Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#NotMe[n]Too: men's invasion of women posting #MeToo

The #MeToo campaign initiated to show the true extent to which women are being subjected to sexual harassment and assault is really catching fire on social media.  Any #WLC care to share your thoughts about the effectiveness of this type of activity?  Are you participating why or why not? #OpeningConversations #OpenDialogue
I believe us. Women can be trusted. #MeToo #IBelieveYou #WomenCanBeTrusted
image is from here: http://www.theimgrum.com/p/metoo

For anyone who doesn't know the history of the #MeToo campaign to challenge and put an men's sexual harassment against women and the climate which encourages it, you may find the story here:

"I have heard in the last several years a great deal 
about the suffering of men over sexism. 
Of course, I have heard a great deal 
about the suffering of men all my life. 
Needless to say, I have read Hamlet. 
I have read King Lear. 
I am an educated woman. 
I know that men suffer. 
This is a new wrinkle. 
Implicit in the idea that this is a different kind of suffering is the claim, I think, that in part you are actually suffering because of something that you know happens to someone else. 
That would indeed be new."

Andrea Dworkin,
"I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape" 
(1983, Letters From a War Zone)

Across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook this week, I've seen the courageous effort by women to come out to other women, and men, as yet another women who has experienced predation via sexual harassment by men, often men in positions of power above and beyond standard, run-of-the-mill male supremacist power. Whether in the workplace or home front, school or street, or anywhere else, sexual harassment of women is something men are learning is profoundly widespread and devastating. The women I know find the sharing of the hashtag as a public notice that, yes, me [another woman] too--it happened to her also, it happened again, here, to her, and to her, and her and her and her. No surprise. At all. Have not most women been harassed sexually at least once, if not dozens of times?

I heard today a story of a 14 year-old girl harassed by a boy in her grade at school. I will spare you the details, but what I also noticed was how 'normal' the whole thing was for her, like walking or talking. Oh, yeah, and by the way, he ..." Scary and disgusting. I see this happening as it has ages due to capitalist colonialist patriarchal norms and entitlements and privilege bestowed upon men. In part due to pornography--one of the most normalized forms of misogyny being passed off as what women and girls want. And in part due to men's refusal to see the world from women's point of view, however varied that is. And in part because it serves men well, on the collective political front, to keep quiet about the whole thing: what men do to women that is invasive and violating.

So what is deeply troubling to me is the fact that men are joining in posting or tweeting #me too. This infuriates me and I've already gotten into some heated arguments with guys about this--about how fucked up it is that men are turning this into a "Men's Lives Matter" kind of thing. Yeah, we get it. When did we not get that? As Andrea so clearly states: we know you suffer, men.

You inflict that suffering on women all the time.

I told one guy, #me too, when posted by a man, means only one thing: #men too. And at a groundbreaking--hopefully groundbreaking--time when women are coming out about this trauma, this utterly ubiquitous trauma, men want their/our pain to be front and center. There are so many things wrong with this but I'll identify two for now.

1. We know what the effect off this is: Men expect to be congratulated and empathised with far more energy than will women. Men expect to be told how brave they/we are and are eager to hear: "thank you for joining women, for standing with women" in the struggle for visibility about this form of predation. But honestly, that's not what I see men coming out about. I see men speaking of being sexually abused in other ways, thereby taking the focus off the issue at hand in yet another way. This week the story on the news is about a Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein*, a producer with extraordinary power within one industry acting like all the other men with structural power in the industry. He got called out for his blatantly criminal acts by enough women to get the public to believe he really did all these vile things.  See two links below for more. We all have learned what Harvey Weinstein did to them, against them, terrorising and/or seeking their further subordination to him, the prick. We learned it is still going on, rampantly and without stop. I hope this is more than a pause, but we know these fuckheads are doing it as I type this and later today and tomorrow ad nauseam. (*And before him, in 2017, Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly of FUX Women Over NEWS. And most notably and visibly, our new President, Donald "the predator/terrorist" Trump.
2. What is amazing to me is that this becomes a moment, a week, perhaps a much longer period of time, in which women are publicly supporting other women as they continue to come out with these horror stories, these utterly predictable and persistent horror stories. So men getting in on the act means they/we are leeching away from women that potential bonding and camaraderie through the various levels of pain, disgust, and/or triggering when revealing something so shameful--with all the shame belonging to the men.

 3. What women tell me is that a too common dynamic in men's misogyistic manipulation is to plead to women about how much pain THEY'RE in, while abusing those same and other women all the while. It becomes part of an abusive cycle that is intended to keep women's sympathies and guilt about realizing the guy is a predator flowing. It is designed to insist he is real, a full human being while making her less than, a kind of human who ought not take care of herself, against the interests of men, at all times.

I am saying NO. No men, DO NOT DO THIS. Do not make this about you too, again, as you/we always do. Do not egocentrically detract from the power of what is going on by throwing yourself into it as a victim no less! Why not post #IDidItToo on your walls and in your tweets? Now that would be courageous, potentially revolutionary, if you did so and then made sure you and your friends and colleagues and family members and men on the street never did it again.

I will leave the reader with the link to the rest of Dworkin's speech that I think stunningly describes what men SHOULD be doing in the face of such news: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/WarZoneChaptIIIE.html

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Author and Activist Kate Millett (September 14, 1934 – September 6, 2017)

File:Kate millet 1.jpg 
Source of portrait of Kate Millett is from here
which also contains extensive biographical information

I will leave it to one of the feminists I most admire to describe the impact of Kate Millett, who died today. Above, within the caption to the image, is a link to a wiki page on her life and work.

Here is the opening paragraph of an article linked to just below:

The world was sleeping and Kate Millett woke it up. Betty Friedan had written about the problem that had no name. Kate Millett named it, illustrated it, exposed it, analysed it. In 1970 Kate Millett published the book Sexual Politics. The words were new. What was "sexual politics"? The concept was new. Millett meant to "prove that sex is a status category with political implications". She pointed to male dominance in sex, including intercourse. In challenging the status quo, she maintained: "However muted its present appearance may be, sexual domination obtains nevertheless as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power." 


With condolences to her loved ones.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump and Comp (TM), Chistofascism, and Dominant Identity Politics

image is from here
Most but not all of my friends are being terrorised by the values and practices of January 2017 Immigration policies and Cabinet member approval. Public protest is reinvigorated in the U.S. due especially to police violence and murder of unarmed Black and Indigenous citizens. Tragically, whites view Blackness and darker skin as a dangerous weapon. The chess match Trump and Comp is playing is operating in 3D.

Those dimensions are:
Oligarchic and autocratic rule.
Patriarchal Christian rule.
White straight male supremacist rule.

Upon that tripod of tyranny we see playing out before and against us a more naked display of what we have seen over the last many decades, centuries, and millennia. The influence of wealth, the on-going consolidation of power among men, and the dominance of Christofascist colonialism. A weapon in one hand, a NT Bible in another, and the missionary position's physical and spiritual subordination of women preached around the world.

Trump and Comp (TM). has been empowered by electoral success in an election steeped in misogyny, racism, and the cultural dominance of white Christianity and Oligarchy.

What does that mean? It means whether with full intention or primarily by effect, he is working a few steps ahead corporate media's grasp of what is going down. Or, such media is in bed with Trump and Comp, making for a disturbing and messy coalition--rumors of his exploitation of Russian prostitutes by demanding water sports not withstanding.

What I am worried about is Trump and Comp (TM)'s success in tossing out hand grenades of over-the-top violations of the US Constitution while shoving into government institutions their long-term objectives.

Centering the appeal and influence of Mike Pence and Steve Bannon through less protested actions.

As a whole, the tyrannical and genocidal Western world is imperiled far more by Right-wing fascism and WHM supremacy than by Central Asian opposition to the West's warmongering and mass murder. What is also exposed is how 'white', 'heterosexual' and 'man' are identities at least as much as 'Black', 'LGBT', and 'woman'. WHM disdain for "identity politics" pretends that theirs are not the political identities most promoted and protected.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The White Political Spectrum: Far Right to Far Left

If the image doesn't appear above, it may be viewed here.

There is a myth among many along the white political spectrum that there are locations along it that are not white supremacist. Let's see...

--White Nationalists, white separatists, neo-Nazi, Klan members, or proud neofascists. Celebrated outcome: the bolstering of white male supremacy; the sexual and social subordination of women; white male led race warfare; a whites-only nation; genocide. Key concepts: Race is natural. Whites are the most advanced and supreme humans on Earth. Whites culture is seriously threatened and will soon become extinct. Patriarchy is God's plan.

--Right-wing Conservatives (Christian and secular) are against rights and equality for people of color, the weakening of patriarchal rule, meaningful democracy, 'racism' against whites, media diversification, and protect white male supremacist law and order, the maintenance of warfare against Black and Brown people globally, economic exploitation of the system by the wealthy. Maintained outcome: white supremacy, patriarchy, oligarchy, genocide, and ecocide. Key concepts: Reverse racism. Men are under attack. White women and men are in danger from Black people, immigrants, Muslims, and China.

--Libertarian Conservatives focus on government being too big, poor people getting a free ride, and advocate for the protection of private property, wealth inequality, and corporate capitalism. Desired outcome: blaming the victim (support of a bootstraps solution to economic woes); ignoring or decentering the conditions of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people across gender, white women, LGBT people; and the conservation of white, straight, and male supremacy, economic violence, and ecocide. Key concepts: Private property rights must be protected. There is no problem with racism or sexism. Government interventions into rich people's lives is worse than climate change.

--Conservative and Liberal Moderates oppose mass violence when it threatens the status quo, fair trade, the weakening of law and order, and believe white Republicans and Democrats should understand, get along, and work together, footnoting the experiences of people of color, tokenizing LGBT people, and ignoring women of color across sexuality and ethnicity. Planned outcome: the protection of corporate capitalism and warfare against Black and Brown people; poverty; and white, straight, and male supremacy. Key concepts: Reverse racism and sexism. Political correctness. Global warming exists.

--Liberals talk about the problems of bigotry and interpersonal racism, limits on women within the existing systems and institutions, the excesses of corporate capitalism, and the intensifying climate crisis. Usual outcome: the unconscious maintenance colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy. General lack of activist participation in the liberation struggles led by people of color, especially women of color. Key concepts: Optimism without practice. Individualistic solutions. Climate change is a serious problem.

--Progressives talk about the problems of oppression, militarism, white supremacy, misogyny, racist institutions, rape culture, and economic injustice. Probable outcome: modest to radical adjustments to oppressive systems which can accommodate reforms; no plan to eradicate any core humanitarian and environmental atrocities. Modest attention paid to the struggles of people of color but less so to women of color. Key concepts: Privilege, oppression, progress is inevitable and good. Climate change is caused by corporate greed."

--Left-leaning Radicals talk about the problems of white and male privilege, entitlement, advantage, power, and supremacy; the inherent violence of the status quo and capitalism, heterosexism, and gendered and raced violence including masculinist warfare and Western colonialism. Ideal outcome: Collectivist action toward the liberation of oppressed people and transformation of the status quo. Still centering white experience, theories, and history. Hopefully less actively racist, hopefully more conscious of how being white effects all social relations, but in my experience that's not the case. Anti-racist while racist. Key concepts: White and male supremacy. Structural oppression. Allies. Liberation. Ecocide.

--Whites are racist, white supremacist, consciously or not, interpersonally or not. This is determined by ones location on a race hierarchy, not primarily by attitudes and thoughts. Attitudes, thoughts, and actions are shaped by ones structural position.
--Men are sexist, misogynistic, and patriarchal, consciously or not, interpersonally or not. This is determined by ones location on a race hierarchy, not primarily by attitudes and thoughts.
--White straight Christian men rule the West and have no intention of that being different--whether White Nationalists or Radical Liberationists.
--Any whites and men can choose to be anti-racist and anti-sexist but doing so doesn't shift one's location off the top of race and sex hierarchies.
--It is imperative that whites and men work against their own privileges, advantages, entitlements, and structural power, toward the liberation of all people from all systems of oppression and dehumanisation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Original U.S. Viral Fake News Story: The Good White Man's Thanksgiving

image is from here
On this eve of Thanksgiving, I will post a link to the true story, not the Good White Man story, of Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag story.

From this website: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807, an excerpt:

So the Pilgrims didn’t invite the Wampanoags to sit down and eat turkey and drink some beer?
[laughs] Ah, no. Well, let’s put it this way. People did eat together [but not in what is portrayed as “the first Thanksgiving]. It was our homeland and our territory and we walked all through their villages all the time. The differences in how they behaved, how they ate, how they prepared things was a lot for both cultures to work with each other. But in those days, it was sort of like today when you go out on a boat in the open sea and you see another boat and everyone is waving and very friendly—it’s because they’re vulnerable and need to rely on each other if something happens. In those days, the English really needed to rely on us and, yes, they were polite as best they could be, but they regarded us as savages nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Privileged Rapist: Brock Turner

Before some assessment and analysis of this case, I'll begin with this snippet from NBCnews.com:
It was the epitome of white privilege, the narrative went — a student and star swimmer at prestigious Stanford University is arrested on rape-related charges, and after more than 16 months, he's sentenced to only six months.

And the authorities refuse to let the public see his arrest photo.
Until Monday. Here it is:

IMAGE: Brock Turner
This is attributed to the Santa Clara Sheriff's office

Prior to that we got variations on this image:

This is attributed to Stanford University

One set of questions pertains to the assumptions behind the lack of release of the mug shot. Does wearing a blazer and tie mean someone is safe to be around? Does a hoodie and unkempt hair mean someone is more likely to rape? These are typically classist and racist media and cultural inferences. 

If he were poorer and Black, he’d be called ‘a wild animal’ or ‘a vicious thug’ among other white supremacist coded language for ‘normal Black man’.

Thank goodness two Swedish male students intervened on her behalf, witnessing the rape. Thank goodness he was caught doing such vile violence to her. Here is the statement by one of them, Carl-Fredrik Arndt:

Thank goodness he was caught doing such vile violence (vile-lence) to her. Sexual violence has a long raced, classed history in Amerikkka, against women white and Black, Brown, and Indigenous. From the rape of Indigenous women being slaughtered, to the battering and rape of slaves, to the forced sterilisation of Brown poor women.

What the predator can be thankful for is his race, class, and ethnic background. And his status as a male college student at an elite school and a star athlete to boot–in a predominantly white sport at that. And a few rape culture apologists and accomplices: judge, a father, and a friend who not only have been more than willing to ignore the woman behind the dumpster, but also toss her squarely under the bus.

Brock's father, Dan A. Turner, reportedly also a former Stanford student, issued this inhumanely callous statement, completely obliterating the humanity of the assaulted woman:
“His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve...” “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” 
“He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile,” the letter says, noting that the former Olympic hopeful is now a registered sex offender.
No mention of being ashamed at what his son did ‘for 20 minutes’. No acknowledgement it was rape, even though there were witnesses. It morphs into a politically and morally neutral 'action'.

Let's replace "His" and "He" with "Her" and "She" and reread the statement.
Her life will never be the one that she dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. 
She will never be her happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile.
Here is John Pavlovitz's response to Dan Turner:

Judge Persky has acted on behalf of rapists before. Read about that here:

Most importantly, here is the statement from the victim:

As Andrea Dworkin once wrote, "the punishment for getting drunk and going in a frat boy's dorm room should be a hangover, not rape."

Or being outside. Or at home. Or being anywhere when inebriated. Or not inebriated. What patriarchal rape culture does so well is punish women for simply being.