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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Blog for Peace 2011: The Many Faces of Feminism

It seems to be a common misconception—especially amongst men, although definitely not limited to them—that feminism is a monolith. There is this common idea that one branch of feminism is all branches of feminism, and every self-identified feminist will agree with every opinion, publication or discussion that takes place under the branch of feminism. This is despite the fact that the first six words on the Wiki page for Feminism (I know, I know, but it’s the first place most people look) are, “Feminism is a collection of movements…”

In my experience—and I really want to stress that—this idea is usually perpetuated by those who are anti-feminism, or in some cases, men’s right’s activists. It’s easy to take the most extreme, the most controversial, the most opposing viewpoint to your own, and lump everyone into that category as a way of dismissing an entire group or movement. And let’s face it, it has to be a lot easier to dismiss feminism out of hand than to examine the many, many complexities and contradictions within the feminist movement.

Identifying as a feminist doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with everything in the movement—or even most of it. For some people, “feminist” means nothing more than “I think men and women should be equal”. It’s not a political statement, or even something they think about most days. For others, it is their livelihood, their careers and their politics. For most, it falls somewhere in between.

Very few people will deny that there are a metric ton of problems within the feminist movement, both past and present. Racism, classism, cissexism, reclamation, sex-negativity, parenting, the concept of “choice” and many others continue to be contentious issues amongst feminists—and that’s before we bring in postfeminism. Using these problems as an excuse to dismiss feminist issues, however, is to deny a myriad of very real failures in achieving equality. Because at the end of the day, disagreements on whether or not the world “slut” can be reclaimed doesn’t take away from the fact that one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, or that less than 10% of reported rapes result in a conviction.

Feminism will never be a monolith—and nor should it be. Different groups—be that geographical groups, races, seuxalities, classes, whatever—will always have different goals and priorities. Yes, these goals will merge and diverge and various points, and this is a good thing. Of course we don’t all have the same goals. What the fight for equality means to me as a young, white, queer woman with terrible health is different to what it will mean to a Muslim woman in France today, which in its turn will be different to what it means to a poor Black woman in the United States, which will be different… you get the idea. None of these battles are any “more” or “less” feminist than any other, though they will be more or less relevant to the people involved. It’s important to remember the distinction, both from within the movement and outside of it.

This is my contribution to Save the Children’s Blog for Peace project. It was an odd tangent, I know, but this is where my brain went! Please follow the link for the full blogroll of participants 🙂

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Personal

 

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Signal Boost: hate pages on Facebook

Trigger warning for just about every -ism you can conceive. This post is about the prevalence of hate groups on Facebook. Also an added trigger warning for discussions of rape and abuse in the comments.

Addendum 25/09/2011: Scar has quite rightly pointed out in the comments that this list doesn’t contain any hate pages against trans* folk. This was an oversight on my part—at the time I posted the link to this page, I simply didn’t have the spoons to read through the whole list, and I take full responsibility for this. My heartfelt apologies to anyone who felt erased by this—obviously as it is not my list I can’t do a lot about it, however I will definitely keep it in mind when I am linking pages in the future.

Good Gravey has posted The big, bad list of hate-pages yet to be reported (plus the success stories) on his Tumblr. Those of you who follow/like/whatever-the-kids-are-calling-it-nowadays the SlutWalk Aotearoa Facebook page will know that I and the other moderators of the page will often post the links to Facebook pages that perpetuate rape culture; however the sad truth is that the list Good Gravey has provided here is, simply put, too long to deal with individually.

Facebook have outrighted stated that in their opinion, pages that threaten rape are no worse than a bawdy pub joke. According to Facebook’s statistics page, there are over 750 million users currently on Facebook. If we assume a gender balance, and we also assume the often-touted statistics that one in four women and one in eight men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, there are over 140 million survivors of sexual assault actively using Facebook.* To ignore them in favour of stating that “It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining” is a horrific marginilisation of a huge part of your users.

And this doesn’t just stand for rape culture, either. The only way to even stand a chance of being taken seriously is to report each one of these disgusting pages that promotes racism, sexism, rape culture, cissexism, classism, ableism and any other -ism you can conceive.

Again, the full list is here and I would encourage those of you with the spoons to report, report, report as much as possible. There is currently a success rate (i.e. the pages now show as uanvailable/removed) of ~9%. This is could, but we can try to make it better.

*If anyone wants to check my math (it is rather late): 750,000,000 users = 375,000,000 women and 375,000,000 men.
375,000,000 x ¼ = 93,750,000
375,000,000 x ⅛ = 46,875,000
93,750,000 + 46,875,000 = 140,625,000

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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How To Get Away With Murder (or at least sexual assault)

Trigger warning for rape/sexual assault/paedophilia

This is a blog post for all the rapists and paedophiles out there. Next time you are planning on sexually assaulting a four-year-old child—even if you plead guilty—there is a surefire way to make sure you are discharged without conviction.

See, according to Judge Philippa Cunningham, you just need to be “a talented New Zealander” who “makes people laugh”. Because “laughter’s an incredible medicine that we all need a lot of.”

We need laughter more than we need to protect our children from being sexually abused, apparently.

Here we have a man who pleaded guilty to performing an indecent act on a child (after originally being charged with unlawful sexual connection with a person aged under 12). Here we also have a judge who, despite this plea, has discharged him without conviction—which means, despite pleading guilty, this will not appear on his criminal record—because the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the gravity of the offence.

Take note, abusers. If you’re famous and funny and talented, it’s totally okay to sexually abuse your child. Because we need more laughter in the world, and that’s more important than convicting people who sexually assault children.

Also just a housekeeping note, because this has already cropped up on the SlutWalk Aotearoa Facebook page: while this case and everything surrounding it makes me fucking furious, the permanent name suppression does stand and as such, comments that name the comedian in question (rightly or wrongly) will not make it through moderation.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Media, Rape/Sexual Assault

 

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