as “a dog”.

    Loads of nudge-nudge innuendo in the accompanying launch, as women are urged to “get down” for Ladies’ Day.  Loads of paddy power afficionadoes prepared to defend the ad as “just a bit of fun”.

    Or as one little boy blogger put it: I don’t care what people say or do; it doesn’t hurt me.

    Ah: the voice of male privilege.  Of course humour doesn’t hurt.  Not the way being beaten unconscious on a public railway station for the heinous crime of being deemed a “stallion” by the passing yobbery – as happened to one friend in the last couple of months.

    Because this is where most of those defending the ad have got it very, very wrong.  For the trans community, this odious focus on whether someone is a “real” woman, together with the equally odious habit of regarding what trans women keep in their knickers as public property, is not about the somewhat academic issue of whether the ad “gives offence”.

    First and foremost, it’s about respect.

    One of the eureka moments in my career as a journalist was an occasion when someone cut through my defence of whether or not it was right to use a particular phrase when describing someone with a simple question: “If they’ve asked you not to, why would you use words that are clearly disrespectful?”

    I had no answer to that.  Because it made little difference to the story: sticking to MY phrasing merely made me feel powerful about my status as journalist.  There’s a whole other piece in there: towards a journalism of respect, which applies equally to every minority group. But it also argues for a re-phrasing of many protests.

    What about violence?  Sadly, I think that, too, is a possible issue here.

    The piece is misogynistic.  It frames women – trans or otherwise – as subject to the judgment of the male gaze: pure objectification, which most feminists would acknowledge as severely problematic and, insofar as it is depersonalizing, possibly leading to abuse.

    The problem is, of course, redoubled for trans women,: for in a world where they regularly get beaten up simply for NOT being “real women”, encouraging guys to look twice and judge – particularly in an environment as laddish, as boozy as a race event – feels like it is just asking for trouble.

    Except it won’t be Paddy Power paying the price.

    Jane Fae is a writer, journalist (The Guardian, Pink News and others) and avid feminist. She writes about political and sexual liberty, ethics, online censorship, IT and the law. In 2010 she published Beyond the Circle, which won her the title of Erotic Writer of the Year. You can find her personal blog here, or follow her on Twitter here