This is the archive of the original tigtogblog

tigtog now posts at the new and improved Hoyden About Town. She also blogs at Larvatus Prodeo and Finally A Feminism 101 Blog. If the new Hoydenspace is down you should find updates below.

Posts begin below the Feed Modules from the blogs named above.

Hoyden About Town

Latest Posts from Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog

2006-07-31

When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross

As an antidote to the bile of Michelle Malkin (see post below) it was nice to come across this story courtesy of Michael Weholt in comments over at Making Light (quoted below in full). Despite Malkin's pseudo-Christianity and bigotry, one knows in one's heart that there truly are the majority of Christians who truly believe that their faith is a shield of love, not hate. To see a megachurch pastor give such an address rebuking the "hypocrisy and pettiness" of the simplistic religious right is most encouraging :

And so I give you Rev. Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of one of these evangelical (distinctly UNliberal) mega-churchs (this one in Minnesota) with thousands and thousands of members. From an article in this morning's New York Times:

In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek "power over" others - by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have "power under" others - "winning people's hearts" by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

"America wasn't founded as a theocracy," he said. "America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn't bloody and barbaric. That's why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

"I am sorry to tell you," he continued, "that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ."

Mr. Boyd lambasted the "hypocrisy and pettiness" of Christians who focus on "sexual issues" like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson's breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.

"Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act," he said. "And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed."

Some Woodland Hills members said they applauded the sermons because they had resolved their conflicted feelings. David Churchill, a truck driver for U.P.S. and a Teamster for 26 years, said he had been "raised in a religious-right home" but was torn between the Republican expectations of faith and family and the Democratic expectations of his union.

When Mr. Boyd preached his sermons, "it was liberating to me," Mr. Churchill said.

Since Rev. Boyd started saying this stuff, he has lost 1,000 of his 5,000 members. I get the feeling his attitude about that is pretty much, "Forgive me, O Lord, but good riddance."

The fundie whackos (to get simplistic) need to be called out more often by preachers like Rev. Boyd and by their moderate co-religionists at all levels of the congregation. If moderates don't tell the whackos that they're full of bigoted petty hypocrisy, and tell them every single time they spill it forth, the whackos will continue to believe that they are spouting TheOneAndOnlyTruth and all other Christians are behind them.

It might split some congregations, neighborhoods and families, just like the hawk:dove stance on the Iraq war has done, but pretending the divisions don't exist and papering over the cracks is no way to repair them and rebuild a sound, respectful and tolerant foundation.

The most encouraging part of this story is that Rev. Boyd preached his landmark sermons two years ago, before the last election, concerned "that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism, especially through the war in Iraq". And he's not alone amongst evangelicals in his concerns, as the full article details. Read it all.

Malkin loves the coy

The repellent hate-screeder Michelle Malkin, who doesn't allow comments to her blog posts (thus it's not really a blog, IMO, just a brave-brave-Sir-Robin website) has a habit of putting up posts with ambivalent titles, popping in a few blockquotes or pictures, and disingenuously asking "now what could be going on here then?".

This allows her to always claim that she didn't really mean what the legions of wingnuts who link to her and run with her stories straight into bigot violent-fantasy land say, oh no! She can't be held at all responsible for the incitements to violence of a pack of rabid dogs she just happens to have been feeding hate-fodder.

She is of course right that there is unlikely to ever be found a provable link between what she writes and any act of violence against the people she writes against, but that doesn't make it any the less immoral or rapacious, seeing that spouting bile has given her a high media profile generating lucrative speaking engagements and high-figure book-sales.

Her latest is a post tweely entitled "A Random Gallery of "lone" gunmen". Surprise, surprise, to any of those who read her even semi-regularly - all the gunmen she pictures are Muslims ( to pad out the numbers she adds the two Beltway snipers - Michelle, what does "lone" mean again?) and she ends by linking approvingly to another writer who says:
"No one will ever consider whether such behavior is encouraged by the texts and atmospherics of Islam, and if so, what can be done about it."
Now, I am in no way defending the violence committed by any of the 9 men Malkin pictures, who killed many defenceless people in various incidents since 1994. I deplore the murder of anyone, and wish all murderers appropriately tried, sentenced and incarcerated.

Still, she's stretching on this one and I'm sure she knows it, but she simply doesn't care. Four of her Muslim gunmen do seem to have specific religious motives for their shootings, attacking specifically Jews or carrying notes about Israel, but not the rest. Some of these men appear to have just "snapped" in the same way certain non-Muslim mass murderers have done, with no obvious motivation at all. The Beltway snipers are different in that they are by definition serial-killers rather than mass-murderers, but there is still no basis for ascribing their shootings to a particularly religious motive.

So, Malkin appears to be correct in her implication that four of the men on her list are Islamist terrorists, but the others are merely murderous criminals who happen to be Muslim. The only reason she implies otherwise is anti-Muslim bigotry.

When the Timothy McVeighs and Eric Rudolphs commit mass murder for reasons which are obviously based on extreme interpretations of Bible verses, anybody who asks
whether such behavior is encouraged by the texts and atmospherics of Christianity
is howled down by Malkin et al. Oh no, they're just mad bastards who happen to have been raised Christian, there's nothing about Christianity per se that makes them that way! And they're not real Christians if they commit murder! is the cry.

And you know what? They're probably right (not right about judging whether their faith is real, but right about whether their faith "made them do it").

People don't choose what the faith of their parents is after all, which is most likely to be the faith they also profess. Most 'holy books' have sections wherein horrifically violent wars are presented as divinely justified, as part of the bloodier history of ancient times, and most religious authorities say such stories shouldn't be taken as more than an allegorical recommendations for behaviour in modern times.

Unfortunately, some people just have the particular brain chemistry that switches easily to zealot mode, and a smaller subset just have the particular brain chemistry that switches further to murderous fanatic mode. It's the way some brains are, in every culture all over the world.

But you can't have it both ways, and say that when people who read the Bible become murderous fanatics it's not the fault of the religion, and then say that when people who read the Koran become murderous fanatics it is the fault of the religion.

Be honest: be consistent.

2006-07-29

Weekend flashback: more scifi shockers

It took some doing to try and come up with a more ridiculous scifi costume than last week's effort, but then I had the inevitable eventual "oh yeah, Barbarella!" moment.



The young Jane Fonda of course has an unfair advantage over a middle-aged Connery in the looking gorgeous in a flour-sack stakes, but even so!

However, the picture above fails to adequately display the sine qua non of bad scifi, the boots. As Barbarella had more and better boots than any scifi before or since, that's a shame. In fact, we can't be having with that at all.


2006-07-28

Back on deck

I've had a bit of a lost week - one of those achey-breaky 'flus with sore eyes meaning 'puter time is not restful but is rather ennervating, so I've just been sleeping it off and makin sure I get the kids to and from school (it's been parent-teacher nights this week as well).

I think the relentless rain these past few weeks tipped me over into S.A.D. territory as well, so yesterday while the sun was out I got me some UV, and plan to do the same today..

Last night I had the chance to put up a post at Larvatus Prodeo about the Daily Terror running amok with a story about dangerous hypodermic needles in Kings Cross, in what was quickly determined to be a pretty obvious stunt aiming to discredit the Medically Supervised Injection Centre (hint to the gullible: used syringes are not sparkly clean).

There's some good medical/neuroscience reading at:

Swollen amgydalae suggest causes, and possibly even cures, for the
debilitating disorder.
  • electron soup posted a link to this fascinating article raising many questions about the extent our behaviour is hardwired by our neurological architecture, prompted by the case study of a man who developed paedophiliac tendencies due to a brain tumour.
Hopefully back to regular blogging shortly.

2006-07-23

Happy Birthday Mr Tog

Today my darling added another digit to the figure he puts in certain boxes on certain forms.

He's busy all day today with churchy stuff (he goes, I don't, yes it used to be weird, now it's no big deal), as today is one of their Winter Concerts, for which I made a crockpot of my hugely popular Fragrant Sour & Spicy Thai Soup for the after-concert supper, so yesterday we went for his birthday outing.

Porgy and Bess, oh yes. I knew all the famous Gershwin songs, of course, but otherwise knew nothing of the story. I expected operatic tragedy would strike, but not that it would be so dark nor that the life of the Gullah-speaking people of the Atlantic coast would be so unsentimentally portrayed. It's a real slice-of-1930s-life drama, totally unlike the more sentimental Showboaty thing I was sort of expecting. It's so much better for being dark and disturbing.

If you possibly can go, do. Beautiful, beautiful voices and the orchestra is so smooth. It's in Sydney only for a few more days, and then continues its Australian tour. Dates for the tour are here.

Belatedly jumping on a White bandwagon

The lovely and talented Laura, over at Sarsaparilla, took a flensing scalpel to those silly sausages and their Patrick White stunt over at The Australian.

She has challenged readers to show them what's what by reading and enjoying a Patrick White novel during September. The response has been gratifying, and there is now a blog devoted to the virtual White reading group.

Anyone is welcome to join in, overseas readers too, and I'm looking forward to it because White is one of the NotedAustralianWriters with whom I've yet to become acquainted.

Landmark

In a few weeks' time, Voyager 1 will be 100 AU from the Sun. (An AU, or Astronomical Unit, is the distance from Earth to the Sun).

Voyager was launched nearly 29 years ago. Voyager 1 has flown by Jupiter and Saturn, while Voyager 2 has flown by Neptune and Uranus as well.

Both Voyagers are still transmitting back to Earth, sending data about their outer space environment back to NASA/JPL for analysis.






According to NASA/JPL:
Termination Shock

Voyager 1 crossed the termination shock and entered the heliosheath in December 2004, at 94 AU. It is expected that Voyager 1 will reach the heliopause in about 2015.

Voyager 2 could cross the termination shock between 2008 and 2010 and reach the heliopause about 10 years later.


The above diagram shows the position of Voyager 1 and 2 relative to our Sun at the centre of the heliosphere, showing the effect of the solar wind and its interaction with the interstellar medium at the boundary of the heliopause.

This delicate little machine is our farthest ambassador to outer space. This stuff sends tingles down my spine - a few friends were discussing how hard now it seems to remember seeing humans walk on the moon (our teachers at school just plonked us down in front of the TV to see the broadcasts), we're planning for humans to walk on Mars within a few decades, and yes, we very nearly have sent a machine from Earth into true interstellar space.

If we don't blow ourselves to pieces in the meantime, one day we will voyage to the stars.

Tip o'the hat to TC.

2006-07-22

Weekend flashback: 70s scifi boots

This is a shot from the 1974 John Boorman directed film Zardoz, which is apparently an achievement in the annals of bad cinema surpassed only by such dys-masterpieces as Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and the Ed Wood ouvre.

I have to admit, dressing the Connery in an orange nappy and fake ponytail seems likely to doom the film irredeemably - what were they thinking?

Rather like the boots though.

2006-07-21

Go there

Jill at Feministe on anti-abortion extremism and disingenuous rhetoric. Long but compelling.

Barista looks at the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon situation and the Australian reaction.

Echidne of the Snakes examines the partisan demonisation of secularism in the USA.

Blogger on the Cast-Iron Balcony responds to criticism of the Left from fellow-leftie Flute.

Paul at Two Peas, No Pod has a piece that's superficially about public transport in Canberra, but is more deeply a global predicament.

Addendum: Pandagon's Amanda wades into some sites for "players" regarding speed seduction techniques based on cynical psych-outs and neurolinguistic programming. Any woman still on the dating scene should read it and some of the sites linked in comments, such as this and this, so you can tell when some pick-up artist is trying the techniques out on you. I'm annoyed to realise that I totally fell for "the familiar approach" one time. No wonder that was an unsatisfying encounter - he was more interested in gaming me than really talking with me.

2006-07-19

We're doing it all ourselves, y'know

I got a bit ranty in a comments thread over at LP today, but managed to epitomise some arguments much better than I often manage to do, so I thought I'd excerpt them over here as well. The blockquotes are from the commentor to whom I'm responding:

"And to the extent that women are victims of "fashion", there is a huge difference between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. In the non-Muslim world the sisters are pretty much doing it to themselves. Most men frankly couldn't give a damn about underweight, stretched-skin dolly birds - so don't blame men for the self inflicted injuries that women inflict on themselves. In the west men have largely relinquished reproductive and economic control over women - all that remains is for the women to take responsibility for their situation."

This was my response:

If most men don't care about underweight dolly-birds, why do so many men continue to buy the porn and raunchmags and movies that star such women? Why aren't men writing to the publishers and saying "give us real curvy women with real tits not plastic ones"? The market seems to be failing rather spectacularly to reflect your assertion that most men don't actually like skinny sexbots with boob jobs.

Of course, what the skinny sexbots do represent that comes with a lot of societal approval is women engaged in unhealthy disciplines involving a great deal of effort, self-control and self-stifling in order to be "fashionable". And the male purchaser approval of all that effort put into self-mutilation, starvation and self-negation appears to outweigh their, according to you, actual physical preferences, doesn't it?

There must be a word to describe an attitude whereby large numbers of men encourage large numbers of women to engage in peculiar practises that men don't actually care about except for the fact that they keep those women more worried about those peculiar practises than they are about other matters. Even though the men aren't thinking too much about the process whereby their approval perpetuates and facilitates the peculiar practises, they notice that the women engaged in the peculiar practises are more malleable, and they definitely like that.

What might that word be?

He came back with:

Interesting use of the word "encourage" Tigtog. Not "require, "mandate" or "force"? Why would that be? Because as I said above, the sisters are doing it to themselves - and the few men that are encouraging them are probably clothes designers.

I would submit that even "encourage" is too strong a word, and stand by my view that men prefer a well built 12-14 to an anorexic 8-10. Last time I looked at a porn magazine, the women were generally well-built young things - certainly not the victims of starvation diets etc.

There must be a word for an attitude where women self abuse and mutilate, and blame men for the behaviour. What would that word be I wonder?

After a bit of snark about how I just bet he's one of those lantern-jawed chaps who are too strongwilled to be influenced by enormous advertising expenditure, here I go again:

Is not society's traditional view of gender roles one of forceful men and malleable women? Haven't men who married non-malleable women faced the opprobrium of their own gender as being hen-pecked, be-shrewed, proven less than real men? Aren't openly non-malleable women less likely to find a male partner?

Hasn't one of the ways women packaged themselves for the traditional marriage market, in nearly every culture in the world, been a fetishised display of discomfort for the purpose of proving general malleability? Even in "advanced" countries the vestiges of this traditional gender divide are obvious simply by contrasting male and female clothing conventions.

I'll believe misogyny has disappeared when fetishised female discomfort is not bestselling high and street fashion. I'll believe it's disappeared when corporate male bosses don't insist that their female employees wear makeup, hosiery and high heels in their workplace dress standards: when being just clean/neat/tidy (like the male employees) is not considered "unfeminine".

I'll believe misogyny is all women's fault when I no longer hear the same men who make the most merciless mock of women as slaves to fashion also make the most spiteful remarks about women who gain weight, all the while homosocially boasting to each other over the fellatio skills of their trophy girlfriends.

In a society where most people in both genders are gatekeeping the forceful:malleable gender divide as the pair-bonding norm, and discomfort fetishing is the major marker of malleability, it's not fair to say that women are only doing it to themselves. Male expectations are at fault, and in a society where men still earn/own more, that tips the balance further. It should be noted that lots of men suffer needlessly from the forceful:malleable role demands as well.

(Usual caveats about generalisations of gender roles/expectations not applying to all individuals of the most closely associated sex apply)

I brought it over here because I hope to get some more thoughtful responses than I'm likely to get from the commentor in question. Fire away.

2006-07-18

zuzu gave me a present

A mondegreened earworm. From the 70s.

Gee, ta ever so.

All right. Sydney physio vs NYC lawyer earworm deathmatch. It may not come close to the overwhelming retrokitsch of the '06 YouTube Wars, but if you don't want to go through the next days suffering the most tenacious pop songs known to mankind, do not scroll down.

Are
*
*
You
*
*
Sure
*
*
You
*
*
Want
*
*
To
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Do
*
*
This?

Your choice: my shot across zuzu's bows is "Save your Kisses for Me" by the Brotherhood of Man.

Suffer, Ms Fanilow.

Especially when I show you who BM was imitating in 2004 while singing "Copacabana".


Yes, prior to the last MJ court case, here's Mr Barry doin' the crotch-grab.

Heh.

Don't say feminists never want men to have fun

Amanda at Pandagon, in a comments thread about sex-positivity, strawfeminists and anti-feminists, casually mentioned that some men can be multi-orgasmic, just like many women can train themselves to be.

How? With pelvic floor exercises (aka Kegel exercises).

As a physio, I'd always known that Kegel exercises were not only excellent for certain incontinence problems for both men and women, but also for enhancing sexual pleasure for women. I'd vaguely heard that men also benefited in gaining more control and intensity for their orgasms, but I'd never known that some men can be multiply orgasmic (not most, I'm afraid, however the duration of orgasm can be prolonged and the refractory period lessened through these exercises for anyone willing to stick with them for a month to gain the daily habit).

So, here's the how-to. Have fun, fellas!

The togmob goes to the cinema: "Click"

Yesterday, for the last day of hols before going back to Term 3 of school, mr tog and I took the kids to see Click (the togster particularly had been very taken by the premise when he saw the trailer as we awaited Johnny Deppness the other week). I wasn't expecting greatness, but as I have noticed Adam Sandler becoming much more slick and less annoying in recent years I was prepared to be greatly amused. And indeed I was.
The story is a variation on the old genie-grants-three-wishes tale, and you know what always happens in those, don't you? (Not a spoiler, the trailer makes this explicit)
Yep, the grantee makes wishes without thinking through the consequences, and the consequences come back and bite him (always a him) in the arse. So, we knew this going in, and the whole point of the movie was to enjoy the one-liners and the sight gags (I will never view an oversized stuffed toy duck the same way ever again).

The casting of the support roles is a dream-list of veteran American comedians, including David Hasselhoff and Christopher Walken vying for plasticised ham-of-the-film title, plus the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale looking, well, gorgeous. The cute kids are not impossibly nauseating, which is a pleasant innovation.
The physical comedy was very well done, there were amusing ripostes, there was a surprising anti-consumerist-and-keeping-up-with-the-Jones' subtext and Sandler himself was largely not annoying, in fact, mostly appealing. Sadly, there's only one thing keeping this film from being a really big success with the marketer's favourite young male demographic, and that one thing will also keep it from becoming a true cult classic, IMO.
They just couldn't stop themselves. When the moment of awful realisation comes, where Sandler's character realises the wishes granted have indeed bit him in the arse as we always knew they would, the producers/director just had to lay the trademark overdone Hollywood-maudlin on with a trowel.

Unlike the realisation moments in the now-classic Something About Mary, they didn't undercut the maudlin with enough black humour (Sandler's belly-flapping, which is a fine farcical moment in his realisation, is just farce, not nearly black enough). If they couldn't manage truly black humour, which admittedly is an unevenly distributed talent, a better grade of self-deprecation would have done. Memo to Hollywood: the audience can understand a man's bitter regret without having the heartstrings slammed by a sledgehammer.
Why couldn't they get a British screenwriter in to take over those parts? Richard Curtis could have done self-deprecating standing on his head, Ben Elton wouldn't have had much more trouble coming up with a bit of bizarre black humour, and Ricky Gervais might take a bit longer to produce but the black humour would be perfect in every excruciating detail. John Cleese is right there most of the year and could still teach them all a thing or two about balancing silly walks with a cutting edge. I'm sure that there also exist actual American screenwriters who can emulate a Princess Bride a la William Goldman (like, maybe, William Goldman?).
So who ordered up this tripe and, having read it, didn't order a rewrite? You ruined what might have been a truly classic screwball comedy.
Hollywood-maudlin: Just Say No.

ADDENDUM: I didn't like the casual paternal double-standard about raising sons vs daughters, either. Could have done a better job playing with that trope too, Hollywood-chauvinists.

2006-07-13

Raising boys without fathers

A piece provocatively titled "Do boys need fathers? This woman says no" was published in The Observer over the weekend, a profile of the work of American psychologist Peggy Drexler on fatherless families. Drexler has engaged in a longitudinal study of about 60 fatherless families over the last 10 years, and she intends to follow the boys into adolescence and adulthood.

Some excerpts:

There's a common assumption that the one thing more difficult than being a single mum is being the son of one. [...] The prevailing wisdom is that a boy must be raised with a man in the house; otherwise he is likely to fail his exams, drop out of school, career off the rails."


Drexler found that many fatherless families have mothers who make more of an effort than their partnered peers to find a range of male role models to be part of their sons' (and daughters') lives - grandfathers, uncles, community group leaders, sports coaches etc. When research shows that many fathers only interact with their children directly for minutes per day, having the wider range of adult males as part of their lives actually gives fatherless boys a broader range of masculinity models to emulate.

'Men are very important to boys: boys need relationships with men to understand how to sustain relationships in the world,' she explains. 'But it does not have to be the one man in the mother's bedroom.'

2006-07-10

I nearly ran over a pedestrian today

Do you think a judge would be sympathetic to my explanation that I was trying to work out whether the hunkaspunk talking on his cellphone while standing at the lights was indeed Hugh Jackman? We weren't too far from the big theatre in Haymarket, after all.

V. embarassing and shamemaking. The pedestrian was (quite rightly) very upset and very voluble, and he didn't register on the gaydar one teenytiny bit, so I didn't try out the explanation on him. I didn't think mentioning the other car that confused me by running the red light would prick his sympathy either, so I just listened and nodded with a very apologetic and very red face.

Still, what very long legs that hunky young man did have. Hugh, if it was you, those jeans are definite winners.

2006-07-07

New Zealand channels Dame Edith Evans

Handbags? Handbags!?!

Some Kiwis (I blow my nose at you) think that the traditional (your father smelt of elderberries) pre-Bedisloe Cup match taunting (we've already got one) has maybe gone a bit far this year, as Channel 7's ad for the match against the Wallabies tomorrow shows the famous All-Blacks haka being performed by the team with digitally added handbags on their shoulders.

Why handbags? Well, a short while ago, in a bar a short skip across the ditch, Tana Umaga hit Hurricanes and All-Blacks teammate Chris Masoe with one (to break up a barfight with another man), and it's not the sort of image one forgets in a hurry.

The woman bystander whose bag was used later auctioned it off and received $NZ22,750 for the bag and her cellphone inside it which broke on Masoe's head, reducing him to tears.

Despite some objections from the team's assistant manager about disrespect to Maori culture (which is going very strong, thankyou, because they're strong determined buggers who are not going to let it die), I imagine the All-Blacks themselves are pretty sanguine (building up to normal match-level sanguinary) about the sledging. They must have known that such a juicy incident was going to get used for the Bledisloe, where both countries always give it all they've got on and off the field.

The taunting always makes for a cracker of a match. Bring it on, big fellas.

Here's another NZ story on the promo, with a link to video of the ad.

2006-07-05

Kim Jong Il has many screws loose

and his brainwashed subjects would undoubtedly be better off in the long term if his regime were overthrown.

But I nonetheless want to applaud him giving the one-fingered salute to Washington with today's missile test launches. I wish I didn't feel that way, that I could be wholeheartedly behind any hegemonic power that was against the current North Korean regime, but I can't find it within me to be behind the Bush administration on this.

The current US administration's foreign policy has been so hamfisted since the invasion of Iraq that of course any country named as part of the "axis of evil" would have been utterly stupid to have not armed themselves to the teeth with exactly the WMDs - biological and nuclear - of which the West has shown such fear. North Korea is not stupid.

Tom Lehrer's song "Who's next?" now comes to mind.

Bush, you blew it. Nuclear weapon proliferation was winding down after the cold war, missiles and launch systems were obsolescing, the Doomsday Clock was wound back. It wasn't 9/11 that changed everything, GWB, it was your response in Iraq that wound it all back up again.

Thank you very much, Mr President. What a shame they haven't got that moon colony going yet - you're going to stay down here with the rest of us and enjoy the gentle radioactive contamination glow. Congratulations.

2006-07-04

The "Joke" of Sexual Harassment

Everybody's talking about the Big Brother incident that led to Jon and Ash getting evicted for "breaking Big Brother's Rules" - where she was held down by Jon while Ash rubbed his penis in her face. Initial claims of a clear case of sexual assault are probably overstated (though could be pressed if Camilla wished), however sexual harassment seems inarguable.

From what I've been reading, it is difficult to clearly discern from the footage just how much of the beginning of this degrading sex-play was consensual, and Camilla (who didn't ask for any action to be taken against the men) later claimed that it was just a joke that had gone too far and that Jon stopped holding her down when she clearly said no, so that while what they did wasn't OK it wasn't too big a deal.

Right. Having a man who's been contemptuous of you for weeks rub his penis in your face as a "joke" is no big deal. Not humiliating, not degrading, not a betrayal of trust between housemates, not anything to get upset about at all.

There's a distressing amount of responses in this comments thread along the lines of (paraphrasing) "it was all good fun" and "she didn't mind - she said so" and even "it wasn't sexual - all the housemates knew that Jon and Ash didn't fancy Camilla" (love that one), as well as the old standby of "she asked for it" by talking about sex openly.

And all of it's predicated on the presumption that the sexual harassment of women for the amusement of men is not a problem that we ought to worry our objectified little heads about. Hey, it's just a joke. Don't be a wowser. Loosen up. Ya gotta have a sense of humour, "girls". Oh, and while you're at it, show us your tits, we haven't had a good laugh for a while.

That's the problem attitude that this incident should be highlighting, not the political grandstanding over whether BB as a whole is too "tacky" to be on TV because young people in it are encouraged by the situation to be hypersexualised with each other.

Some of the best commentaries I've read have been from dogpossum, Mel, Kate, Mark and, most succinctly, Pavlov's Cat.

This comment from dogpossum to her own post (linked above) sums it up:
What is with our culture, that we have done such a thorough job of convincing women and girls that they are responsible for men's sexual (mis)behaviour, particularly when it is the woman who is harassed?
It infuriates me that _I_, as a politically motivated viewer - a pretty hardcore feminist - can still fall into this nasty habit of blaming myself/herself/her for the things that men do! Or at the very least, for colluding with her harassment - with my own harassment. Because, in accepting what happened to Camilla as 'just a joke' I am accepting that sort of crap as harmless. When - as every woman of us knows - it's _not_ inconsquential to feel afraid or threatened or bullied or guilty or dirty or distressed when men sexually harass us! _Particularly_ when it's intended as a joke!!

Especially when the whole point of the "joke" is to humiliate the woman so the guys can feel a stronger bond of friendship. Homosocial much?

2006-07-02

But a doctor wrote it! It must be true!

Ever heard of "Disenfranchised Father Syndrome"? No? How about "Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome"? Me neither, but to a lot of men, particularly in the USA, the conditions are believed to be real, including one I had heard of - Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Kevin T. Keith at Sufficient Scruples examines how fathers' rights organisations attract pseudoscientists making up mental illnesses that their harpy ex-wives must be suffering from that both explain why they're being difficult about visiting rights and why the courts should just take those kids away from the bitches:

Kevin describes it as:
"the right wing's penchant for dressing up their particular aversions in pseudo-medical language and imputing some sort of bogus pathology to people who have simply refused to behave as they were told."

Such pathologising has always been a pernicious problem for women with minds of their own though. Just think of the origins of the word hysteria. As Kevin notes at the end of his article:
"After all this, all that remains to be said is to note how pervasive the medicalization (specifically, the psychological pathologizing) of women's behavior is, predictably, in ways systematically tending to establish them to be unfit to live their own lives and raise their own children."

So, some women simply refuse to do what their ex-husbands want them to do in relation to child custody and access. That does not, however, make them mentally ill for jerking their exes around. It does not even necessarily make them arseholes out to "get" their exes. They may in fact have perfectly logical reasons to restrict access, no matter how much the ex-husband doesn't want to acknowledge that.

Do some women use their children as tokens in a punishment game with their ex-husbands? Yes, they do, and they are unethical to do so, even if their ex treated them appallingly during their marriage and the temptation to deliver retribution in the only way they can is overwhelming. It is still wrong to use the children in that way, and the older the children grow the more likely they are to resent it, so it's also counterproductive.

However, that doesn't, on its own, make them a bad custodial parent: just a difficult co-parent. Yes, that makes it hard for the non-custodial fathers, in many cases much harder than it should be. Acknowledge that she hates you and won't make life easy, resent it some, but deal. It's a cop out to say she's nuts, guys.

2006-07-01

They did what?

Thus far my blog has been a BB free zone, but WTF? John and Ashley were evicted for doing what?
These blokes should just do the right thing and donate all organs but their brains to medical science immediately (because obviously their brains aren't worth having).

Hat-tip: Lara

* * * * *

Normally I have little time for Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper, but I loved their front page today.


After all the reporting on the interview Mr "I'm a man of pride" and "I don't talk to anything over 60 kilos" gave, we all want to hate the creep.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean he's guilty. We know someone's guilty of giving Diane Brimble the drug that resulted in her death, and who wouldn't rather it be this arsehole than anybody else? Doesn't make it so, though.

The Art of Parody, Sublime

On my blog the women come and bitch
Reading Ivan Denisovitch.

And indeed there will be time
To download videos of laissez faire,
Time to pull rants from my derriere,
With a cowlick in the middle of my hair -
[They will say: "How his schtick is growing thin!"]
In The Love Song of J. Edgar Goldstein, an homage to one of my favouritest poems ever, Chris Clarke skewers Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom latest ill-humoured rant.

How absolutely de-fucking-lightful.

New twists on old memes

OK, Pavlov's Cat infected Ampersand Duck, and it's contagious.

Everyone remembers the old porn name game, right?
YOUR PORN NAME
(First Pet's Name + Name of Street First Lived On)

My porn name is Rusty Bruce, which, as I have often noted, sounds alarmingly butch.

Here are the rest:
YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME
(grandfather/grandmother on your father's side, your favorite sweet/lolly):

Nell Praline

YOUR FLY GIRL/GUY NAME
(first initial of first name followed by "izzle", first two or three letters of your last name followed by "dizzle"):

Vizzle Mardizzle
(Last name sounded just too silly, so I used my middle name)

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME
(favorite color, favorite animal):

Teal Tiger

YOUR STAR WARS NAME
(first 3 letters of your name- last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name repeated twice):

Vivams Molmol

SUPERHERO NAME
("The", your favorite color, the automobile you drive):

The Teal 626 (doesn't quite have that ring, does it?)

The Teal Spyder (sold it ages ago, but did drive one for a while)

Superhero weapon of choice?
I'll just have to go with the Dastardly Dagger of Doom.

But what would they sing?

Grooms for life: Denise Noe has a plan to reduce abortions by recruiting godly single men to marry knocked-up whores who will thereupon resile from their baby-murd'rin' ways and fawn upon the godbothering grooms in gratitude thereafter 'til death do them part.
the screaming demonstrators outside abortion clinics would soon be replaced by swains in bow ties, holding rings and serenading the pregnant women.
As usual, the pro-life rhetoric totally ignores the probability that many of the women seeking abortions are already married. Also, there are other religious conservatives arguing that loveless marriages are suss too.

Hat-tip to Feministe's Jill. Punkassblog's Kyso and punkass marc have more.