You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2008.

It’ll cheer you up after that stupid advert, it’s just so sensible =]

Hat tip to The F-Word, who in turn have tipped the hat to Punk Planning

I have neglected you. It was my exams and then my birthday, then my party and, immediatly after, a 5day trip to Paris, which I returned from on Friday, only to return to work on Sat and Sun! So I’ve had no time for a breather until now… I hope to return in even more detail now that I have the Summer (although even this is proving rather less free and rather more busy than anticipated), and to keep you going I give you this to mull over:

Yeah, I know. Hideous, huh?

How can people do this?

In Suffolk on the 14th, a woman was forced into a car and raped. The rapist was in his 60s and had asked for help with heavy bags…

I just can’t understand it. I don’t see why someone can think that that is an ok thing to do, I cannot fathom how someone can justify raping someone. As with the man who raped and tortured the student in Columbia, there is a thought process that these men go through that I cannot begin to comprehend.

I suppose it’s the same with all criminals – it would be strange if you could understand them, understand the reasoning behind their actions. You would have something in common with them. But this isn’t like stealing a loaf of bread to feed your family, this isn’t like bank fraud. This is such a serious, terrible crime, this is a crime against womankind and yet still, so many people, all over the world, can find it in themselves to rape. Can justify it to themselves, can live with themselves having done it. Would do it if they could get away with it (as seen in Malamuth and Check’s research in a uni in the US, where 1/3 of the all male participants said that they would rape if they could get away with it).

Part of me seems to think that if we could understand, maybe we could stop these men. Prevent them from terrorising women, from torturing and raping women.

Ultimately though, I suppose, it comes down to the education of men (because, strangely, it shouldn’t be the case that women have the responsibility of defending themselves, it should be the rapists that are being stopped) and the efficiency of the enforcement of law…

Either way, it’s highly depressing that this is still such a frequent occurrence, not only in our country but all over the world. It’s disgraceful that people think that it’s an ok thing to do, and that women so often get the blame. It’s disgraceful that people think you are making up statistics if you tell them what they don’t want to hear, that a woman can be penalised for what she was wearing or for her relationship history or indeed just for being a woman, it’s disgraceful that there isn’t a bigger effort to prevent this from occurring. It’s disgraceful the amount of men who get away with it, and the amount of women who have to live with the memory of such a horrific experience.

Really, how can we ever be proud of a country where there is so much disgrace?

Link

I think it’s important for us to know that there are such people in the world, and that in raising awareness of them hopefully it will also increase attempts to stop them. As Holly says over at Menstrual Poetry,

More people need to speak up about this type of violence because it happens and it isn’t always making headlines.

The trial of Robert A. Williams began on June 5th, and is still going – Columbia Spectator has live updates.

I expect many of you will have seen it, but for those who haven’t…enjoy. I know for us lot here in the UK we can’t vote in America even if we wanted to, but the message is important where ever you are, so watch!

  • Hat tip to Kenneth Quinnell via Shakesville

  • Right, now back to revision.

    I just died a little inside. Not in the Shakespearian way, as the HLA will be pleased to know – oh to see their faces if their site had given me an orgasm…

    Moving on to the point, I’d like to introduce you to the Human Life Alliance. Not only does it advocate abstinence until marriage (with the great ‘duct tape experiment’ on page 16 – check it out if you’ve got a strong stomach, it always makes me a little sick to read such idiotic claims) but it also makes the usual anti-choice lies about abortion and claims to answer the ‘rhetoric’ of pro-choicers -RE rape:

    It is a despicable injustice when a woman is violated and raped. If a crime of this nature occurs and a child is conceived, HLA believes strongly in bringing the criminal to justice, however, we stand firmly in defense of the woman and the innocent new individual now existing – for neither have committed a crime.

    choice:

    What then is abortion? Does it fall in the category of choices that we ought to condemn or condone? First, it is killing. Abortion renders something that was demonstrably alive, demonstrably dead. Second, what is killed is human. The fetus that grows in a mother’s womb is not a duck. The female reproductive system is designed for the precise purpose of carrying this living being. Therefore, abortion is the killing of a human being. People cannot hide behind the argument of saying they are personally opposed to abortion but wouldn’t want to restrict someone else’s “right.” Try that argument in the following situations: “I’m personally opposed to slavery…”; “I’m personally opposed to gassing Jews…”. Furthermore, it should be quite obvious that even though people will continue to do wrong things, the solution is not to redefine right and wrong or to enable people to more easily carry out wrong things. The government does not legalize theft just because lots of people do it (and get injured doing it) and will continue to do it despite what the law says.

    Young women getting abortions:

    The women who have the most abortions are between ages 20-24. This is why HLA concentrates so much energy on reaching college students with the truth about the harmful effects of abortion and the humanity of the unborn child. HLA hopes to reach these students with the truth before they choose to suffer the pain of an abortion and the physical and psychological risks that follow.

    There is a reason that I’m showing you this. A good friend of mine just sent me the link to their latest form of propaganda – a magazine for young women and men all about how great abstinence is, how terrible abortion is, how boys just don’t listen to girls, how girls are all crazy-emotional and marriage-obsessed, and all the other handy tips and facts that your newly-brainwashed ‘youths’ need to know. Hell, they even define love in one easy sentence!

    I think the idea of such magazines on campus or in youth groups or schools is despicable. Spreading anti-choice lies is not acceptable. Yet here they are, a newly formed society, already spreading the word.

    They have a response, of course.

    9. How dare you put this on my campus and upset all these girls like this. This is too controversial to have on a college campus. Don’t you people have any respect for women!

    HLA has great respect for women. It is because of our great respect for all human life that we are determined to educate people on the issue of abortion. Abortion harms women. Talking about abortion can be very upsetting for people, but it would be even more devastating to them if they had an abortion.

    Of course. They don’t know how it will affect them, they don’t understand. Even if they wanted an abortion, that’s just because they’re ignorant. Poor youngsters who want to make their own decisions, we must help them realise that they are wrong in desiring autonomy. Psssh, women.

    that this can affect so many women, yet most of the people replying to this (myself included) had either never heard of vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis before, or didn’t really know anything much about it.

    Read this article, educate yourself. It’s written by a sufferer of the illness who has bravely recounted her experience – it’s worth a read.

    …I tend to find the responses fascinating too.

    I respect Jessica Valenti and everyone at Feministing for putting up with the crap they get – even the crap they get for calling people out on their crap.

    This weeks was about online misogyny. Misogyny on YouTube, no less. Here it is:

    She words, so eloquently, what so many of us have been thinking.

    Yet in come the responses. Inevitable, I suppose. I won’t put them all here (most are pretty tricky to understand anyway, as they’re uploaded directly), but here’s my favourite:

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. But I did laugh, quite a lot. Does he believe what he’s saying? You know, I think he might. Scary thought, huh?

    But, as Jessica says, such misogynists do the work for her – he reveals himself as a bumbling idiot against her eloquent, intelligent video, then says that men are more intelligent than women!

    And on that note – adieu.

    I won’t be blogging much for a while, as have a fair few exams which are going to decide the next three years of my life – going to focus on them for a while.

    But when I return, I shall get down to informing you about the Bluestockings women who I learnt about in the exhibition I mentioned a month or so ago – I’ll start you off with Elizabeth Montagu now.

    As a young woman, Elizabeth became a friend of Lady Margaret Harley, who had a strong influence over her early desire to learn. They corresponded weekly when apart and were inseparable when together. She spent time with Lady Harley in London and met many of the celebrated figures of the 1730s, including the poet Edward Young and the religious thinker Gilbert West. In Lady Harley’s household, men and women spoke as equals and engaged in witty, learned banter. (source)

    When she was older, and married, Elizabeth was central to the Bluestockings movement of the 1750s (and onwards…), opening up her house (legally her husband’s, Charles Montagu’s) for “breakfast parties and evening conversations”. As one of the wealthiest women of her time, she devoted her time and money to encouraging authors, poets, painters, etc. Although she didn’t write much herself (only An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear, from a quick search – she may have written more but this was the only work she published, in praise of Shakespeare), her enthusiasm helped form and maintain the Bluestockings movement.

    Her gatherings did not consist solely of women, but encouraged a meeting of minds, with the likes of Samuel Johnson alongside Elizabeth Carter…

    For Montagu, and the other women who made up the Bluestockings Movement, this was their chance to learn and converse equally in a time when only men were seen fit to educate. As the ‘education’ of women stretched only to needlework and cooking, the nature of the Bluestockings’ meetings becomes even more extraordinary – these were women who fought to learn, and to be heard, if not by society then at least by each other. Montagu gave herself and these women a platform, and showed that women could be educated and remain in good health, and as rational beings (contrary to common belief that educating a woman could give her cancer, or would make her a nymphomaniac).

    It has been claimed that the Bluestockings group “preserved and advanced feminism”, addressing social issues for women as well as furthering their own educations.

    Elizabeth continued to encourage the movement until her death, using the money from her husband’s death to build two new houses in which she continued to hold meetings. She died in Montagu House in London on August 25, 1800.

    Flickr Photos