Gender


Gender&Human rights22 Feb 2006 05:58 pm

Cunt Ladies! Gentlemen! May I introduce you to Travis Frey?

Travis is 33 and from Iowa. He has been charged with kidnapping his own wife and involvement in child pornography.

Sounds like a special guy, doesn’t he? Oh, but that’s not all.

Travis drew up this marriage contract for his long-suffering wife to sign and adhere to. She didn’t sign it and instead gave it to the police.

In this document, he proposes to award her “GBDs” (Good Behaviour Days) if she complies with his demands, which she can redeem to get out of a few of her duties, and to deduct them whenever she does not comply to his complete satisfaction.

I wanted to pull a few quotes out of it to astound you, but the whole thing is just incredible. Check these out:

(Page 2)“You are to do everything that is requested or expected of you, if you do not you are considered noncompliant. You are also noncompliant if you start something and can or will not finish, even if you state you are in pain and something hurts.”

(Page 3)“Shaving will be done every third day, and includes underarms, legs and pubic area (navel to anus), all areas are to be completely clean shaven. Every Saturday you are to use the Walh clippers with a guard no greater than 1/2″, and then present yourself to me for a measurement check.”

(Page 4)“You are to pose for 20 photos per quarter on demand, unless your quota is filled. Outfits, toys and poses will always be chosen by me. You must be freshly shaven on the day that photos are taken regardless of your shaving schedule. You will also style hair, apply make up and nail polish as needed.”

“By the end of the first day of each quarter you are to choose your ‘pet name’ that you want me to call you by. Your choice must meet my approval, and noncompliance will be a 20 GBD loss.”

Woman and gun He adds helpfully:

“This is not a contract; it is a description of rules for you.”

Nice of him to clear that up.

Oh, but that’s not the half of it. There is much, much more.

Read the original document here (4 misspelt pages) and then answer me this: is it wrong to wish there was a dingy corner of Guantánamo Bay reserved especially for the re-education of Travis Frey?

Europe&Gender&Religion20 Apr 2005 02:13 am

We are now officially With Pope, and he:

  • is 78 years old;
  • wants to “stamp out” anti-liberation theology (which mixes Catholicism with the not unreasonable belief that capitalism may have a few negative points);
  • wants to bring about the “re-Christianisation” of Europe and argues against Turkey joining the EU because it is a Muslim country;
  • insists that women are not fit to be choristers or altar servers, let alone priests; and

Are the cardinals following the teachings of some other Jesus? I can’t help wondering if there’s been a mix-up somewhere along the line.

“Excuse me, Father. Have I got the right edition of this book? I can’t find the part where Jesus says I should hate pretty much everyone.”

“On your knees for 200 Hail Marys, you wicked heathen. You dare to question The Word Of God?”

[etc]

American politics&British politics&Europe&Gender&Global politics12 Apr 2005 05:55 pm

Andrea Dworkin, probably one of the most controversial social theorists in recent history, has died aged 58.

I always thought I disagreed with the majority of her theories. I thought she was an extremist, a woman whose attitude to men was an equal, opposite counterpart to the misogyny she deplored.

I’ve just spent much of the afternoon browsing her major work online, to find proof of this unworkable extremism. And I’ve discovered to my surprise that I can finally understand what she was saying. Not just that, but her views were not really what I (or a lot of people) initially thought. We mistook her uncompromising attitude for vengeful militance. Or, at least, I did. Now I still might not agree 100%, but I at least see what she was getting at.

In memoriam, then, here’s an excerpt of one of her feminist texts:

“I renounce masculinist art. It is not art which illuminates the human condition–it illuminates only, and to men’s final and everlasting shame, the masculinist world–and as we look around us, that world is not one to be proud of. Masculinist art, the art of centuries of men, is not universal, or the final explication of what being in the world is. It is, in the end, descriptive only of a world in which women are subjugated, submissive, enslaved, robbed of full becoming, distinguished only by carnality, demeaned. I say, my life is not trivial; my sensibility is not trivial; my struggle is not trivial. Nor was my mother’s, or her mother’s before her. I renounce those who hate women, who have contempt for women, who ridicule and demean women, and when I do, I renounce most of the art, masculinist art, ever made.

As feminists, we inhabit the world in a new way. We see the world in a new way. We threaten to turn it upside down and inside out. We intend to change it so totally that someday the texts of masculinist writers will be anthropological curiosities. What was that Mailer talking about, our descendants will ask, should they come upon his work in some obscure archive. And they will wonder–bewildered, sad–at the masculinist glorification of war; the masculinist mystifications around killing, maiming, violence, and pain; the tortured masks of phallic heroism; the vain arrogance of phallic supremacy; the impoverished renderings of mothers and daughters, and so of life itself. They will ask, did those people really believe in those gods?”

Andrea Dworkin, Our Blood: Prophesies and Discourses on Sexual Politics (1974)

Gender08 Apr 2005 11:46 am

OK. I don’t normally write about the royal family, and it would be clinically impossible for anyone to care less about their love lives than me. Nonetheless, this post is about Charles and Camilla. Sorry.

Let’s establish one thing: neither one of them looks like a 22 year old supermodel. Neither of them. Are we agreed? Good.

Then why do the constant “Camilla looks like a horse” / “Poor Mrs Parker-Bowles and her unfortunate appearance” / “Ugh, Camilla mings” / “Poor old Charles, marrying a heifer like her” / “Imagine shagging that after you’ve had Diana” / “Good job they delayed the Grand National on the day of the royal wedding – Camilla’s odds on to win” type jibes skate across mainstream society without comment?

For anyone who considers feminism has won the day, consider the number of times Camilla is lampooned for her looks, compared with the number of times her fiance is jeered at for the same reason.

The fact that a powerful man has chosen a partner on the basis of something other than looks appears to be a source of never-ending astonishment to the public, the media and every columnist from here to Zaire. Why not have a pretty little thing, Chas? Why would you choose personality over looks? Why would the heir to the throne put up with a middle aged, non-facelifted woman when his money and status could easily pull a surgically-enhanced twentysomething?

I’m willing to bet you read or see some “comical” cartoon, quip or gag about Camilla’s appearance most days. And yet, she and Charles are more or less equivalent in age and appearance, and apparently very compatible. Far more so than Charles and Diana, for a start.

What it all boils down to is this: women are still judged primarily on their looks, to the extent where the assumption exists completely unnoticed by the mainstream. Is it surprising more and more women are succumbing to eating disorders, undergoing extreme surgery and – here’s the important bit – spending their (still unequal) salaries on a slew of clothes, shoes and beauty products?

Cinema audiences will readily accept the prospect of Sean Connery snaring Catherine Zeta-Jones. Can you imagine the reaction to a romantic film starring a 70-year-old woman and a leading man in his 20s? I have a feeling it wouldn’t be a mainstream hit. (Don’t bring up Harold and Maude, I’m talking mainstream and contemporary.)

There are one or two exceptions – Joan Collins and her young husbands, perhaps – but, by and large, women in the public eye are expected to be primarily ornamental. Their value is correspondingly decreased if they move away from that main function. Even now. It’s not even controversial. It’s simply the way things are, in every area of public life.

Actually, I don’t think Camilla’s “below” Charles’ “level”. If anything, she’s out of his league.

Ditch him, Cam! You’re a wealthy, famous woman! You don’t need to settle for that saggy old goat! I hear Brad Pitt’s free!

See, it seems ridiculous the other way round. I feel like I’m stating the obvious here. But if it’s still considered acceptable to sneer at a woman for not being a sex symbol, I suppose I’m not.


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