Category Archives: rage at the system

Let’s talk about how the front page of The Sun is fucking terrible

Content note: this post discusses sexual violence

Rumours of Page 3’s demise have been premature. This is very good news for The Sun, because it means that everyone is furious about a photo of boobs on the third page, rather than what’s on the front cover. Indeed, most of the outrage over the front cover seems to be about poorly-constructed breast pun rather than the truly terrible thing. Allow me to draw your attention to the headline story–that’s the bit underneath the boob pun and to the right of the other boob pun.

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It might not look it, but that is a report about a woman who was kept as a slave and trafficked to rich and famous friends of her abuser between the ages of 15 and 18. New legal documents have been filed, with more detail, and this is how The Sun have chosen to report it: as a fun little royal romp.

What does this front page teach those who will see it about sexual violence, about abuse, about women? First and foremost, that it’s cheeky and fun. The way it’s presented, it seems as though these traumatic events occurred with a Benny Hill sax parping away merrily in the background. It seems almost glamorous, as well as sexy: orgies and a real live prince!

The word “rape” is unsurprisingly absence from what happened here, as is “coercion” or “trafficking”. A survivor’s search for justice has been turned into lurid, titillating revelations, and given exactly the same editorial treatment as the testimonials of the “kiss and tell girls”. It is calculated to arouse rather than to anger, to excite rather than outrage.

Alongside the frankly horrible article is a picture of the survivor. It’s hardly just The Sun that have violated her privacy, indeed, I commend them ever so slightly for not using her name right there on the front page like many of the headlines about this story have. Nonetheless, each instance that this happens contributes further to a culture wherein we are perfectly happy to parade women who speak out about sexual violence around, to suck away their anonymity.

I’ve spent more time than I ever cared to receiving vile tweets from fans of rapist footballer Ched Evans. They believe it’s perfectly fine to provide private details of rape survivors. They all, also, seem to be labouring under the false impression that sexual violence is sexy and glamorous. With the front page of a national newspaper sending out messages like this, of course they believe these things. It’s all part of the background radiation of rape culture. Headlines like this are not a meaningless bit of fun, they’re teaching people that rape isn’t so bad, and they’re showing the world how survivors should be treated.

It is not enough to remove nipples from the tabloids. The misogyny problem, the rot, goes far beyond that, to far worse places. Over the last week, The Sun has shown clearly its attitude towards consent, and it’s an attitude which matches the logic of many rapists. Sadly, I think they know they can get away with this, that Page 3 will draw the fire of the people who should really be destroying them for a front page like this.

Every single page of The Sun is nasty. The pitiful excuse for a newspaper reflects and magnifies every ugly bigoted thought. The whole rag needs to die; it becomes clear again and again that this is the only solution. Dismantling that foul rag piece by piece would be but a start, but a tiny step along the way, because all news sources contribute to the problem in the same way. So let us see The Sun in flames, and as we dance upon the ashes, let us turn to the other hacks and let it be clear to them that they’re next.


A guide for men who want to avoid getting their lives ruined

Content note: This post discusses rape

At the time of writing, we see another MP add his voice to Nigel “drunken overfamiliarity” Evans (whose own defence argued he was “just” a creep who preyed on much younger men) in making life easier for rapists. Mark Pritchard, who was accused of rape and predictably cleared by policemen, suggests a “review” of anonymity, not making it clear whether he wants anonymity for defendants (stops victims coming forward in cases of repeat offenders) or to end anonymity for victims (I don’t think I need to explain to you how awful an idea this is). The rationale for this defence of rapists? Poor little diddums feels like his life has been ruined. Meanwhile, a chorus of men are continuing to bleat that unless Ched Evans gets to continue an illustrious football career his poor darling life has been ruined forever.

Apparently, being accused of rape ruins men’s lives. So, I present to men a two-word guide in how not to rape.

Don’t rape.

It’s really, really simple. If you don’t want to be accused of rape, don’t rape people.

Unfortunately, even this advice seems too complex for men, whose precious little manbrains cannot seem to comprehend this very basic advice, so allow me to break it down for you.

1. If she’s drunk, don’t have sex with her. Alcohol affects consent. If she’s been drinking a lot, she won’t be able to consent, so having sex with her is rape. Even if she seems like she wants to, hold off. If she’s really into you, she’ll still want to have sex with you when she’s sober. If you don’t think you can get laid unless she’s drunk, the problem lies squarely with you. Yes, you. Sort out your fucking self-esteem and only have sex with sober women.

2. Accept she can change her mind. Sometimes you might have got down to it and you’re really horny and then she changes her mind. Stop. She doesn’t consent to anything else happening. If you continue, that’s rape. And if you can’t control yourself once you’ve got a boner, at best you’re a pretty terrible shag. At worst, you’re a rapist.

3. Consent to one thing isn’t consent to others. So, you’re doing some fun sex things and you’re both enjoying yourselves. That’s great. But wait! You want to do something else, but she isn’t all that keen. Don’t do it, then. If you do, that could be rape. She’s consented to something, but not this other thing. Respect that. Go back to doing the mutually fun sex things.

4. Talking makes you a better lover. “What would you like to do?” is a hot question. It’s also a fucking mandatory question. Ask and listen, lots. This will make you a better lay, and also stop you from raping someone.

5. If in doubt, don’t. If you have the slightest doubt in your mind that she is consenting willingly and completely, don’t have sex. Sex is not a basic human right, not an entitlement. You can do without it. Fucking do without it. The consequences of not doing are far smaller than the consequences of going ahead. I hear it could ruin a man’s life…


Remembering Leelah Alcorn: a round-up of links

Content warning: This post mentions and links to content discussing transmisogyny and suicide

You will have likely heard of the tragic death of Leelah Alcorn and perhaps seen her suicide note and the reaction of the mother whose behaviour directly caused Leelah’s death. As a cis person, I have little to add personally, but my own sadness that this happens not just to Leelah but to countless other people in her situation. All I can offer is a round-up of the words of others who understand the situation better than me, because they have lived it. I also want to signpost that tomorrow, 3rd January, there will be a vigil for Leelah at Trafalgar Square at 1pm if you wish to come and pay respects.

Listening to the Living and the Dead: Ruminations on #justiceforLeelahAlcorn (b. binaohan)

To save trans lives; listen to Leelah (Natacha Kennedy)

Cis People Know Best, They Tell Us (Cheryl Morgan)

Don’t Tell Trans People To Empathize With Bigoted Parents (Jackson Warlock)

Sarah Ditum wants you to stop being so mean to the parents who murdered their child. (Jenny Trout)

Leelah Alcorn suicide note: Why I believe the media were right to share it (Sarah Brown)

Most trans suicides are murder (Allie Cat)

Remembering Leelah (Jane Fae)

Fraudulent; Negligent; Incompetent. My speech to the Trafalgar Square Vigil for Leelah Alcorn (Sarah Brown)

Whose life? (Jane Fae)

Cover-Ups and Concern Trolls: Actually, It’s About Ethics in Suicide Journalism (Arthur Chu)


How to be a bitch this Christmas (and forever)

The festive season is upon us, which means we’re also going to get the inevitable bombardment of “safety advice” (remain indoors, ladies!), combined with an upswing of creepy men being creepy. Funnily enough, the safety advice never really focuses on this most immediate threat, the creepy men you have to spend time with, presumably because patriarchy has a vested interest in forcing women and femmefolk to remain unboundaried around these horrid creatures. To even out the balance, ever so slightly, I therefore present a safety guide that might actually help around this festive season as well as over the rest of the year.

It’s OK to be a bitch

“Bitch” is a word that is thrown at women and femmefolk when we’re not behaving as we should. We’re made to feel that being a bitch is the worst thing in the world, but as a matter of fact, it isn’t. It’s just articulating and enforcing boundaries. If you’ve made your boundaries nice and clear, chances are this will upset entitled men. They’ll call you a bitch. This is a compliment to you: you’ve put the message across to them, and now they understand it, and they hate you for it. When you get called a bitch, you’ve won. They’ve realised they’re not going to wheedle themselves into the gift of your company, and that’s a good thing.

Wear the label “bitch” with pride. Each time you hear it, absorb the power. It will make you stronger and stronger. Feel the ancient power of the bitch coursing through your veins, and let it infuse you with the strength to upset more creepy men.

Trust no man

It’s by no means unfamiliar to most of us that the man who rapes you is unlikely to be a stranger on a darkened street, but someone you know. The same also goes for any violation of boundaries. We are taught that we should trust men that we know, or else we’re bitches. We’re also taught to assume good intentions from men, or else we’re bitches. Both of these beliefs only help rapists and creeps.

I can count on one hand the number of men I trust, and all of them have only proved it over a very long time and a number of trying circumstances. The thing, I think, that allows me to trust them is knowing full well that they know that I will revoke this trust within the space of fucking seconds, never to trust them again, if they fuck up in any way.

The way we’re told to do things is all wrong. When it comes to men, start from a position of suspicion and an assumption of bad faith. Let them prove themselves. And if they hold it against you, they’ve shown themselves to definitely not be worthy of your trust.

Trust your instincts

Sometimes we feel uncomfortable around certain men, and can’t put our fingers on why. There’s just a barely tangible vibe of something not being quite right, and we just want to be as far away from that dude as possible.

Trust that instinct. I spent a very long time trying to suppress it, and each time, I was proved that my instincts were correct. If you think there’s something off about a man, you are in no way obliged to be in his company, or be alone with him, or whatever it is that doesn’t feel right to you.

If anything happens, it’s not your fault

This is a very, very important thing that cannot be said enough: when a man crosses one of your boundaries, it’s never your fault. If he rapes you, it’s not your fault. If he gropes you, it’s not your fault. If he gives you a double instead of a single, it’s not your fault. If he stands too close, and you don’t tell him to back the fuck off but it makes you uncomfortable, it’s not your fault. If he crosses a boundary you never knew you had, it’s not your fault.

When men cross lines, it’s their fault, not yours. They should have the basic responsibility to check, and not to use social circumstances to coerce. And, of course, the basic respect to stay with your boundaries.

This knowledge makes you a bitch, because you’re supposed to feel guilty and ashamed, to shift the blame on to yourself rather than on to the true perpetrator in those situations.

It’s OK to be this bitch. It’s healthy for you, it will help you heal. Be a bitch, and be a proud, strong bitch, every day of the year.


The new online porn regulations and how they disproportionately affect women

Content note: this post discusses consensual BDSM

Today, new regulations have come into force which bans vast swathes of online porn. Fisting’s on the list, obviously, because someone at the CPS has an enormous fetish for showing juries fisting porn. So is hard impact play, simulated non-consent, urination, facesitting, and female ejaculation, among other things. The justification is that this is an attempt to bring online video under the same regulations as would apply to porn DVDs.

Which is all very well and good until you notice that these regulations are ridiculous when applied to porn DVDs too.

If we look at the list again, we see some strange things. It’s worth noting that facefucking–an activity which, when shown in porn often involves a man putting his penis in a woman’s mouth hard and fast (so basically, exactly how it sounds)–a staple of mainstream heterosexual (and often deeply misogynistic) porn isn’t on the list. It’s fine to be there on DVDs, and it’s fine online. Meanwhile, facesitting–which usually involves a woman sitting on a man’s face–is banned. So, a representation of female dominance is banned, while a representation of male dominance is perfectly legal.

Furthermore, the new guidelines explicitly say that actual consent of the performers is immaterial. What matters is how it appears. I’ve written before about the major concerns I have when dismissing real consent in porn. The consent of all involved should be a central concern, but once again, it isn’t.

It’s been pointed out that a lot of people who were, until recently, doing pretty well in the online marketplace, are femdoms, dominatrixes and dommes. These women have been independently producing their own porn, and profiting from this work, without having to rely on the male-ruled world of the mainstream porn industry and porn production. What this legislation does is strip businesswomen of their livelihood, while letting the men get on with making their commercial ventures.

If this doesn’t convince you that these guidelines are terrible, note that even female pleasure is banned under these new regulations. Female ejaculation is banned, because it is considered indistinct from urination: something anyone who has ever squirted will laugh out of town.

So, ultimately, what these new regulations have done is rip away a space for women to express alternatives to the models of sexuality we are sold, and replace all this with what a bunch of men behind closed doors have decided it’s appropriate for us to see. Unsurprisingly, what they don’t want us to be looking at or producing is us stepping out of our patriarchy-approved gender roles and onto a pair of stretched-out balls.

Update: Myles Jackman has provided a full list of what’s allowed and what isn’t. It’s worse than I thought! For example, swallowing semen is allowed, but swallowing or consuming ejaculate from a vulva isn’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!


On Ched Evans, rehabilitation and my total lack of pity

Content warning: this post discusses rape

Ched Evans has finally been dropped from training with Sheffield United, about a month too late. Current scientific instruments cannot measure my pity for him, but it is estimated that I do not give a single solitary femtofuck about his career prospects.

Defenders of the rapist found themselves turning into bleeding-heart liberals, suddenly caring about the rehabilitation of Ched Evans, a strange sight from some of the most deeply conservative shitbags I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. However, it is obvious that these statements were made in bad faith: all these squawking rape-fans want is for Evans to slip back into his high-profile career unscathed. Rehabilitation–actual rehabilitation–does not even feature on their agendas.

What does rehabilitation look like, then? First things first, let us note that our justice system is not exactly set up for a justice surrounding rehabilitation, it operates at mostly a retributive level. We brand prisons as a place for rehabilitation, but that is merely PR, and any rehabilitation that happens within their walls is purely an accident. Rehabilitation itself begins with something very important: the acceptance that you did something wrong.

The rapist Ched Evans has not done this. He continues to insist that he has done nothing wrong. He continues to throw money at futile appeals while his lawyers laugh all the way to the bank. He leads an army of rape apologist trolls, and remains tight-lipped in challenging them on their harassment of women, and the rape threats they make. Ched Evans hasn’t changed a bit. He’d probably do it again if he had the chance. He has learned precisely nothing.

Because of this, he simply cannot be held up as a role model. Sheffield United made the right decision in dropping him (eventually). I do not pity this rapist for losing a prestigious job; it’s what’s best for the community at large. It shows that unrepentant rapists are unacceptable. We’d probably be having a radically different conversation had Evans just owned what he did, speak out about how disgusting raping women who are too drunk to consent is, apologised and showed some change. Evidence of rehabilitation might, perhaps, mean it could be appropriate for him to continue in a high-profile career.

I don’t pity Ched Evans at all for losing this opportunity. His downfall was entirely of his own making. He chose to shut down and tell a generation of young men that he doesn’t think raping a woman who is too drunk to consent is really rape. He chose to protest his innocence when he is patently guilty as sin. And, most importantly, he made a choice to rape. 

So I wish Ched Evans a lifetime of mediocrity, a footnote whose name is inherently associated with being a rapist. I wish him nothing, humdrum tedium as the world forgets him. I wish him luck at kickabouts in the park with middle-aged dads. I wish him a dull but regular job. I wish him complete unremarkability, with no influence on anyone.

Ched Evans deserves no pity. He was never hard-done-by: if anything, he had it all too easy.


Tomorrow, MPs will restrict your abortion rights

Tomorrow, MPs are voting on a bill to ban sex-selective abortion, and it looks very likely to go through. After all, this bill has certain mass appeal. Isn’t it terrible that baby girls are aborted? Isn’t it a feminist issue to stop that?

Of course it is, but not by whacking further restrictions on reproductive freedom. What we need to do is value girls. What we need to do is overturn patriarchy. What we need to do is a whole lot of fucking work, and it’s much easier for liberals to side with the womb-bothering creeps and restrict access to abortion.

The thing about abortion rights is we don’t need to agree with the choice being made. All we need to do is ensure that abortions happen safely, and this can only happen if the law allows it. Nobody should need to give a reason beyond “I don’t want to be pregnant any more, and I understand what this procedure entails”.

MPs are doing the exact opposite of this. They are playing on our racism to make it acceptable to restrict abortion rights for certain reasons.

If you have a little time today, try writing to or phoning your MP. Be loud about this in public, explain why you don’t agree with this invasive bill. Share links explaining why it is a bad idea. Make a lot of noise, because it’s our right to govern our own bodies freely that’s at stake here.


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