I recently commented that I, the 'great' AdTheBad, enlightened for a whole year, had been posting the odd zeitgeist changing observations and snarks at The Gaurdians fems and 'liberals'. But then I read Mertyl. Mertyl has a great mind,can think and can elucidate as an art form. This chap is of my generation,was a fellow punk fan in the 80s and is an English working class struggler like me, but unlike me he can bloody well tell a good tale.
Its a bit of an epic, but I was impressed enough to gather some of the thoughts of Mertyl for this hallowed site as a validation because they may resonate with the readers here and as a celebration for finding this site a year ago and for thanks to Nacho, mods and posters for your time,energy,writings and continued existence.
I used to scorn 'cool girls', but now see they don't really exist | Bim Adewunmi | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
17 September 2012 1:35PM
my childhood and teen years were filled with Voltron and Battle of the Planets and DC and Marvel as well as a dangerous obsession with Star Trek in all its iterations
And if you'd met someone who said "Star Trek really isn't all that special", would you have found them all that interesting back then? And would you have blamed society for dictating this a-typical young girl perspective, and thus your own filtering choices, if you had?
Look, articles like this, and some of the comments beneath them, are still dancing around addressing the ultimate truth; feminism aspires to be positive-thinking, but even if you remove all the negative societal constructs, that doesn't mean that the world is automatically going to be any fairer; how can it be, when women are indeed just like men, and people in general are not always rational, or fair, or unselfish...
You talk of the "Cool Girl"... one poster talks about acting like that on dating sites because that's what men supposedly want... but what about the equally ridiculous assumptions made about men? You know what my experience of dating sites is? The women expect you to be a combination Warrior-Poet, strong, manly, punches other people (in her defence!) or he kills in other countries (a patriot!) but never ever will he hit you; Yet with a sensitive side that comes out on queue when it's romantically most needed (and not in a queue, at the Post Office say or anywhere it might be socially embarrassing); he should also be able to just "know" when those times are, without being told. And without assuming women are simple and can be easily read as if they have an instruction manual. You need to be career focused (shows you are mature!) but somehow also have time for a family (and have a boss and career that will let you have it, economic conditions be damned) but you want children only when she is ready for for them (and then the economic argument is often suddenly central again). And you must be attractive to other women, and either have a good reason for why you were dating last week but not this (and it better just be last week, or she wonders why it was a year ago), or it should be a good thing to steal you away from your current relationship because she's bad for you...
Of course, pointing all of this out runs the risk of being called a chauvinistic pig; but again, it's the point that Feminism can't bring itself to acknowledge... you're not a "woman", you're a human being. Yes, we get that too. And human beings of both gender are awful, because Evolution is a harsh mistress indeed and doesn't care in the slightest about what happens to you, the individual; it's designed people to be throw-away confused idiots because that happens to give the offspring the best shot at survival. What happens to the parents after the DNA has been replicated though is completely irrelevant. It's really not "Patriarchy" that's responsible then for the "Cool Girl" factor; because if it is, then "Feminism" is responsible for the "Warrior-Poet" nonsense too. Because you're doing the unreasonable expectation dance to yourself and your gender just as much as we are. Which is also why most thoughtful men hate the dating scene too.
Creepshots and revenge porn: how paparazzi culture affects women | Culture | The Guardian
22 September 2012 2:03PM
"But never mind. It's clear that this thread has already turned into a predictable 'What about the menz?' whinge, so the chances of any discussion on the actual content of the article would seem to be minimal."
Then don't respond to stupidly one sided articles with equally stupidly one sided posts, and then declare that "debate is over" when someone calls you on that complete inability to be anything more than offensively partisan and gender-blind.
Now I read the entire article. And I was waiting for even an acknowledgement that young women are growing up in the same culture, and acting just as vile with the new technology... and it never came.
But you say "I hardly think other women are responsible for this, do you?". And you're correct to some degree... you don't "hardly think", that much was clear; and the only way this article can make sense is if people refuse to think about the definitions used and how quickly they fall apart in the real world. Let's take the usual feminist trope, "Slut Shaming" shall we? This article is supposed to be focused on the use of technology to objectify women. So let's use Google as a search for "Public Shots Fashion Disaster" and see what comes up.
Go on. Be honest. Do it. The very first hit, what is it?
Bad Fashion : theBERRY
A woman's blog, mocking other women by taking photos of them in exactly the same manner.
The second link is the Discovery Channel (sigh, how far it's fallen) and the third is Cosmo and "Celebrity Fashion Disasters", a magazine written by women, read by women, publicly humiliating other women online via papparazi shots. Via 426 shots it says here...
Now let's move on to "Female Cyber-bullying" as a search, shall we... The founder of Encyclopaedia Dramatica, haven of online bullies, stalker and malicious character defamation, before the domain was sold and become "OhInternet!"..? She was Sherrod DeGrippo...
"Oh!" but you'll cry! "You used gender loaded and gender stereotyped terms to do that quick search!" Yes? And? What do you think this article does as well?
So shall we talk about women who take pictures of overweight women to laugh at and post about online next? No, let's be fair and link to a Feminist catching herself sneering at other overweight women and realising she's doing it, and having to remind herself it's wrong
What is this Fat Woman Doing on TV? | Kameron Hurley
That was on page 2 of a google search for "Women Mocking Fat Women". Needless to say, on page 1 were a few blogs of posting stolen shots of women who were no doubt letting the side down. And also, interestingly, a few men focused pages with the term "BBW" in it... first page remember, so a very high Google search ranking; so do tell us again about these assumptions made about men and technology won't you?
Ahh, the "whinging menz"... let's finally talk about them shall we? Again, I read the entire article. Waiting, waiting... will the author have the self awareness to challenge the dominant gender assumptions of something like "Hollaback"? Nope, here comes the reference, and the same old "We take photos of men to protect ourselves from creeps" unthinking justification. Really? So no girl ever takes photos of boys at school to humiliate them for being socially "weird" or just spotty and ugly?
"Star Wars Kid", remember him? The videos were originally uploaded by male class mates; but the abuse and the link sharing? Cross gender. In real life too;
As Ghyslain Raza recalled, whenever he walked by his high school's common areas, other students would jump on tables and chant, "Star Wars Kid! Star Wars Kid!"
There would be a commotion as they shouted and poked at him, trying to get a reaction. "It was simply unbearable," he said.
And no woman ever posts pictures of an ex to such sites for vengeance? It happened all the time on "IsAnyoneUp?" apparently; A disgusting site, right? Only men would defend it?
One woman named her child after him. Three things fangirls have tweeted at him in the past week: "If you had aids, id still fuck you just to say i have aids and that i got aids from you"; "One day I'm going to have Hunter Moore tattooed on my stomach with an arrow pointing down that says 'God Was Here'"; "I wonder how many girls have tried to steal @Huntermoore used condoms."
Hunter Moore Makes a Living Screwing You - Page 1 - News - New York - Village Voice
But that's a sex-positive image, self adopted by women, so it's ok even if we find it trashy right?
Yet god help you if you're an unattractive male who takes out a cell phone on public transport, because any potential over-reaction is justified by other, creepy-feeling men somewhere once doing something bad to a woman on similar technology.
"Never mind the menz" though eh?
It's time we ditched this bogus notion of 'real manhood' | Catherine Bennett | Comment is free | The Observer
23 September 2012 1:45PM
Frankly bleating "but what about teh wimminz?' in this context is pretty fucking crass.
As someone who smacked down a commentator yesterday on a Feminist thread for mocking others with "what about the menz", I'm going to have do do the same to you now (especially as that's probably where you got it from too).
Yes, men's issues rarely are addressed in public, yes psychological health is itself gendered in that it's assumed men aren't supposed to have feelings, certainly not the ability to address them in any constructive manner... but to just deny that women have a valid perspective and issues that need to be identified on a "menz" topic is equally as reductionist as the idiotic feminists who think women are always victims and never victimizers...
Especially as in this case, one of the drivers of this foul standard of what it means to be a "man" is in fact female sexual selection. Let's be entirely honest; if what it took to get into a teenage girl's knickers was writing poetry like all the romantic clichés hold, you'd have gangs of Wordsworths outside the empty Woolworths, swigging liquid laudanum in run down northern towns across the country. But you don't, because horny boys want to get laid, unpopular kids don't get laid, and getting laid proves you are popular, and further improves that popularity. So they adapt very quickly, and often unthinkingly (because hey, they're just teenage boys, what did you really know at that age?) to that vicious cycle of being a loud mouthed class clown who is good with his fists too... because that gets you laid more. And those values get reinforced Pavlovian style because getting laid is a damn enjoyable reward for doing it.
What does that have to do with what Pollystyrene has to say? Well, one way that women internalise "self destructive and self harming" behaviour is by being irresistibly attracted to Bad Boys who will beat them up in turn. Hybristophilia, or "Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome" occurs almost exclusively in women, and it comes directly from gender identities, possibly even biological ones which women are expected to follow too, or gain social opprobrium; Date the Alpha Male and gain the benefit of the "Sexy Son" hypothesis (if that's what's "sexy", date someone "sexy" so your offspring have the same advantage) or just because loud mouths with big fists beat down all rivals, so you date the loud mouth so you don't get beat down too...
In effect, both genders get locked into a mutually self destructive cycle. And so it's entirely right that Pollystyrene raises the issue of how women experience that cycle, because it shows that it is destructive to women's mental health too. You'd have a much harder, almost impossible time trying to tease out what the drivers of men's mental health are if you weren't able to show that it's not actually good for some of those influences themselves, that is that it's good for women at least. Because otherwise you run the risk of justifying the old cliché that "Masculinity" is the sacrificing of the self for "Women And Children First" instead.
But everyone's drowning in the pool of idiocy... quite literally in some places as we raise sea levels with our selfish ignorance. And as Polly quite rightly points out, we're not "saving women" from anything, as the society our chest beating has created has had a horrible affect on women's psychological health on top of everything else.
It's not just sexual selection of course; as the article makes quite clear, it's an article of faith amongst Tory politicians too, many of whom have gone the quite Public School (ahem) route to success, where they won't even have seen a woman other than Matron for their formative years. But again, the Alpha Male nonsense generates itself all the same, especially in social settings; That's the importance of the "Plebs" comment, enforcing a rigidly stratified society, based upon greed, power, wealth. And you can complain about those attitudes, but somehow they've never prevented these foul people rising up to the highest levels of influence in society. So it's not unreasonable to ask where those drivers actually are, and what the actual effects of their application are in turn... because they're clearly active and positively selecting for this ghastly set of traits.
And you know, as a bookish man, my mental health would be a lot better if the world wasn't seemingly built to support that level of vileness and justified it by their supposedly being "Real Men". As well as also not having to put up with being treated like a rapist, because as a beta male I get a mobile phone out on a bus, and suddenly "Stranger Danger!".... when the person in 95% of cases who actually will sexually assault you is someone known to you, most likely a boyfriend. But you feel SO SAFE when said Real Man again protects you by punching someone random on a Friday night in town, right?
Why the 'nice guys commit rape too' conversation is not helpful | Jill Filipovic | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
19 December 2012 3:49PM
In response, the town has rallied around the players, and it appears the school has done very little.
Let me talk about a concept I shall term "natural Justice", for want of a better description, for a moment... The reason the above is so infuriating is that it seems to enshrine injustice, hatred, evil into the very nature of our societies, of our worlds. I first came across just how socially powerful the "Jocks" were in US social politics long before I'd even got to secondary school myself, with Jello Biafra's blackly sardonic punk track "Jockorama"... And like the "Good Old Boys" who lynched black people and had the backing of local authorities in the Deep South, like the Banks "too big to fail", and even today with the Police apparently framing a Tory politician in a battle between two institutionally malicious organisations... it's the organisation, the inherent corruptness and constant reinforcing of evil which drains the soul, causes anguish because of how it's so casually accepted, and so crushingly powerful when applied so widely, and so unthinkingly.
And what is worse, like Domestic Violence (lived through that myself) it not only tarnishes the soul, but systematic oppression poisons you too, lays it's foul eggs inside and drags you down with it... you become in part a little of the monster you hate simply to survive in the face of that monster that threatens you.
I presume we're all on the same page here so far, yes? We can all agree that systems can become poisoned at the core, and poison those it touches too? That it's hard to stay decent and clean in the face of organised, powerful evil?
And now I'm going to tell you why I can never be a Feminist in the modern sense.
Not why I disagree with Jill Filipovic personally though; once I'd got past the trigger-reaction to the title and tried to read her actual words dispassionately and objectively, there's nothing there which isn't rightfully angry at ingrained injustice, which men and women can both recognise.
But there's a reason the "Good Men Project" exists, and uses terms like "Good Men" and "Nice Guys"... and it's because the whole conception of "Nice" is still being framed within the systematically corrupt concept of "Alpha" male identity, and what is worse is that, especially amongst the "sex-positive" Feminist movement, it's still tacitly accepted on some level as being valid even as they claim to be fighting against it... As a man, if you cry out in horror that these violent jocks, these cauliflower eared oafs and bullies and thugs are still incredibly popular sexually, that it's not just other men supporting them but that women too turn a blind eye to their evil, indeed even fetishize it in some sense (and not just in a modern setting, the great "romantic" figure of Healthcliffe in Wuthering Heights is a violent sociopath) , suddenly the agreement is broken... Suddenly you're "Victim Blaming". Now the people you were allied with use the term "Nice Guy" as a negative and assume you must be a weak male, snivelling that "you deserve sex" from being "nice", rather than having a legitimate belief that a system that rewards evil is seriously wrong... Real Men don't cry, don't complain, don't feel anything towards women, no not even individual women that you may have an emotional history with, even if it's negative, right?
My, how infectious evil really is...
Again, Jill Filipovic doesn't do this. But what difference will it make when the evil has been institutionalized on both sides? How do you prevent rape when even the Guardian censors you talking about actual rapes, as often happens in their Above-the-line trolling from clearly damaged individuals who'd internalised that the damage that they continue to pass on; how the hell can you tackle the social web of support that allows rapists to escape consequences when you refuse to address that it comes from both genders, that it's a social thing?
Jill Filipovic here addresses that. But my god, what a rarity that actually is.
Because there wouldn't even be a "Good Guys" webpage if "Nice Guys" hadn't become a Feminist cant about inferior, make-you-feel-icky types of men. And that page in turn wouldn't be attention trolling with outrageous articles if modern media hadn't devolved to desperation for page clicks at any cost, and appropriating that title feeds the rage... Let me make this quite clear; I don't need a webpage trying to reclaim the term "Nice Guy" for me. I can see for myself that rape is wrong, and I don't rape because I think I'll be getting Brownie Points on my Sex Card or whatever. It's hard enough trying to do the right thing for the real people I know without applying abstract, screwed up concepts to their lives...
But the whole system has become sick. And thank god someone has actually said so for once. So can we for once work together to change it?
Why did paid work become the only thing Britain really values? | Ellie Mae O'Hagan | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
30 August 2012 11:51AM
There's a very simple answer to this question; our social status, especially our dating status, is defined by the things you can afford to purchase. We don't appreciate spending time with someone because of the conversation, or sharing quiet moments in reflection with someone we trust... rather we have a check list of things "we should be doing", all of which require a very large disposable income. We should go out for a meal. We should catch a film. We should go drinking. We should have a holiday. And that means you have to work. Even if you hate the job you do, it's far more important that you have access to capital so you can buy back some sense of life with others.
You can say "What about voluntary work?" but if this was an acceptable alternative, the D.W.P. wouldn't keep harassing people who were doing it, and society wouldn't have the impression of "Scroungers" that it does. No, it's very clearly about converting time into income as a perceived moral good.
It goes further... if you don't have some sort of active, expensive hobby on top of work, people think you've got no character or drive; So I go roller-skating at the weekend. I work on my car. I play tennis. Often people will admit they do these things only so they can avoid being negatively labelled. If you said "I sit quietly reading, I sit thinking" you are considered anti-social. You could just about get away with "I go for walks" because it involves movement, but if you said "I go for walks so I can think" you're back into uncomfortable territory again.
All of this adds up to there simply being no acceptable alternative lifestyle any more. I remember an art show on television once, but forget the name of the art, where it showed Dutch 17th Century (i think) labourers idea of heaven, lying under a tree whilst hard boiled eggs with little legs ran up to them, and a pig offered them fresh back bacon from it's own back. Repose, rest, the escape from work. But people don't want to escape any more, because they are terrified of what that will mean; doing so means taking yourself out of society, losing friends, losing the ability to date because you become undesirable
The Peter Pan generation is the true squeezed middle | Hannah Betts | Comment is free | The Guardian
24 July 2012 1:04PM
This is real issue behind much of the male-focused criticism of articles like these; whilst this article doesn't particularly have a thesis except in that it points out quite clearly assumptions about rapists are inaccurate, beyond the "I forced her legs open whilst she screamed 'No!', and I enjoyed doing it' situation however, sexuality just isn't that clearly defined in most cases, let alone delineated into Good and Evil, and people often just aren't that well balanced or honest enough to recognise it even when it is.
Add into that deliberately self focused and self serving ideologies (extreme Feminism or the "Mens Rights Movement"/Pick Up Artist communities) and the huge, life shattering consequences of getting the sexual moment wrong for both victim and victimizer-who-didn't-intend-to-be and it's no wonder men in particular are hyper-sensitive to anything which hints of generalization, ideology or, in this case, using Reddit as a reliable source of information... They are trying to navigate that minefield just like everyone else, but a minefield especially tuned to explode at the touch of their gender, and most of what people say about the subject isn't helping avoid those mines.
Someone else has already mentioned "Fifty Shades..." Let's use that as an illustration. Almost everyone is reading it; and the book itself is based upon fan fiction for the Twilight series, which in turn was Mormon abstinence porn about the dark, dirty lure of sexuality and vampires and beastly handsome men with rippling wolf man six packs... sex that breaks the hips of the lead female character and leads to evil-incarnate babies that rip their way out of her.... Both series are shoddily written, have nothing to do with real sexuality or even the BDSM scene itself (and yes, I once had a close friend who had Submissive contract like in "Grey", but at least she could write convincingly about it!)... BUT the Dark Fetish, the aggressive domineering male role they both contain is pretty much
Ah instant gratification, sadly it mostly always ends in tears.....or alone
Which is why most people give in to the drudgery and domestic confinement; because you're terrified of being alone. It doesn't matter where you are, as long as other people are with you. Yet you end up on "thetrashheap" all the same, your economy trashed, environment slowly baked, pensions stolen by banking spivs, your rights whittled away and democratic vote made worthless... for that, you gave up your life, and you go into old age bitter, wasted... but at least everyone else made that same mistake right? You weren't alone in cursing hippies whilst slaving away unappreciated and worthless under those sterile cubicle lights...
You know, it may not be stunningly articulated, but I completely agree with the sentiment of this article. In fact, something very similar was very much on my mind yesterday; I took advantage of my free time to wander over to Bath; I sat reading on Widcombe hill in the sun, and had the coincidental pleasure of watching the Red Arrows pass over head. Wandered down the hill and discovered Smallcombe Cemetery, had a pleasant 30 minutes exploring the overgrown graves...
And then you get home, and there's something like Facebook waiting. And it got me thinking. Oh, everyone's doing it; that's where so much of the socializing of our generation supposedly goes on, online, or as a iPod Person on the tube etc, staring into tiny screens, completely oblivious to anyone actually there in the flesh and blood.
But... I'm going to be somewhat offensive right now, using the author's name, as it's the only way to make clearly the point about why you lot are on "thetrashheap" emotionally and spiritually. You know what would be the best way to fit in for Hannah Betts? And do you know what would really get me into the company of my current age cohort on Facebook? We should meet, and I should get her pregnant.
Not fall in love, although getting drunk and pulling duck faces at a camera might make a good one off Facebook post. No, not form any sort of connection or even any basic respect. Just get her knocked up... so then she can post endlessly about her bulge. And morning sickness. Really flog that "Soon to be a Mother" angle, because that's apparently what you should do as a "woman". All you apparently are, in fact as a woman. And then... BABIES! Endless posts about BABIES! Oh how she'll fit in!
And then, depending upon what sort of community I have, I can post to the men about how it's a ball and chain, I miss the freedom of sex when we want it, really milk that Bro-munity feeling. Or, if I know more women, play the "fatherhood is civilizing me" card, but make threats against any one who "touches mah kid!" to also to claim a bit of that "but I can still ROAR" Facebook Father Cred. And then I can say "I hate my job, but kids on the way!" and everyone will nod, think "he's finally growing up" and chant "One of us! One of us!"
Really. That's what you aspire too? We're living in the 21st Century now, and instead of achieving histories' dream of leisure time and creative opportunities, you want to work harder, longer, less happily so you can go home and become a parody of what it is to be a man or a woman? Your coping mechanisms are getting so off your face you forget what it is to be a human, or reducing your horizons to the point that you think sporting events really matter? Turning city centres every weekend into places where you fight and fuck... but never talk our feel or learn? And then to claim that criticizing this is demanding "instant gratification"? I rather think it's a case of "You think after society has burned you up and thrown you out, there'll be any gratification at all?" No, quite the opposite to short attention spans... the Peter Pans, free to fly into the clouds even if only briefly, can see much, much further and know what lies over the horizon.
And then we're all dead and none of it matters any more. Remember I mentioned Smallcombe Graveyard? It's only 150 years old or so, but instead of posting baby shots, I sat down and read some of the history surrounding it; I found a local history group that had tried to trace the burials for every resident on their local street since it opened, number they'd lived at, plot they'd been buried in... and not even a century later, most of the memorial inscriptions are known only from the filed records, the stones having long since worn down... and let's say maybe 5-10% of the graves and their markers themselves had already submerged below the changing soil line. You know the only thing anyone can say of those people now? "I hope they had fun whilst they were alive".
Even back then, the majority of them probably didn't. They grinded their way through life mostly just keep body and soul together; and they couldn't escape that. You lot can. Yet you choose to be miserable, and trash the world... incredible.
Who is a rapist? | Megan Carpentier | Comment is free | The Guardian
29 July 2012 4:40PM
But would I be happy if, in my childhood, I'd been better taught about issues of consent, sexual desire and the true nature of rape and sexual assault? Hell, yeah.
And what exactly IS the "true nature of rape and sexual assault"?
THE most common female fantasy in existence, even if people don't really understand it or laughably express it. It's there. Right there. Look at it. Look at those damn books fly up the best sellers list.
And then we get statements like this article ends on, saying that Rape Culture is a lesson for the boys and men. Really? You don't think we also need to address the corresponding issue that women time and time again go for the fantasy of the Bad Boy? If romantic poetry really did have the lubricating effect that James Dean or Rhett Butler has, you'd not be able to get the teenage boys away from their Shakespeare Studies... And for that matter, if business didn't worship at the cut-throat Randian altar, and society didn't place Class and Wealth above Soul, they'd probably not find it so easy to grow up into selfish, material focused mindsets either. But try and address that point on Feminist blogs and you get accused of "Victim Blaming" or, if you state "I try and do the right thing, but god is sexuality confusing" you get labelled as a "Nice Guy", obviously unworthy of these Alpha-feminists attention...
... And spending the next few decades reading feminist tracts won't necessarily lead to any deeper enlightenment than that, because the first thing you need to understand about Sexuality is that it's different from sex/gender, and is often a complete re imagining of actual reality. The "sexiness" is often in the dream of an alternative or the denial of the current. And do you know what the saddest thing about that is? It's something this article briefly touches upon; you can't really protect women from rapists when they don't find it easy to admit who the rapists actually are. It's not that weird guy at the back of the class, who is probably really nervous because he wants to do the right thing but has no idea what the actual rules are and deep down suspects you'll never talk to him anyway because he looks weird... it's that rippling 6 pack who knows no one will ever believe he had to force you, except in that wonderful kinky way...
Yeah, teaching children the reality of that would probably be useful indeed. Good luck getting even experienced adults to admit their sexual desires for the aggressive and alpha in life may be natural and true, but god is it stupid and self destructive... None of us want to admit that we're idiots. But we are. And in being so dumb, the truly evil flourish and triumph whilst the conscientious but weird are victimized again and again.
Sexual harassment on public transport must stop | Jennette Arnold | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
3 July 2012 8:14PM
This is going to be an incredibly unpopular set of opinions, and possibly end up rapidly censored but... you simply can't tackle the bystander effect and people's unwillingness without facing some very harsh truths as to why people don't intervene.
The first is that you simply can't ignore the dreadful calculus of evil. The reason people freeze in evil situations is because, for the 99 times you get the evil result anyway, 1 in 100 times it lets you live. It's not justice by any means, but passivity now doesn't mean death right now, maybe... and is still the relatively smarter option. Of course, for the survivors, it leads to appalling mental stress and degradation... but there's no hope at all of ever pulling even the smallest part of your life together if you're dead.
And I'm not saying that flippantly; quick personal story, when teenagers a gang hanging around a run down estate were abusing a friend of mine that they'd grown to hate for whatever reason, mostly his intelligence and that he was shockingly blond and pale skinned. Thinking it was safer than it was, or just younger and less sensible, we gave a bit of lip back; and they pursued us enraged for about a mile, before pulling blades and screwdrivers on us. One of them held a blade across my throat whilst they kicked the crap out of my friend. At the court case, the defence tried to argue we'd been looking for a fight too, and insinuated if it were really as dangerous as I said, how come I was completely unbruised? Physically yes, but it haunted me for years that I'd let my friend down by not fighting to defend him... even though my testimony got them convicted, I'd still failed then. But a few years later, or so I heard, the same kid pulled a machete on someone and hacked his arm off. Could have been me. What if I'd fought back? Could have been more than an arm. It doesn't take the guilt away, but likewise you can't appeal to people's better natures in such moments either. All the choices were awful. But I was lucky. That's all.
And secondly... do you know one of the even more depressing lessons that time, amongst many others taught? Those evil kids were popular, and hellishly so with the ladies... even whilst in prison. Because Bad Boys are sooo sexy apparently. Oh yes, I see the calls here for civility; but how many times have you tried intervening in domestic violence outside a pub or in a friends relationship only to have both parties suddenly turn on you instead? And even before the black eye has healed she's back with him once more? I've mentioned here before how when a friend at University was raped by one of the intensely popular (and "masculine") Greek set on campus she suffered a campaign of harassment even up to the court steps from her supposed liberal British sisters for going against the Alpha Males...
It's still evil that people turn away from suffering and violence, yes... no one deserves such treatment of course... but even when you don't have the knives pulled on you again, how do you save people from what they can't or won't save themselves from? As educated, presumably liberal women who are talking about the crimes committed against you, have you actually ever tried to be the angel for others that you wish you had at that particular moment? Because more often than not, you'll find the victim ends up punching her angel as well... or the threat of violence when you've gone, and the over-riding desire to survive creates a publicly visible stockholm syndrome towards the abuser, which might turn that crowd, which you say should intervene, turning against you instead because look, she's laughing it off... And then you can come online and find the alpha-Feminists mock completely the now socially confused men as being "Nice Guys"...
Really, do you have any idea how hard it actually is to do any good in this world? Not that it's an excuse not too; even now, even after it all I do still try. But really, truly... the original article author is educated and aware, and the commentators below the line passionate and right... but most people are not you. And the abusers on public transport are not an aberration, but simply the ultimate expression of our broken, selfish species... Most people are shit.
And right next to that poster about Real Men Don't Grope? Many, many adverts saying Real Men Wear Our Aftershave, whilst naked women grope his impossibly perfect torso. And the men quietly embrace that contradiction. And on the seat on the bus across from you? The introverted man who daren't even look at you in case he causes offence, who really really takes that poster to heart, but which you all secretly feel is an inferior, unattractive specimen indeed... and then go home and romanticize what is effectively a rape scene in Gone With The Wind as good old fashioned manliness, because after the fact, Scarlet is sighing contentedly...
A poster doesn't tackle that.
Four in 10 young women sexually harassed in public spaces, survey finds | Life and style | guardian.co.uk
25 May 2012 1:12PM
Treating people as less than human or stupid or inferior can if repeated often enough cause depression which is a serious illness. Ask people who were bullied at school how it made them feel. Some get to feel so low they kill themselves.
Quite, quite true. So what does treating every man as a potential rapist, or even just individual men as if they must be a rapist cause...?
Before people leap on me for that comment, let me just repeat what I've mentioned here before, yes I've had friends and girlfriend raped, and been to the trials of some of their rapists. You don't need to tell me that rape and abuse is soul destroying. But with the exception of one seriously mentally ill individual, the rapist was usually good looking, wealthy, or seriously socially powerful in some way that either disguised or allowed them to avoid consequences for their crimes, until they had victimized someone brave enough to follow through and who was lucky enough for there to have to been enough evidence to have finally proven the crime committed. One or two brave girls were simply not that lucky to get it to stick...
And I will always remember how in the court case of one, who admitted his crime so it wasn't in doubt, all the same around 20 girls from university turned up to support him, because well he was Greek and the Greeks were such sex gods and pretty much dominated University social life, and she must have been asking for it and...
But the men who actually are seen as rapists, the ones who trigger the fear of the Stranger Danger, which is 95% less likely than assault by someone you know, are usually the ugly, and inept men. The ones you can believe it about. I don't mind admitting, for the early part of my life, that was me; Victims support at the above trial thought I was the accused. And when I, in shock, asked if I'd be walking the victim in if I were, was told "Well often the State has to prosecute because by the time it arrives here, the victim has gone back to her abuser." It used to be a joke at my secondary school to push me towards the first girl I fell for, so she could freak out and hit me repeatedly, and hard with one of the chairs. And who came out of that looking better? Why the sexy young girl putting the freak in his place of course... even if those cheering didn't believe it, it's useful to pretend you do and that she's awesome so maybe one day you can get in her knickers as well...
I could go on, but the real point is this; there's a tendency to assume that there's a clearly obvious set of sexual rules, that any normal person can work out, and are consistent across consistent settings. Except... there really, really isn't. Now I'm much older, and whilst not Brad Pitt now, attractive enough to not trigger the "freak" response most of the time, I can get away with obviously flirting with girls in settings I couldn't even be near them previously. My personality hasn't changed as such, although perhaps I'm a lot older and wiser, but I certainly didn't give in and change from stupid romantic to woman hating ass either. I did however develop depression because of how I was treated, and desperately trying to understand what was the "right" response then has made incredibly sensitive to how you really can't trust what people say now, but often have to try and second guess what they mean behind self-mythologising nonsense they tell themselves and tell you in turn...
And so back to that opening sentence; you know what would really help? If both genders could just chill the hell out, be directly honest about how they feel, and honestly address how the other might be feeling. Then we could try and live alongside each other without dragging our entire past into every moment, or assuming we've all been given a standard textbook on sexuality. But don't assume it's just a battle men have to have alone. I know you get tired of the attention, and I know there's a much higher risk of rape for you... but I'm not that man, you understand? Maybe you'll feel less afraid if you realise I'm not, and I won't feel less likely to sink back into depression if you can try and stop treating me like that, and then we can all focus on tackling the issues that remain after we clear up the ones that weren't there?
Are you a 'hate reader'? | Open thread | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
31 January 2012 4:48PM
From the original article at Jezebel linked ATL;
And that's what makes it so much more entertaining – if a subject has absolutely no idea how they're coming off to readers, then it's all the more outrageous and, for me, all the more enjoyable.
And yet there's a second order of ignorance, after the realisation that she's Hate Reading, the dispelling of the author's own ignorance about her actual motives for Hate Reading; and why at the end of the article she decides to try and go cold turkey.
My bet, by the way, is that the final level of ignorance defeats her; that she doesn't manage it and is Hate Reading again within the week... because it's just an obvious display of quite a common psychological reaction, the deliberate cultivation of self ignorance and denial, which insists "Ooooh no, no, I don't like this, oh no things got out of control OOH THE FRISSON DONT STOP!". She even makes the comparison herself to the eating of terrible greasy food...
But back to the debate here, it begs a different third order ignorance question, is the Guardian editorial staff, actually truly unaware that this is what they've really been doing themselves for years now, setting up articles just to troll for hate reading?
Really? You've got to ask the wider community this, because Jezebel (a widely admire feminist focused blog) drove you to the question with a lifestyle piece and only now you think there might be a point to asking it? After censoring for years anyone who frustratedly BTL here pointed out it's just trolling for angry comments...
Really? Only now?
Ok, let me give you a totally self aware response then. Yes, I read articles often because I know I'll hate them. In fact I virtually never comment myself now except when disgusted beyond all belief. And I'll tell you exactly my reasons;
1.) The people I agree with tell me nothing new, and when they do, it's usually only in a negative way, that is they disappoint; one of the saddest times of my life was watching William Shawcross who had earlier in his career wrote one of the most incredible books I ever read, "Sideshow: Kissenger, Nixon and the Destruction Of Cambodia"; one of the concluding chapters can be seen here;
The Vietnam War: An Encyclopedia Of Quotations - Howard Langer - Google Books
Yet there he was on television in 2003, older and supposedly "wiser" giving in to the public fear and terror and just like every other talking head demanding we strike Iraq because "something had to be done!". Depressing.
Especially as his earlier work proved it's worth by being deadly accurate about that invasion of Iraq.
2.) The people I agree with are largely ignored, powerless both in the media and real world politics, and (with rare exceptions like Monbiot here) other nothing else but a lonely howl in the wilderness. Sometimes it's good to hear your own howls echoed back and not be quite so alone. But mostly it's a recipe for apathy and disconnection as you realise no one's really listening. Does the media and political clasess really not understand what taking a sense of agency away from people is doing to the souls of our nation, especially when it's replacing it with dumb, violent reactionary drama instead?
3.) And this is the most important one; I find myself watching the people I hate because literally their ideas may get me killed or personally reduced. Not just from the terrorism they feed with their stupid, violent ideas (invasion of Iraq, appalling foreign policy) or attacks upon the financial security or personal freedom (Making it harder to fight injustice by removal of legal aid, illegal sanctions to hit targets in benefit cuts, jail time for possession of certain kinds of porn even if you yourself did not put it on your computer), and never mind the sympathy I feel for the innocent people abroad who are going to get killed much quicker than me because of policies we don't fight hard enough... but because their ghastly, unchallenged rhetoric increasingly makes normal life here, now itself intolerable. The Littlejohn's and Bidisha's of this world are so narcissistically obsessed that they can't even allow the existence of a self-identity different from their own; I have to feel ashamed of empathy with the disabled, I have to feel ashamed I have a penis... I Hate Read not because it's secretly thrilling in a screwed up way; Hate reading is a form of self defence. Because fore-warned is fore-armed.
And when you understand that, you again come back to the Guardian's policies... and do you really not understand what kind of fight you're engaged in? These people hate you. They'd gladly see the Guardian as a newspaper dead. When it comes to the more extreme posters, they'd gladly see you as individuals dead. Or at least, starving to death somewhere they don't have to ask hard questions about your true humanity. This isn't academic. They mean it. Which sadly means we have to fight back
Emily Hill: Germaine Greer says you can't be a feminist if you're skinny. Why did no one tell her when she was a gorgeous, pouting waif? | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
25 November 2008 12:01PM
A women whose only recognizable talent is that an elitist art establishment, mostly made up of fawning men who are titillated by looking up if their names are on the list of all the men she's screwed, and delight in her endless talk emanating from Emin herself about how her own wonderful breasts allow her to get past the donkey-arsed face are prepared to hype her "art" to high heaven, is the feminist role model today?
But then, the author is someone who holds Jade Goodie up as something to aspire too, a person who wallows in their own craptacular existence and debases herself for the public's hooting derisive enjoyment. So you know, I finally think it's time I agreed that Germaine Greer has got a point. You "modern" feminists are too adle-brained to tell the difference between someone who is too thin because they were blessedly born that way and happens to be using it to push against patriarchy and it's restrictive standards of women and their sexuality... and the anorexic and thin-brained products of that modern patriarchy, picked up from the street, caged and kept half starved to used in selling unrealistic and shallow standards to the masses, ultimately against the true needs and wishes of women in general.
Because neither Cole nor Emin has any identifiably unique talents except a bitchy attitude that embraces their own reduction down to their biology... and in Emin's case, two very specific parts of her body, her vagina (and what's been in it, expressed through her "art") and her breasts. But that apparently is supposed to be our role model for women?
And when your own breasts start to sag Emily Hill, or child birth wrecks your vagina, or when you just start to wrinkle and get old, it'll be interesting to see if you and all the other fashion-and-glamor-obsessed Young Things who clearly associate with the Thin identity products that the male media has packaged up and sold to you can and will still continue to do so, or if you'll become a neurotic wreck as your body falls behind the impossible curve you think you can ride for now at least... Because Germaine Greer can imagine, nay demands that women still be sexy, be considered sexy, are sexy no matter what their age or class and especially if they wear it honestly and gracefully or just openly. And she's also got a rather famous academic book behind her too.
Emin though? Well she's got ... um... "Bed." And can still fuck her way around the industry... for now. So we'll hear about her for a while yet I guess. Cole? She's got well... she lip-syncs to songs written by an industrialized pop-factory she's never likely even met. She'll have a few more years in her, until the "Can't-do-it-to-Dad's-band" factor means it's time to retire her for a younger model. Perhaps later, if we can keep them both out of the visual media, we'll use their affected attitude in print format to stir up controversy and sell more adverts, like we currently use (but avoid showing) Julie Burchill. Don't worry Emily, that's not you yet... as long as your masthead photo remains cute that is.
So yeah, you go "Girl Power"...
Me, I'll be sticking to the Women's Institute calender for inspiration. Oh, I don't masturbate to it, like I might over Emin or Cole or your Masthead... but then, I don't need to reduce women down to just how I can use someone, like your brand of feminism does.
Bidisha: The harassed strike back | Comment is free | The Guardian
4 September 2007 3:30PM
Are the bovine masses in their kerb crawling white vans really trying to find interaction with you by mooing obscenities? Of course not, they are just using you against your wishes as a canvas for their own entertainment. And that is absolutely, and obviously wrong. But just because women sadly experience this every day it doesn't mean that the next man to approach you, just because he does it in an unusual setting, or in a clumsy manner, or just gives off a "creepy vibe" is the same SORT of man. However, tar him with the same brush, and eventually he might as well become so...
So then; the guys on the bikes? Obviously also jackasses, because they kept pushing it long beyond the point of obvious decorum. So good on you for standing up to them. But the guy in the supermarket...? Maybe, maybe not. He said TWO words to you. Perhaps in the wrong manner. Perhaps in the wrong tone. But bearing in mind that is probably the only place he'll ever see you, so he can't possibly introduce himself any other time, and bearing in mind that we don't know any of his personal circumstances (he might be disabled, or have some other cognitive imparing issue... debilitating shyness is another reason I can think of for why he chose to whisper into your ear), but automatically assuming "He must have popped out of the office to bug a woman and pick up some snacks.", and then declaring "Why do you think it's OK to harass women?" is the reaction you should have given two men earlier, to the OTHER men, but not necessarily the one that the Supermarket man personally deserved.
Or maybe he was. But you don't KNOW that. And now you never will.
Now if you'd just turned and said to him "I'm sorry, this isn't the sweets isle, what are you really looking for?" and he'd said something else harassing then, then yes by all means it's fair to assert your own rights. But instead you've posted here gloating about how he "snivled"... Other posters have repeated endless how two wrongs don't back a right, so I'll try putting it another way; how does dehumanising and debasing someone else, even if that someone else ultimately does turn out to be debased themselves, ever an effective solution to any problem? Has it worked in inter-communal relations? Did declaring Catholics or Protestants were well just obviously all X, Y, Z increase or decrease community tensions? Did area-bombing of London or Dresden break the will of their country's respective will to fight, or their identification with their fellow man under the bombs? No, responding forcibly might make you personally feel better, but that's only a solution if you never see them again personally or don't care what happens to them after... but SOME woman will see him again. And now he has much, much less respect for women than previously. Just like if I mouth of to the Johnny Hards who lurk on every street corner, it might make me feel better, but that doesn't suddenly make the world actually objectively better, and he and his mates, and the weapons they've got don't suddenly disappear. They'll just get angrier...
As I say, that's absolutely not a defense of sexual harassment, or any other form of victimization. But you also have no absolute right to act as you wish either without regard to causality; arm swinging stops right at the noses of the innocent, and you don't get to arbitrarily decide who is innocent or not... Stop, think, demand respect if it's lacking. But don't just assume all men and all unwanted approaches are the same, unless you WANT them to feel they might as well be; because it's down to the bottom of the barrel they'll all go, not to the top.
And I tell you what, do that and I'll make you a deal... I'll also stop doubting the judgement of all women, just because I've seen and been through some horrendous examples of them putting up with any amount of appalling behaviour as long as the man in question is charismatic (or rich enough, or Good Sense Of Humour enough) to get away with anything, up to and including domestic violence and rape (of both genders). I'll go into the next conversation with a women not with a pre-defined mindset or fear pattern, but as a blank sheet. I'll wait to see who they really are. Fair enough? And then maybe, just maybe when we not only understand we exist as victim of, but also victimizers to others ourselves, we can ALL get through life with the least amount of interpersonal friction and pain. It won't ever be "No Pain", but perhaps then I'll be able to see you in the supermarket, and ask you if you can pass me a pepper without worrying what jackass has offended you previously; Because I'm NOT that man.
And THAT man won't be also able to hide behind the social arguments of "Everybody does it" or "To Feminists, all approaches are equally wrong" bullshit either. Not if everyone makes the effort to tease out the subtleties. So standing up for yourself is only part of the battle. Learn when to feel comfortable sitting down again, huh?
Charlie Brooker: Nightclubs are hell | Comment is free | The Guardian
13 August 2007 12:53PM
Moook says; "For the first hour they shoot sideways glances at the one they fancy. Then they dance nearer, then after a while they try to infiltrate lust-object's dance-circle. Then they get told to fuck off, and the whole process starts all over again"
And do you know what the really funny thing is? I remember this being the exact same mechanic that occured in all the "alternative" clubs as well; I have one memory in particular of a Punk Rock chick doing that to my friends and I at an Anathema concert in Nottingham's Rock City in the mid 90s, because when you dance nearer and nearer in punk gear, the inevitable happens, and someone gets jabbed with safety pins, he he... Clubbing today contains nothing new, or particularly original, no matter where it goes on or what music is being played.
Which is, needless to say, why I've always hated it. We tell ourselves that being Young means being Wild, Beautiful and Stupid; because we mistake Youth for simply being the things we think we can't or won't be when we get old and are forced to be responsible. And I can understand hedonism, and obviously beauty has it's appeal... but it's always that last one I've had difficulty with. Got anything more to show me than just the promise of a hot, sweaty vagina, love? What's that? I can't hear you, what? WHAT? Ahh, never mind...
Still, you can see why it's such a succesful design for social interaction; With enough drugs, you can always continue acting "Wild" and "Stupid", and use the gloom, alcohol and more drugs within clubs to persuade everyone else you are still "Beautiful... enough, anyway"; so hurrah, we've discovered the Fountain of Eternal Youth!
" It perfectly articulates the insidious ways in which women are socialised into certain identities, whilst being given the illusion of "choice"."
Completely unlike boys and men, who are free to be what they wish.
"Feminism is like a marriage where .gov is the husband and he will do anything for a quiet life..." ~ TheDisgruntledGentleman
Never have I read someone who so perfectly articulated my own thoughts more than this. Thank you ATB, for bringing this to my attention.
Reading these help me realize something about myself. I'm not alone because I hate or fear people, it's because I don't want to become what they are. I'm on this planet to evolve, to become something greater than a slightly smarter and more upright ape. In order to do that I must observe, I must understand, I must contemplate the world, its motivations, and where I fit in. He is right that people see reading and thinking for the hell of it as unproductive, antisocial behavior, when in reality, it's what keeps me sane and happy.
Oh, and I just googled Tracy Emin. I think she's the reason why parents say 'if you keep making that face, it'll get stuck that way' to their kids.
Last edited by PhilosopherStoned; 12-20-2012 at 12:14 PM.