Fate is Chance. Destiny is Choice.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Feminist Blogsphere is growing...

I've finally got my Gender and Society essay done (last week) and I'm now focusing on my next essay which happens to be about Feminist Utopias and Dystopias and how they have changed the utopian genre and other genres (namely Science Fiction and Fantasy). I'm concentrating on Woman on the Edge of Time (Marge Piercy), The Telling (Ursula K.LeGuin) and The Handmaids Tale (Margaret Atwood). It's really interesting but the reading I have to do about utopia and dystopia is kind of complex, blah. I lament the fact that academic writing thinks it has to be 'wordy' - you can actually make it quite simple and still get the same points across!

Anyway...I've also become quite caught up in the growing feminist blog tradition and I've also joined a yahoo group 'protestnow' which is really making me feel as though there are other women out there that feel the same about patriarchy and women's objectification as I do. When I was doing Gender and Society at Uni, Celia Kitzinger (a lecturer at York Uni), our lecturer, asked the important question of whether the label 'feminist' was important. I notice that some people say things like 'I'm not a feminist but...' and although it's great that they understand that women still get a rough deal, there is nothing wrong with the word feminist.

To say that you are a feminist is to affirm the efforts of those that came before us - people like Emmeline Pankhurst, Andrea Dworkin and many others. There has been such a huge backlash against feminism that I sometimes worry that identifying as a feminist is going to cause awkward situations in which people may try to argue against the obvious, that we do not need to fight any longer. I hate it that people make fun of feminism, "bra burners", "hairy" and so on. I lament that bras are so bloody uncomfortable sometimes but then I do feel that they give some much needed support especially if your breasts give you back problems.

And I don't know what the hell is wrong with being hairy: men grow beards and moustaches and don't shave their legs or genitals. Shaving your genitals causes loads of problems and it is a sign that you are a woman to have pubic hair. I do shave my underarms and leg hair but only when I decide to wear a skirt and only because I have my fathers genetic tendency to sweat a lot and shaving my underarms helps! But I don't think we need to justify our own bodily practices unless they become huge problems such as feeling that you cannot go out without makeup at all, that you spend less time enjoying yourself and more time applying makeup and so on.

The label Feminist is a positive one - it acknowledges that you are prepared to take action against patriarchy and make sure both women and men are seen as human beings and not as dominant or subordinate. It is the same with disability - everyone should be seen as human beings with the right to be happy and live in a society that does not objectify or cause needless pain. To identify as Feminist is to take control of your own future and to make sure future generations of women are not subordinate, are not objectified and are not raped, molested or victims of domestic violence. Men need to change their attitudes but we cannot do it for them: they must take the initiative themselves also. Would a father want their daughter to be a stripper or raped or objectified? Men need to questions things too.

I've also been thinking about my reactions to things I see on TV or in films. My boyfriend, his parents and I were watching 'A History of Violence' at the weekend while I was in Edinburgh. There was a scene that made me feel panicked, fearful and powerless as a woman: namely that of a husband almost strangling his wife and then ending with them having rough meaningless sex (obviously in the missionary position) on the stairs. I understand why I felt so disgusted: because it clouds the reality of violence against women and then sexualised it and made violence into something that women enjoy. I really hate this whole attitude that it's okay that women can be strangled and nearly killed and then shows a husband or partner 'taking their liberties'.

It is not sex, it is rape. I don't know if other people who watch the film will feel the same as I did, but I know recently that I've started to object much more vocally about the kind of so called sexualisation of violence in movies. It is no wonder that films have deeply ingrained patriarchal attitudes towards sex and violence because pornography appears to be the same ('gang bangs' and women being degraded and supposedly enjoying it etc). I don't understand how men can find the pain and degradation of women a 'turn on'. Men don't seem to understand that by using pornography, they are watching a woman being degraded and hurt (despite their supposed 'enjoyment').

If you don't agree with me, then look at these websites that will back up my opinions and dispel the myths of sexual violence and pornography:


There are also some feminists that take a less radical view but I fail to see how they can justify the pain and violence inherent in pornography and sexual violence. I hope the above links help to dispel any myths about pornography, sexual violence and rape, but there are many other feminists out there and I'll add their blogs to my links collection :)

So long and have a nice day! :-D

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In Celebration of my 20th Post....

I'm going to do a couple of lists that will probably bore people half to death! :)

Things that bother me about Society (and make me angry):

  1. Objectification
  2. Treatment of environments (tree felling, exhausts, etc)
  3. Misogyny
  4. Discrimination (Race, Class, Gender, Disability, Age etc)
  5. Shallowness/Self obsession (caring about other people goes a long way)
  6. Corporations (The Body Shop has sold out and been sold to L'Oreal)
  7. Cruelty (every kind of cruelty - humans, animals, environment etc)
  8. Torture (ties in with cruelty but the army still tends to torture people at times, and it is rife in some countries)
  9. Labels (although they help to identify people sometimes, I don't like that people get labelled negatively or are defined by their 'labels')
  10. Glamourisation of negative things (Drugs, Porn, Violence etc)
  11. The Media - the backbiting, celebrity obsessed and objectifying kind

Things I Like about Life:

  1. Being able to question things and not take them for granted
  2. The Arts (in particular Theatre and Music)
  3. Films that make you think
  4. Feminism (because it's a force for good)
  5. Sunny afternoons at the end of the day
  6. Laughter (hearing and doing)
  7. Proper smiles (not the kind that look like smirks or are only half hearted)
  8. Reading...everything and anything
  9. Writing
  10. Listening to people's stories or opinions

Things I believe in:

  1. Love and Respect
  2. Equality and Difference
  3. That if enough people shout, their voices will be heard
  4. That many things have been socially constructed
  5. That life is something to celebrate (we are alive!!)
  6. Evolution is probably fairly truthful but it cannot explain everything
  7. Fulfilment cannot be found in acquisition of more things
  8. Knowledge is the road to enlightenment (lol)