It’s unsurprising that Paris doesn’t get the point of feminism. She doesn’t understand why it exists and she can’t relate to it. She thinks feminism is about her and her “freedom” to do whatever she likes. But maybe feminism isn’t about you, Paris? Maybe it’s not about your freedom to successfully perform femininity and your freedom to enjoy catcalls, just as it isn’t about women’s “freedom” to self-objectify.
Feminism is about addressing systems of power that oppress women, globally. It isn’t about you feeling cute. It’s about the women and girls who are raped and abused and murdered every single day, around the world, because they are female. It’s about the fact that most of us do feel afraid, despite the fact that you “weren’t raised that way.” It’s about the fact that performing femininity, even though some of us may have learned to enjoy parts of it, isn’t a privilege in a patriarchy.
You have the right to speak for yourself, Paris. Everyone does. You have the right to feel however you like about your experiences, too. But you’re right — you don’t represent all women. And you certainly don’t represent feminism. — Of course some women are flattered by catcalls, but there’s a reason for that: A response to Paris Lees
Update, 02/28/2014: It’s worse than we’d imagined, sisters.
1) Objectification doesn’t = feminism, 2) Please stop using words you don’t understand.
“I love women and often admire their eyes, lips and other features of their bodies in a sometimes suggestive way.
But I respect and hold what would be called ‘a feminist view’ too. I want to spread the message of the pertinence of women on this planet. It calls for the equivocation of women in society.” - Pharrell Williams — No, ‘female-appreciation’ is not the same thing as feminism
(via No, ‘female-appreciation’ is not the same thing as feminism)
"Turns out sexual revolutions that happen in a patriarchy are mostly about dicks, alas."
EU Parliament passes resolution in favour of the Nordic model -
EU Parliament passed a resolution today in favour of the Nordic model, which criminalizes the purchase of sex, while decriminalizing prostituted people. The resolution passed by 343 votes to 139, with 105 abstentions.
This is thanks, in large part, to the work of Mary Honeyball, London MEP and Labour spokeswoman for women, who drafted the resolution.
“The yes vote formally establishes the EU’s stance on prostitution and puts pressure on member states to re-evaluate their policies on sex work,” writes Maya Oppenheim in The Guardian.
The Nordic model is not simply legislative, but calls on countries who adopt the model to set up exiting programs in order to support women who want to leave prostitution and help them find affordable housing and other employment. “Better education and reducing the poverty that forces women and children into prostitution, are needed to prevent prostitution,” MEPs add.
This model has been extremely successful in Sweden, where the law was enacted in 1999, after 30 years of research into the reality of prostitution. Prostitution has decreased drastically in Sweden and while one in eight men used to buy sex, that number has now been reduced to one in 13. Norway and Iceland have both adopted the legislation (Finland has a lighter version of it), and France recently passed a bill in Parliament in support of the model (which still needs to pass the Senate).
This resolution shows a clear position on prostitution — one that supports human rights and gender equality and acknowledges that prostitution happens because of marginalization and systems of power — not “free choice.”
We’ve learned from other countries that have experimented with legalization, such as Germany and Holland, that the result is increased trafficking, exploitation, and violence. The illegal industry has thrived under legalization, to the point where many brothels and “windows” in the famous red-light district of Amsterdam have been shut down after having been taken over by organized crime. The myth of a “safe, legal industry” as been shown to be nonexistent, as prostitution is exploitative by nature and promotes power imbalances between men and women.
Not only a gender issue, prostitution is something that impacts marginalized women of colour and poor women in particular, both in first world countries like Canada, as well as globally. Prostitution builds on Canada’s legacy of colonialism, as European men were the first to establish brothels in what is now known as Canada, filling them with Indigenous women. The sex industry, in general, profits from and maintains racist and sexualized stereotypes about women of colour and preys on impoverished women and girls, in particular those who come from abusive homes and are groomed for prostitution since they were young.
Canada, as well as other countries, should take note — there are no excuses for ignoring this abhorrent abuse of the human rights of women and girls.
The third wave launched itself by either deliberately misconstruing the second wave and painting it with very broad strokes or simply not really knowing that much about the big range of what the second wave was and making statements that were factually false, as a result. — http://www.newstatesman.com/2014/02/kicking-against-our-foremothers-does-feminism-have-ageism-problem
"As a friend pointed out to me, the accusations of ‘whorephobia’ and ‘transphobia’ function as analogues of ‘homophobia’. That is, they are claims that someone’s position is entirely motivated by moral disgust, and that therefore, they, and their position, can be categorically dismissed. On the one hand, it is evident that moral disgust towards prostitutes and transgender people is a very real phenomenon, and is ethically and politically unacceptable. On the other, it is not true that ethical discussions about the possible harms of prostitution or gender-critical discussions within feminism are necessarily motivated by moral disgust. There are a number of major issues (sex work, porn, sex/gender to name the most significant) where feminists have good-faith disagreements. But to reduce such disagreements to an issue of ‘phobia’ relies on the conflation of moral disgust and ethical harm. (And to be utterly clear, I am in no way suggesting that a transgender identity is an ethical harm, or questioning people’s right to exist. What I am suggesting is that wanting to ask if the reification of gender represents a harm to some women can be distinguished from moral disgust. Which is to say that it is possible to ask that question in good faith.)"
- Jane Clare Jones — Bad-faith justice: ethics of the call-out
"On the one hand, the call-out justifies itself by posing as an educative intervention performed in good faith. (And, just to be abundantly clear, I have seen examples where it is just that.) On the other, the tendency to misrepresent people, and invoke totalizing slurs – often accompanied by violent invective – suggests that there is, actually, no assumption of good faith on the part of the call-outers.
And, to return to our starting point, this raises a question about the call-out’s purported function. Because why on earth would you bother telling someone they have done something harmful, if you are proceeding from the assumptions that people-like-them don’t care about doing harm?
More than one answer presents itself, but Flavia Dzodan’s observations about performativity are pertinent to several of them. Yes, there are examples of good-faith call-outs which are genuinely intended to challenge or inform, but they are relatively rare. More often than not, the call-out is performed for an audience, and is undertaken for the benefit of the person or persons performing it.
As such, it may serve several functions. It demonstrates your political credentials, and (for many white women) launders your privilege. It raises your profile, and nets you allies and followers. It bestows the sweet sense of having-right on your side, of bravely battling against the massed forces of domination and injustice. And, perhaps above all – it’s a great way of dumping all your aggression, and usefully comes with a political narrative that exculpates you from taking any responsibility for that.”
- Jane Clare Jones — Bad-faith justice: ethics of the call-out
Is there nothing ironic in demanding that women work for free? Lest they be lambasted? Because women’s work remains underpaid or unpaid today, for the record. And it is unacceptable to expect women to produce work for free because they are feminist. We should be advocating for our sisters to be paid for the work they do. Not tearing them apart for scraping by in what is an extremely difficult, unstable, and unlucrative industry. — My feminism will reject misogynistic screeds, or it will be bullshit
My feminism will reject misogynistic screeds, or it will be bullshit -
A number of feminist writers, myself included, were attacked and defamed online (yet again) in an abhorrently hateful and misogynist diatribe today. Many women spoke out, naming the vitriolic words as plain sexist abuse, ad hominem attacks, professional jealousy, and manipulation.
We were called “media whores” and “turds” who had no ethics, humanity, or compassion (an ironic accusation when stated within a completely unethical post maligning female writers and journalists, dehumanizing them, and calling them a bunch of hateful, sexist names). We were accused of selling out and of the crime of *gasp* being paid for some our work.
The author writes:
"I hate you all Glosswitches, booblediboops [sic], Laurie Pennys, Louise Penningtons, Julie Bindels, Megan Murphys [sic], Michelle Goldbergs and your ilk. The B Classes of white feminism fighting tooth and nail for a place at the table. At our expense. With your writing commissions, the coins tossed in your direction by the men who own the media you so desperately want to be part of."
Not all of the women she lists are paid writers or journalists, for starters, but she the author seems to have a completely deluded understanding of how much money one makes doing freelance writing (hint: not very much!). Beyond that, it is pretty appalling to attack women for being paid for their work. Is that not the very opposite of what we are fighting for?
That journalists and writers (and, more generally, everyone) be paid for their work??
When Sarah Kendzior, who has written at length about the unethical practice of hiring unpaid interns, supports an abhorrently misogynist piece that attacks women for daring to have and publish opinions, ideas, and arguments publicly, and to (sometimes) be (minimally) compensated for the work they do, it is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to call a vicious, unfounded, hateful, slanderous attack, “a powerful critique.” It is unacceptable for progressive and/or feminist writers to encourage and celebrate this kind of behaviour. No excuses.
Does getting paid to write only count as “selling out” or “whoring” if the writer says things we don’t agree with? Or is it just if the writers are women? What are the rules, here?
To be clear (though it shouldn’t have to be said), this is not about “righteous anger” nor is it about people “speaking out” nor is it about “critique.” There is NO critique here. There are no politics here. These are sexist, unethical, manipulative attacks and I am sick to death of fellow progressives or feminists defending them. This is indefensible.
When, all in one breath, one states their deep hatred towards women, calling them “pieces of shit” and “whores,” and in the next assures us that, no, they don’t hate the abusive white man who ripped apart the feminist community — causing us us all to viciously attack our sisters in an effort to see which terrible feminist was most to blame for the abusive, sociopathic, manipulative behaviour of a man (for fuck’s sake) and tear her from limb to limb — the illusion that this kind of attack is politically justifiable or is happening in the name of progress, feminism, or freedom, ceases to be credible.
"Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate Hugo Schwyzer, though. I feel deeply sad for him. Sad at the wasted potential of a man who obviously had the capacity to write and communicate and network and connect with people but became haunted by his own mental health issues and addictions. But I do not hate him. Sure, addicts make a choice to act on their addictions but how many choices do we have when there is a crowd that benefits from enabling the addict? What choices are out there when so many are fighting for the coins thrown at them to enable the addict, to give him rope, to let him hang, to push him further for page clicks and outrage. Like Jessica Coen, among many others, did for him. His actions are his alone but there is a point when people marred by mental health are not always in control of those actions. I can empathize with that. I would never be his friend. I would never share a drink with him. I don’t want him writing about anything that implies getting coins at our expense like his enablers do. But I do not wish him bad. If anything, I hope he can find peace."
Sure, he’s only human — the rest of us “whores” deserve nothing but hate and vitriol.
I am tired of this shit. And I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed that this is what people see when they look at feminist “discourse” online — this woman-hating nightmare. This toxic pit of mean girls-style screed – disagreement used as defense for silencing and verbal abuse. I am appalled that fellow journalists and progressives would support this behaviour and I am amazed to the point of almost finding it funny that people are still desperately trying to frame this behaviour as purposeful or political in any way.
And if people are supporting this behaviour out of fear, it’s time to look at that. Because if you are afraid and staying silent because of it, something is wrong. Because, as the ever-on point Glosswitch wrote, “my feminism is not about being afraid.” Because you know who rules and controls and silences women based on fear? Abusive men. Met any? Recognize that feeling of walking on eggshells, never quite sure when you will become the target of an attack? Yeah. That’s what the patriarchy does. It forces us to live in fear and stay silent because of it. It teaches us to take up as little space as possible in the hope that we will go unnoticed and, therefore, safe from attack. This shouldn’t be the goal of feminism.
Both Glosswitch and I have said it before and who knows how many more times and how many more of us will need to say it again, but if your activism is focused on vicious, concerted efforts to silence women, you’re not doing feminism, you’re doing misogyny. And I promise you — I fucking guarantee you this — supporting bullies won’t protect you. It will not save you from being bullied yourself. Because some day you’ll step out of line and become the target yourself.
And if people are supporting this behaviour out of professional jealousy they may want to think about that as well. If you had a writing job would it be ok for others to attack you in this way? Simply for having a job? Would you be a sellout and a “whore” because you were paid for your work? Would you deserve the abuse hurled at you? Or would you be safe, somehow? Would you be the magical unicorn woman who writes about feminism — who writes that which is unpopular — who challenges the status quo — and isn’t subjected to abuse and wasn’t made to believe you didn’t deserve to either speak or be compensated for your work? I think you know the answer…
Is there nothing ironic in demanding that women work for free? Lest they be lambasted? Because women’s work remains underpaid or unpaid today, for the record. And it is unacceptable to expect women to produce work for free because they are feminist. We should be advocating for our sisters to be paid for the work they do. Not tearing them apart for scraping by in what is an extremely difficult, unstable, and unlucrative industry.
Time to stop fooling yourselves. This is not politics. This is a sick, sexist, joke.
This is not politics, no. This, in the words of Flavia Dzodan herself, is bullshit.