Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Sarah Haskins…

is awesome beyond words.

Oh, and while I’m at it with the videos, this one is an oldy but goody.

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You’d be so pretty if…

you smiled!

lost 20 pounds!

didn’t have that short hair!

or it wasn’t dyed purple!

didn’t have tattoos/piercings! Why would a girl as pretty as you DO that to yourself, anyways?

Maybe because it is MY body, not public freakin’ property, and I will do whatever the hell I please with it. Maybe because I don’t, actually, spend every waking moment concerned about whether my appearance is pleasing to a random stranger on the street. Or maybe I do it just to piss you off!

Reading a few blog posts got me thinking about this, and it’s something I’ve seen mentioned on Feministing before. Mostly in the “You’d be prettier if you smiled!” “Smile for me!” etc. comments that women have mentioned getting from strangers - which absolutely baffles me, as I’ve never received that (at least from a stranger, maybe from a relative…). Not that I don’t believe it, of course, it just seems…creepy. However, I have got (especially when working at Target - something about being a cashier makes a person especially open for public comment, apparently) the hair/tattoo questions a lottt. Of course, that was when I had fun hair…but anyways! It always really, really bothered me and I couldn’t figure out exactly why, so I just chalked it up to rudeness and moved on. It wasn’t until a few months ago when I read one of the posts on Feministing about it that I could put my finger on it - because my body is MINE and these comments assume that it exists for someone else.

I’ve even got comments like “What does your mother/boyfriend think about it?”. Mother? I moved out almost two years ago, and while I do love my mother to death and have a great deal of respect for her, I would like to think that she knows I’m an adult and will do what I want with my body. Matt? Holy hell, if Matt ever tried to tell me I wasn’t allowed to get any more tattoos or to dye my hair funky colors, the shit would hit the fan. The fact that someone would even ask that casually makes me a little sick to my stomach, because if he had that amount of control over me it would actually be an abusive, unhealthy relationship, thanks. No matter what anyone says or how they try to convince me otherwise. And if I tried to tell Matt how to dress or what to do with his hair, I would be a controlling bitch and he would be whipped. The standard, I’m seein’ double! That’s not to mention the “Why, none of the nice boys will want to date you now!” comment after seeing my first tattoo, which, if I’m remembering right, actually came from my (nice, but rabidly misguided) grandmother. Well, grandma, you’re right, now that my reason for existence is gone, I just don’t know what to do with myself.

Of course, I have several male friends who have or have had tattoos, piercings, dyed hair and mohawks, etc. and while they do get the general disgust and rudeness from ignorant people, I have NEVER heard anyone say anything like the above to them, or heard them complain of it. Mens’ bodies aren’t public property - womens’ are.

I think my favorite thing in the Jezebel comments was this:

If you’d like a guy’s opinion i’ll just throw it out there: (yes, we wimminz always need a man’s opinion before having a thought of our own, kthx)

Perhaps evaluate whether you believe these men know that they are flirting and doing so unwantedly. If they know this and continue to pester, it’s not bitchy to tell them they’re being offensive. If they don’t know the flirting is unwanted politely tell them your not interested. (Of course, it’s on us to tell them that the attention is unwanted, because it’s assumed that telling a random stranger what to do with her body is ok, or that women eating alone must want some male company, etc. That’s not, ya know, screwy or anything)

…blither blather…

Lastly, be careful of the slippery slope that is becoming cynical, be careful of becoming overly judgemental where you just start assuming all guys are perverts and jerks when they really aren’t doing anything at all. Also don’t make yourself believe that all eyes are on you when they really aren’t, a guy’s eyes move around a lot and take in the environment a lot. It’s a complicated mixed message for a man to know that woman appreciate a guy that is confident and not afraid to approach a women, (especially if that woman is presenting herself in a manner that makes her appear inviting to interact with) but that when he does work up the nerve to do this he may be making her uncomfortable and in turn make himself feel embarrassed when he’s already very nervous.

Summary: it is YOUR fault if a man approaches you and makes you feel uncomfortable! Jeez, don’t assume they’re leering at you! And gods forbid, definitely don’t “present yourself in a manner that makes you appear inviting to interact with”, because then you definitely deserve the attention. And that manner is what exactly? What I’m wearing? My makeup? Oh I forget, women only think of their appearance in terms of looking good for other people. I can’t get dressed up for myself, because then it’s assumed that I’m dressing for men, and it’s automatically okay for them to hit on me. So I guess once I’m married I’ll…what…wear a burlap sack all the time?

I have just about ranted myself out here, but I will also say that this? Totally. Screwed. Up. The fact that the first movie about a shooting where several (14 I think?) women were killed simply for being a woman, is filmed to show things through a male perspective? Um. WHAT?! Yes, we totally need that, just like we need a movie about the Holocaust from the point of view of a Catholic, that makes sense doesn’t it?

Despite my complete inability to keep up with most net-based shows, no matter how badass (Everyday Hardcore, I’m looking at you!) this video alone makes me want to start watching this show.

This post brought to you at 1:15 (and counting) in the morning because I accidentally took a 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the afternoon. And now I can’t sleep. Argh.

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If you do not want to read anything political, avert your eyes now.

For some reason I just found out about this case, which happened two years ago. When reading some of the comments on the “You Don’t Have to be Pretty” post, linked yesterday, I found it in a roundabout way. Quick exerpt:

THE devastated father of a teenage girl shown degraded and sexually abused on a DVD vows to hunt down those responsible.

The film shows up to 12 youths from the outer western suburb of Werribee attacking the girl, said to be intellectually impaired.

It shows members of the group urinating on the girl, setting fire to her hair and shows her performing lurid acts on the boys.

DVD copies of the video have been sold in schools in Melbourne’s west for $5.

So, I thought, well, at least since it was two years ago I can read about them being sentenced and probably have a small sense of justice. Um. Actually, no.

Six of the teenagers who played the most active roles in the attack were sentenced to 12-month and 18-month youth supervision orders.

The order requires them to report for up to six hours a week to a youth justice worker, who will counsel them and, in some cases, order them to perform community work.

Two of the teenagers who played lesser roles were sentenced to a probation order for 12 months, which requires them to report weekly to a youth justice worker.

The court heard the three teens who pleaded guilty yesterday had been persecuted for their involvement and were truly remorseful. They will be sentenced on February 12.

Wow! You mean they got a whole YEAR AND A HALF of six hours a week counselling and maybe community service?! That is the punishment for raping a disabled girl ON CAMERA?! Shit, an acquaintance got six months relatively strict parole for shoplifting a $10 necklace.

It makes me so fucking sick. I can’t even express words without resorting to swearing every other one, but I’m going to try. This…sick obsession with not punishing rapists/sexual assaulters enough doesn’t even get recognized most of the time. I was incredibly annoyed in training at work because a coworker said something about there being a lot of “lying girls” out there and that “all a girl has to do is cry rape and the guy goes down”. Um. Fuckno. Even in cases where it should be relatively cut and dried, like oh I don’t know, a videotaped gang rape, it took three years to go to trial and then the rapist (one of them, anyways, and the easiest to find information about) got let off after only serving 2-3 years of his six year sentence. Six years for gang-raping a girl (when there was PROOF). As far as I’m concerned, it should be at least a ten year mandatory sentence. There were other factors in that case, of course. I’m sure if it had been poor teens of color that weren’t related to policemen they would have been sentenced like that *snaps fingers*. Hell, it’s possible to get 11 years for threatening someone with a weapon.

I’m just sick of it. I’m sick of being told constantly that we, as women, need to be conventionally “pretty” even if it costs untold amounts of money and our health. I’m sick of being told that my body, that I, am not worth anything and having the gut-wrenching knowledge that if I was raped by a stranger, he would probably never be caught, while police (at least around here) go out of their way to catch some poor dude selling pot to make some extra money. If I was raped by someone I know and attempted to bring them to trial, I would be dragged through the mud as a slut, a whore, corrupting poor innocent men and leading them on, and someone who was asking for it. And if, after Matt and I got married, he raped me (which, shockingly enough, is possible as being married to someone does not make you their property), I would not even be able to press charges in the state of Missouri.

Someone in my family was raped at one point. She was out drinking with a guy friend and one of his friends. Her friend passed out, and his friend started beating her and trying to get her to have sex with him. She withheld until he started threatening her daughter, she finally consented, and then went to the police the next morning. They told her that she could not press charges for rape, that she had to stick with assault and battery. And the incredibly fucked up thing is that he would probably be incarcerated longer for assault and battery than raping a drunk woman anyways, because if she was drunk and out with members of the opposite sex, she obviously wanted it to happen.

Out of my close friends and my family, I know five women who have been raped or sexually assaulted. How fucked up is that? Seriously?

I don’t even know where I’m going with this. Realistically, nowhere. I have nothing new to say that hasn’t already been said by people far more eloquent than I. But it makes me so, so depressed and infuriated to read about these things. When is the assault on us and our bodies going to stop?

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