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Friday, 14 March 2014

Genital mutilation isn't funny

The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.

Every once in a while there's a news story about someone (in all the cases I recall seeing to this point, a cis man) having their penis severed. It doesn't seem to matter what the context is or who did it or why. Universally it seems that as soon as the story hits the air, there are jokes and puns made about it. Many of us remember Sharon Osbourne's callous remarks on The View in 2011.

I don't find these situations humorous. At all. They are cases of amputation, mutilation and grievous bodily harm. This is physical abuse, and a heinous form of torture that I do not abide.

To some degree I get why people find it funny. On family shows, like America's Funniest Home Videos, half the clips seem to be of guy after guy somehow injuring his groin - whether it be from an errant football, a miscalculated skateboarding trick, or an overly enthusiastic dog. When you see these scenes played ad nauseum against a laugh-track, it's hard not to find yourself conditioned to accept that as harmless entertainment.

I also see a lot of people making the assumption that the victim had perpetrated rape and this is likely their just-desserts. In this most recent story, there is no real information on who the attacker is or their relation to the victim. All assumptions are based on "Man's penis attacked, therefore man must have done something to deserve it." I don't think I need to state all the ways that's fucked up. Having a penis does not make one a rapist, and having one's penis mutilated does not make one a rapist.

Let's say that there is a statistically large portion of these men who are guilty of having committed rape. I still do not support genital mutilation, in the same way I do not approve of rape or torture as a punishment. Not only from a pacifist point of view, but also because I feel encouraging this kind of revengeful violence does more harm to those "righteous" folks who carry it out and open the door to these kinds of acts being committed under an increasingly broad set of conditions, just as corrective rape is presently used.

Yes, yes, I know. I'm a real buzzkill. Gosh, if you can't joke about rape in front of me, and now I'm harshing on puns about genital mutilation, what is there left to joke about?

How about knock, knock jokes?

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Orange.
Orange who?
I honestly don't give a crap what you have left to joke about, rape and genital mutilation aren't funny.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Another International Misogyny Day

By: Malanka Sveta


So yesterday was International Women's Day. Or, as I am now calling, International Be A Misogynist Asshat Day. Literally every man I was in contact with yesterday pulled some misogynist asshattery. Every single one.

Actual quotes include: "Happy IWD! I support you!", from my roommate to his male friends. And, later, "It's just a joke, get over it!". When you are using "woman" as an insult in and of itself, that is misogyny. Your joke was that being a woman is an insult. I don't need to just get over it, you need to not be an asshole. You have 364 days, I have one. Is it so much more than I deserve that you must ruin it every year?

And from the dude who asked my opinion of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, "Perhaps watch it again, through to that salient point.". Perhaps if you ask for my opinion you should not tell me I'm feminist wrong and dismiss what I have said in its entirety. The Dove campaign, and Unilever, are terrible. They are cashing in, or trying to cash in, on the insecurities that media has thrust upon women in the first place, and their other products and advertising are deeply racist and misogynist. I'm not going to fall over myself to congratulate them for wrapping up misogyny in a prettier package. As for any actual issue they address, they've been addressed. Jean Kilbourne. You should probably Google her if you in fact want to be an ally and understand the impact of media on self esteem.

These are not the only examples, they are simply the ones that were the worst and most insulting because they were unexpected.

So I'm going to, as I do every March 9, start rebuilding my faith in men. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

10 Reasons I need International Women's Day

By:  Malanka Sveta


This is by no means a complete list. It isn't meant to be. Please add your reasons to it.

10) Because too many people think that feminism is redundant, despite the wage gap, the attacks on women's legal rights even in Canada, the abysmally low prosecution rate for rape, and the fact that 1 in 3 women still experience gendered violence from a romantic partner.

9) Because too many people don't even know what the word "feminism" actually means.

8) Because of "#solidarityisforwhitewomen".  My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.

7) Because of transmisogyny.  See above.

6) Because men lose self esteem when a door is held open for them.

5) Because women are half the world, but only 17% of crowd scenes in movies.

4) Because only 20% of paid work shown in G-rated movies is performed by women.

3) Because media keeps telling me that I am not thin or pretty enough.

2) Because media keeps telling me that I am too smart to get a man, and that my only aspiration should be to get a man.

1) Because it amuses me when people whine about the lack of an International Men's Day, even though it's on November 19. Every year.