Tuesday, 22 November 2011

In Defence of "SCUM Having Fun"...

(Note: No, I can't bloody believe I'm doing this either)

In Sweden, a group of female theatre students are putting on a production based on Valerie Solanas' SCUM Manifesto. In order to advertise this, they have released a short video on Youtube. The video shows a young woman giggling and shooting a dozing man. Her friends then run over and the group start dancing. A screen appears saying 'Do your part', then another with details of the production. Finally, the camera returns to the women who are laughing and licking blood from the man's head wounds. The whole thing is little more than a minute long.

So, the extremist hypocrite misogynist shitheels in the MRA movement have decided to offer $1000 bounties for the personal information about the women in this video, a la Redwatch. They want their names, addresses, phone numbers, places of work etc. Several have also made personal threats to the women, saying that they would like to hunt them down. David Furtrelle has covered this disgusting saga over at Manboobz.

If you have never encountered it, the SCUM Manifesto is a pamphlet written by Valerie Solanas in 1967, which argues that
"men have fouled up the world, are no longer necessary (even biologically), and should be completely destroyed, preferably by criminal means such as sabotage and murder .... [t]he quicker, the better" (Robert Marmorstein)
The SCUM Manifesto can be read in full here. It begins:
"Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex."
In short, it's not exactly cosy suppertime reading for your committed MRA gyno-supremacist conspiracy theorist, who seem to believe that every feminist ever takes it as gospel. However, in the Manboobz article, I also noticed Furtrelle and the commenters all trying to distance themselves from it - Furtrelle even refused to embed the video in the post. He says:
"Every feminist I know who has seen the video has been appalled by it. I’m appalled by it. It’s hateful, and it’s wrong."
Now, at the risk of exposing myself to the festering arse-pustule of the internet that is the ardent MRA trolls, I have to ask why this is being said?

These people are doing a theatre production based on the SCUM Manifesto.  Having them not include killing men would be a bit like asking Quentin Tarantino to only depict the Basterds having a nice cup of tea and a chat with the Nazis. (Did I just Godwin myself? I don't think so, but it is probably always safest to check...)

Yes, it's fairly distasteful, but it's done as part of a theatre production. I'm pretty sure they're not actually advocating it. Like I'm fairly sure Tom Six doesn't advocate kidnapping people and stitching them arse-to-mouth. Nor do I believe Gyorgy Palfi advocates practicing taxidermy on oneself, or shooting fire out of one's penis... well, you get the picture. Basically, what I'm saying is that MRAs are hypocritical fuckheads who only have a problem with violence in films where it's women being violent to men, and people should point this out instead of pandering to the faux-offended little lambs. Call them out on this. For all they whinge about women somehow 'running the world', and feminism being 'a hate movement', as far as I'm aware, no feminist ever tried to hunt down the actors from Deadgirl, and that film sucked.

As for the SCUM Manifesto itself... well, there's several theories about that.  The most common of these is what I like to term the Occam's razor approach - that it literally advocates the violent abolition of men. However, it can also be read as satire or parody of the Freudian approach - especially when Solanas talks about 'pussy envy'. Many of the arguments she espouses against men have either actually been used by men against women, or represent similar arguments. Further arguments state that for Solanas
"the plan for creating a women's world was largely nonviolent, being based on women's nonparticipation in the current economy and having nothing to do with any men, thereby overwhelming police and military forces, and, if solidarity among women was insufficient, under the plan some women could take jobs and "'unwork'", causing systemic collapse.
 Oh, and just to stop anyone trying to argue this - SCUM is not a bloody acronym.

Whatever your opinion on the pamphlet as either a literary device or as a violent call to arms, the fact remains that it's been forty-four years now, and men are still here. I guess the stupid fucks at 'A Voice for Men' can sleep easy, although I wish they wouldn't. I wish them only a bed full of crumbs and nightmares about vagina dentata. Not because they're men, but because they're hateful, hypocritical arseholes who wouldn't recognise a logical argument even if it were dressed in a sexy robocutie suit and holding up a sign saying 'no fallacies here!'

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Telling Channel 4 To Do One

This is a guest post by my younger sister

Channel 4 have decided that the new year should bring a new programme titled 'Make Bradford British'. It will be a Big Brother style TV show where contestants from different ethnic minorities are forced to live together for a 'radical social experiment'. 

Apart from stating that they chose Bradford because it is one of the most 'racially segregated cities in Europe' (massive overexagerration), it has also chosen some of its contestants from the group of people who did not pass the standard criteria test (ratings!).

All I can see this doing is stirring up tension where we need it least. This programme is playing straight into the hands of racists.

Many people, myself included, feel that Bradford has moved on from times of the riots, and yes we do have areas of a certain minority here, but what city doesn't? Chinatown in London? Chapeltown in Leeds?

Oh wait, those cities don't have a very volatile recent past do they? That's what brings the money in, I forgot!

This show has been chosen to air by some ninny down south, who doesn't know what its like living here, who thinks they can decide how people feel, and as soon as it all goes tits up and the racist views re-surface, can just scarper back down there.

I've emailed the show telling them what I think, and I'm asking you all to do the same. It takes 5 minutes, and you get a reply too. 

What happened to seeing if social minorities can live together by LEAVING THEM TO IT?
So please, lets try stop this rancid show being aired just to cause trouble.

Channel 4, DO ONE.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

On Romance, Proposals and Pressure

Today I had the grave misfortune of witnessing something no one should ever have to see. Just to observe it made me feel so unclean that I wanted to peel my skin off and soak it in bleach. I'm talking about this: 

(apologies for me being shit at HTML and not being able to embed it at the correct size)

If you can't watch it, I don't blame you. This was my face when I saw it:

The story goes like this - some poor, innocent woman is on her way home on a London Overground train. She is minding her own business, and then some twat starts singing. He is joined by several more twats. OH NOES! IT'S A FLASHCHOIR, HOW EMBARRASSING. Poor, innocent woman carries on sitting around in a bemused fashion while they do their little piece. The relief in the carriage is palpable when they look like they're about to stop... surprisingly no one has pulled the emergency brake and done a barrel roll out of the nearest window... THEY'VE STOPPED! Finally! Oh wait, what's this? Oh god... oh... no. NO. It's poor innocent woman's boyfriend, wielding a ring. He proposes, she cries, a nation vomits.

It's things like this that make me certain that there's no god. Any benevolent deity would have smited this bloke into next week before the idea had even crossed his mind.

I understand that this couple are happy, in their own special little way, and that's great for them. I'm genuinely pleased that two people who like that atrocious song have found each other and have decided to publicly declare that they don't want to knob other people. Honestly, I am. But it worries me.

The thing about proposals of this ilk, is that apart from being so toe-curlingly mortifying that kittens spontaneously combust whenever they are mentioned, they are pretty fucking creepy and demeaning.

This schmaltzy crap annoys the fuck out of me. All I can think when I watch it is "but what if she wanted to say no?"

The pressure faced by people who are subject to this kind of overblown public gesture is immense, and worrying. Check out this video, where the woman says no:

Even from a few seconds in, strangers are shouting at her to "SAY YES!". When she eventually runs away, everyone starts calling her 'brutal'. Which, you know, I consider a bit fucking harsh. The suggested videos all tell the same story too, with titles such as "Poor guy gets rejected".

It's like people want these women to just say yes just to please them. The woman has no decision - the man she ostensibly loves has gone to all this effort and spent all this money to make a big, ridiculous, over-the-top gesture. Who is she to say no after that?

I don't even believe that it is done for the benefit of the proposee. It's done, as with other big romantic gestures, so the guy looks like a hero. Look how much work he did! Isn't he awesome?!

Romance shouldn't be about one flash gimmick designed to make people who don't know you think you're cool. It shouldn't cost the earth and require all your efforts. It shouldn't be a cliche from a film, it should be something personal between the people involved. One of the nicest things my boyfriend has ever done for me was to get a pizza delivered to my house when I was too hungover to move. That, my friends, is real love.

Friday, 4 November 2011

On Free Speech and THAT NS Article

As you may or may not know, I recently contributed to this article in the New Statesman, titled '"You should have your tongue ripped out": the reality of sexist abuse online', where I and several other female bloggers discussed the abuse we suffer for being that most disgusting of creatures - Women With Opinions On The Internet.

There was... somewhat of a mixed reaction in the comments (109 of them at the time of writing). These mainly fall into four categories:

  1. Women agreeing and sympathising with what we'd written and sharing their stories.
  2. Men sympathising with us and saying they hadn't even been aware how bad the problem was for women.
  3. Men telling us it was our own fault and we shouldn't be so whiny, threatening to rape someone to death isn't even gendered abuse anyway! Are you bitches crazy or something? You are WAAAAY too sensitive, you must be PMSing or something. I mean, this is the internet! Whatever happened to free speech anyway? You stupid whores just want the moon on a stick. Given to you by a man.
  4. You cannot be fucking serious.

I'm going to address category 4 first, because fuck me, they are funny. First up, we have 'Hermaphrodite', who ventures that:

For all we know many of these rape threats were made by misandristic feminists trying to portray men in a bad light - there's no way of knowing with the internet

SHIT. They're on to us. In Hermaphrodite's world, there is no financial crisis brought on by the world's banks, the poor did it to make the innocent bankers look bad. There is no prejudice against travellers, just lying gyppos. Dogs never attack anyone, it's just cats in disguise. Personally, I love this argument. Next time I fuck up, I'm going to pick a minority group and blame it on them trying to make me look like a shit because CONSPIRACY THEORY, YO.

What Hermaphrodite fails to realise is that none of the women involved have ever experienced any kind of abuse, ever. In reality, we have hordes of Man-Slaves who bring us bonbons while we scratch out our hateful misandrist missives. We only claim to get rape and death threats because, frankly, it's HILARIOUS.

Next up, we have a man calling himself 'Me'. He has written two comments, one of which is easily over 1500 words of sheer 'what-the-fuck?-ery'. I feel like this guy should be thrown a parade by the protagonists of manboobz. In his comment, he manages to assert that:

  • Saying that we receive misogynist abuse is unfairly labelling misogynist abusers and, as such, we are awful bullies
  • All women ever do is get fat and ugly and then harass men for leaving them
  • Men are now no longer allowed to swear ever because if they do, women will have them shunned by all society
  • Workplaces should be separate so men can prosper and women can fail because they're shit and maybe then they'd know their place
  • No one should ever discuss problematic issues, they should get out there and DO SOMETHING (apart from him, apparently)
  • Threatening to rape someone is basically like telling them that they're shit, but a bit more extreme

My favourite part, however, is this little gem:
Can you not understand that the phrase I want to rape you might mean something quite different depending on who said it and where they come from? That it might not mean what you think it does? Did you consider that?
That loud noise you just heard was your head exploding.

I get it! It's all so simple now! I should have seen it all along - women have all the power ever (along with all other 'minorities'), and we use it just to oppress straight white cis men because... well, just BECAUSE.

 Someone call the WWF, I just found a new endangered species.

Anyway, that's enough of them. I want to move on to category 3. 

There seems to be a hell of a lot of bro-dudes in this thread shrieking "BUT FREE SPEECH!!!!!". Now guys, before I do anything, I'm going to post a picture of a kitten for you to look at if what follows below gets a bit to much for your AWESOME MANLITUDE to have to cope with.

Kitteh says: "THE STUPID! IT BURNS!"

There now follows a small rant about free speech:

Free speech is great, but you are arseholes. In much the same way food is great, but mushrooms are shit. I DO NOT HAVE TO EAT YOUR MUSHROOMS. You have the whole goddamn INTERNET to be  a wanker in, asking you to not be a wanker to me is not endangering your free speech in any way. I will not come to your house and gaffer tape your mouth shut so you can't sit there spluttering your inane froth. To borrow a phrase, "this is not about free speech, this is about being a goddamn decent human being".

I mean sweet unicycling baby jesus, what the shit is wrong with you people?! Is it REALLY that hard to see a website written by a woman and not go storming in, waving your dick about and shouting abuse? So much so that to ask you not to do it is actively harming you? GET HELP.

And for all you smart fucks that are like "Well, you know, this is just how the internet is. If you're too much of a pussy to deal with it, GO BACK TO THE KITCHEN LOLOLOL". Now, in telling me to shut the fuck up and not have opinions so that you can make your rape threats in peace, guess who is stifling who's free speech? OH YEAH. 

To conclude: