Saturday, September 30, 2006

The shortest personality test in computer history

I blame witchy-woo

Your Blogging Type is Pensive and Philosophical
You blog like no one else is reading...You tend to use your blog to explore ideas - often in long winded prose.Easy going and flexible, you tend to befriend other bloggers easily.But if they disagree with once too much, you'll pull them from your blogroll!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Women only?

I discussed with a male friend of mine the forthcoming Reclaim The Night march and he wondered why it had to be women-only. I muttered the importance of "safe spaces" etc. and directed him to the London Feminist Network website which explained it all, but his point was that it would be more effective if men marched alongside us.

If 1000 men marched through London campaigning against being sent to war, would they be told that a few women on the march would make it more effective? Would it be a more effective march if it were 500 men & 500 women? I don't think so. I won't go as far as to say it might be seen as less effective that 1000 men...

A women-only march is seen as needing male support to add "weight" to the cause. It is as if we don't matter in our own right and are not taken seriously without men to back us up. Damn shame for half the population who've already achieved "equality".

It is this belittling of women and the We've-Got-Our-Fingers-In-Our-Ears-La-La-La response to sexual violence that needs to change.

In the meantime, let 1000 women (hopefully) march through London in November all by ourselves and see how effective we can be!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A short post on violent film/violent porn

A lot of people are asking why, if we are to ban violent pornography, why not ban violent films/games etc.

Although a lot of violent films, especially horror films, are extremely misogynistic and should be looked at in the context of womens' position in society, they differ from violent pornography in one crucial way. They are not designed specifically to cause arousal. Or at least they do not market themselves as such.

Pornography has a sole purpose and that is to arouse the viewer. There is no other reason for it to exist. When the pornography is violent, the violence is intended to arouse the viewer which in turn causes the viewer to associate violence with sexual pleasure.

Even if people are aroused by violent films and video games, their pleasure is not validated in the same way as with violent pornography. With the latter, they know they are supposed to feel pleasure when viewing the violence - as opposed to becoming accidentally turned on by a woman running around half-naked screaming, while a man in a mask chases her with an axe.

This validation of pleasure when viewing violence is particularly dangerous for someone who already has tendencies towards violent behaviour. Much more than in horror movies, pornography justifies and condones these tendencies as natural sexual impulses that should be gratified. How can this be "harmless"?

Friday, September 15, 2006


I can post this without fear of becoming a poetry blogger* as i have only written one poem.

You came to me, I said you could
You said the things I knew you would
Extracting aims and dreams from me
And hoping you could treat my freedom
Like a toy to tangle with
Aren't hands enough to strangle with?
You blew me out, you shut me in
If you dropped dead, I'd hear the pin

*Not that there's anything wrong with poetry bloggers, just that I ain't a poet.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Women and mental health

Many women who blog on the subject of sexual violence and abuse have had some experience of it in their own lives. A lot of these women have suffered or still do suffer various mental health problems, from depression to panic attacks, personality "disorders" and severe mood swings, often directly linked to their experiences.

In some cases of domestic violence, a woman's mental "illness" is used against her in court, despite the illness being caused by the violence itself. If a woman who reports her rape has mental health or drug-related problems, this is used as evidence against her reliability as a witness, despite the fact that rapists often target these women specifically.

Depression, anxiety, mood-disorders and other issues can all affect womens' ability to work, study or simply get on with life, and women are consistently penalised for this without the root causes being looked into. The very things that can help women are being prioritized against, such as Rape Crisis Centres; there is now one, compared to over twenty in the '70s. These have been replaced by Sexual Assault Referral Centres, which, while better than nothing, are affiliated with the police and encourage women to report the crime - despite the obscenely low conviction rate and the fact that women are even more traumatized after a trial in which they are not believed.

When looking at these facts and considering the light sentences that most child-abusers and rapists get, if they are sentenced at all (the heavier sentences go to those who have offended numerous times, and the vast irreparable damage is already done), points to a society that sanctions the abuse of women and children to it's own ends. Under patriarchy, it serves men well to keep girls and women controlled and frightened and out of the workplace - unless that workplace happens to be prostitution or pornography.
And I don't think I need to point out how the majority of girls and women get into prostitution and pornography.

There are some organisations that will happily employ women (and men) with emotional or mental-health problems, realising that they can be flexible enough to accomodate and cultivate individual talents - but most will not. Until the stigma is gone, and more information about mental illness is available, women will continue to suffer at the hands of a society that feeds and waters their abusers; the very people who caused or contributed to their "illness".

And that folks, just ain't fair.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Class and race

The specific part of London where I live seems predominately white and well-off. Despite there being several housing estates nearby, the people who live there are practically invisible unless the kids are making a noise, and then they only attract negative attention. The local shops which we are so keen to keep in business (a butcher's, green-grocers, cheese shop and delicatessen) are quite simply unaffordable to half the people on the street.

I am personally poor (claiming benefits - cheers Soopermouse) but live in this area with someone who does earn decent money. Despite going to the Jobcentre I don't feel I belong with the poorer community, and it isn't just my living arrangements; it's a mentality. Because I didn't grow up in a council house but with well off parents in the country, I feel I belong more with the richer people in the area, buying things I can't afford being one of the consequences. In this way, class divisions are much more than just personal circumstances. The snobbery I feel (and I do) towards people of a "lower" class is a direct result of my upbringing, and no amount of Jobcentre visits will make me feel like "one of them". It's hard, but I hope not impossible, to shake these attitudes off.

Speaking of lovely Jobcentre visits, I would say that over 90% of signers are people of colour. Also, of the people who work there, only about 10% are white. This JC is just at the bottom of the road in the area that I described as "predominately white". The same colour ratio is seen on buses, which are still considered a poor form of transport.

I haven't thought enough about class as it pertains to people of colour, probably because I'm white, but I found this link about whether or not there is a rising "black middle-class" and whether or not it matters anyway. I know one black man who indentifies himself as "middle-class", and he appears only to associate with white people. Funny though, most white people I know do not like describing themselves as middle-class. People are keen to get rid of labels, which is a good thing, but whatever we call ourselves the underlying structure will remain.

I haven't come to any conclusions here; this post is observational. I hope to think and learn more about these issues by listening to people, reading, and examining my attitudes and behaviour. I'm looking forward to reading the other posts (Listed at

Friday, September 01, 2006

Feminists For Pornography

Feminist porn, porn made by lesbians for lesbians, woman-friendly porn, yadda yadda etc...

NONE of this will advance the feminist movement. It gets lost amongst mainstream porn, reaches far wider than the target audience, and as a result makes no statement at all. It will not make the slightest dent in sexist society.

I used to think that porn would never go away (hmm, still inclined to think that actually) and so the only way forward would be to have more women involved in the making of it. It's bullshit. Women involved have generally had to conform to the abusive nature of most porn to make any money. The appeal of porn is that it DOES involve abuse or depict degradation. Same goes for lesbian and gay porn. (In most gay porn, the feminisation of the man is what makes him fit for degradation.)

Trying to use the medium of pornography to further a movement designed to end oppression simply won't work. Pornography is both made from, and feeds off oppression in all its sexist, racist, and homophobic forms. It IS oppression.

Of course people should have the right to view anything they want in the privacy of their own home, but you can only prioritise this in a society where actual abuse doesn't take place. We do not live in such a society and consensual images are indistinguishable from non-consensual ones.

Give it up Feminists For Pornography. Focus on human rights, not human "needs".
adopt your own virtual pet!