Tagfeminism

On Misogyny in Industrial Music

And speaking of deflecting criticism through irony, Nadya Lev has written a long, thoughtful piece on misogyny in industrial music:

The “cinematic reference” argument seems to be a common tactic in deflecting criticism. Thomas Rainer has used the filmic term “sexploitation” to describe Nachtmahr, and Throat Full of Glass music video director, Chad Michael Ward, wrote to Coilhouse stating that “the video, conceived by both the band and myself, is a send-up of 1970s grindhouse/exploitation films, where men were thugs and women were whores; in other words caricatures, not entirely unlike the noir films of the 1930s that I also love dearly.” In reality, the “it’s an homage to grindhouse” defense is so common that it’s becoming a cliche. Here’s the thing: when Tarantino revived the grindhouse genre, it was with clever, self-aware, satirical, intelligent scripts that actually told new stories that were relevant to our time. The Bride is one of the most celebrated bad-ass film icons out there. Similarly, today’s burlesque movement revives the noir glamour of the 30s with a DIY, feminist sensibility. Contrasted to that, what collective story does the combination of these industrial music videos tell?

Full Story: On Misogyny in Industrial Music

Here’s the comment I left:

“If satire isn’t interpreted as satire, but as a sincere expression of belief, doesn’t mean that the artist has to condescend to explain it and hold the listener’s hand.”

The question of the artist’s responsibility for people not getting a piece of work is a sticky one. People completely missing the point of satire has been a thing for a long, long time. The movie Joe [1] comes to mind, but it was hardly the first.

Similarly, to what degree can an artist be criticized for utterly failing at satire? If Combachrist has been at this for as long as he has, and no one gets the joke, is that a failure as an artist on his part? (joblowcritic’s point about Laichach is particularly relevant here).

There has been a rash of movies over the past few years that claim to be satire or criticism of media violence, violence against women, etc. but simply devolve into being an embodiment of what they intended to satirize — to such a degree that it’s questionable whether the film makers ever really intended to do satire or whether that was all just a cover (Sucker Punch for example).

Combachrist and Nachtmahr have fallen into the same realm. Is this stuff *really* earnest parody, or cover for the opportunity to do whatever they want without criticism? Did it start out as parody, but at some point start feeling a bit too comfortable?

One big difference between these guys and Laibach is that, to the best of my knowledge, Laibach never used their aesthetics of fascism schtick as an excuse to, say, make a video about torturing Jews or beating women or whatever. That’s the problem I have with films like Sucker Punch, Crank and that whole family of neo-grindhouse films as well. There just isn’t a big enough difference between the real thing and the satire.

[1] http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3013/

How An Anti-Feminist Screed Ended Up In a Physics Journal

Zen Faulkes explains how an issue of the Canadian Journal of Physics dedicated to chaos theory ended up running an anti-feminist screed that reportedly claimed that “half the children of working mothers suffered ‘serious psychological damage.'”

The article was penned by Gordon Freeman (pictured), who was the guest editor of this one issue of the journal. It was pretty obvious what had happened, in broad strokes: he abused his editorial power to get his poisonous opinion piece into the pages of the journal.

The details of exactly how this happened were a little more complicated. Freeman organized a conference on chaos theory, and was assembling papers that had been presented at a conference for publication in the Canadian Journal of Physics. Apparently, the deal was that the journal would publish all the papers Freeman compiled, provided that they were presented at the conference, and that they were peer-reviewed.

Full Story: Neurodojo: Retraction classic: Physics and feminism

Critical Interview With Feminist Writer Hugo Schwyzer

Zahra Tahirah wrote a critique of feminist professor and writer Hugo Schwyzer, including an interview to clear a few things up. I’ve linked to Schwyzer’s work before, but I didn’t know anything about his abusive background (including his attempted murder of an ex-girlfriend):

I don’t think I’m a prominent voice for feminism, frankly. I’m much less well-known than women writers like Jessica Valenti, for example. Most of my articles deal with some aspect of masculinity, informed by my feminism. It’s not my job to explain women’s experience to them — that’s unacceptable. I’m trying to explain men to women and, perhaps just as vitally, to themselves.

I think it is dangerous to have men in positions of overtly feminist leadership. But writing about gender isn’t always explicitly feminist. I write mostly about men from a perspective informed by my feminism. That’s far from being a feminist leader.

Persephone Magazine: Deconstructing Hugo

This Week In Anonymity And Sexualization Of Strangers

A 15 year old girl committed suicide after months of harassment following topless photos of her circulating on the internet

A Tumblr was created to publish the identities of men who post “creepshots” to Reddit

Reddit finally shut the Creepshots subreddit down

Gawker unmasked Violentacrez, a Creepshots moderator who also started or moderated various other, shall we say “distasteful” subreddits.

Count

Quinn Norton writes:

For many years when I walked into a room I instantly counted the women. It told me a lot about what to expect from that room. One day, having lost my best friend over racial politics out of my control, I began to count people of color. That too was for safety, for understanding how my views would be taken. That too told me a lot I needed to know about the room. But it also hinted to me about a whole realm of experience I wasn’t having. […]

Full Story: Quinn Says: Count

The Problem With Men Explaining Things

Rebecca Solnit for Mother Jones:

Yes, guys like this pick on other men’s books too, and people of both genders pop up at events to hold forth on irrelevant things and conspiracy theories, but the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.

Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.

I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the trajectory of American politics since 2001 was shaped by, say, the inability to hear Coleen Rowley, the FBI woman who issued those early warnings about Al Qaeda, and it was certainly shaped by a Bush administration to which you couldn’t tell anything, including that Iraq had no links to Al Qaeda and no WMD, or that the war was not going to be a “cakewalk.” (Even male experts couldn’t penetrate the fortress of their smugness.)

Mother Jones: The Problem With Men Explaining Things

I’ve definitely been “that guy” before. I try not to be. (And yes, as Solnit writes, men do this to each other too — we should stop.)

Just Let the Shut-Ins Bang Their Virtual Girlfriends in Peace

augmented reality girlfriend

Lindy West writes that although augmented reality “girlfriends” freak her out by objectifying women:

Critics looooooove to climb up on their high horse and flail around with fake concern about shit like this—how Real Dolls and “virtual girlfriends” keep men (and some women, I guess, maybe) from forging real human connections. But let’s be honest, here. There are some people in the world who, unfortunately, will never make a real human connection. There are some people who nobody in the world wants to be around. Or, if somebody does want to be around them, that person might be very very far away (hence, computers!). Those people exist. A computerized goggle-girlfriend might not be the #1 healthiest road to fulfillment, but: a) Who am I, the fulfillment police? (ANSWER: MAYBE); and b) So fucking what? Let them have their things.

Full Story: Jezebel: Just Let the Shut-Ins Bang Their Virtual Girlfriends in Peace

(via Chris Arkenberg)

Guys and Dolls, a documentary about men and their RealDolls

Interview with a John

Antonia Crane has been doing a series of interviews with sex workers for The Rumpus. Now she’s trying to find johns (the customers of prostitutes and other sex workers) to share their stories. Here’s a bit of the first one:

The negative experiences were usually when I found myself in a situation where I felt I was doing something wrong, dangerous or exploitative. I think my situation is not uncommon, and I think most of us do not want to hurt anybody. Not wanting to participate in anything that’s harmful, that’s wrong, that’s cruel. But like a lot of other industries, both black-market ones like drugs or gambling and legit industries like food processing or farming, there are abuses. And so you go into it navigating through the abuses.

You’re in this for a connection. Physical—but also emotional. And a shadow of the dark side of sex work kind of hovers around in the background.

It’s like with drug use. You just smoke pot once in a while, and then one day you find yourself buying a little more weight, from a guy who’s got a gun in his car, and you realize there is this whole other big scary reality behind the little bit that you can see.

The Rumpus: Paying to Play: Interview with a John

See also: “Do-Me” Feminism and the Rise of Raunch

5 Essays I Wish I’d Read as a Young(er) Man

Why Women Aren’t Crazy

You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling—that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

Full Story: The Good Men Project: Why Women Aren’t Crazy

Why I Resigned from The Good Men Project

One day, Kevin came to class with a duffle bag. I thought little of it, until – in the midst of a discussion about men and feminism – he reached into the duffle and pulled out a football helmet. “I know I’m gonna get killed for what I’m about to say”, he announced dramatically; “I brought some protection.” Kevin then strapped the helmet on as his classmates and I stared in shock. I told him to cut out the cheap theatrics, but not before he’d made a powerful point, though I’m confident it wasn’t the one he intended to make.

Kevin’s gag with the football helmet was designed to send a signal about women and anger. The message he wanted to send was, as he told me later, that “feminists take things too seriously and get too aggressive.” The message he actually sent was that men will go to great lengths to try and short-circuit women’s attempts at serious conversation. The helmet was an effort to label those attempts as “male-bashing” or “man-hating.” The hope was that it would shame uppity feminists into biting back their anger; of course, Kevin only ended up inflaming the situation. In less dramatic ways, I’ve seen men use this same tactic again and again.

Full Story: Hugo Schwyzer: Why I Resigned from The Good Men Project

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Feminism But Were Afraid to Ask

Although we can all agree on the most basic dictionary definition of feminism (the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes), it is rarely ever that simple or straightforward. Despite 150 years of activism in pursuit of women’s rights, and nearly 40 years of modern feminism, “feminism” is still considered by many to be a dirty word. In the mainstream media, when feminism is discussed at all, it’s most often talked about in negative or pessimistic terms: Time’s “Is Feminism Dead?” cover stories; the recent series of New York Times articles detailing how feminism has “failed” because upper-middle-class white women are still struggling with the work/family dilemma; any number of hand-wringing articles about why young women aren’t embracing the label; and so forth. Movie and tv starlets who portray assertive, confident, feminist-leaning characters routinely reject the word—Sarah Michelle Gellar, Drew Barrymore, I’m lookin’ at you—as do female musicians whose work is infused with gender play (Polly Jean Harvey, Patti Smith, Bjork). It’s not that these women aren’t into equality: It’s because they, like many people, are afraid of what the word implies to the rest of the world. Like the current slanderous usage of “liberal,” “feminist” has long been wielded as an epithet—hence many women’s discomfort in adopting it.

You wouldn’t know it from the blanket terms used to talk about feminism, but the movement’s rich history (and current practice) encompasses a slew of ideologies, offshoots, and internal disagreements: radical feminism, cultural feminism, liberal feminism, antiporn feminism, pro-sex feminism, third-wave feminism, womanism—but what does it all mean? A brief primer on the etiology of feminism is sorely needed. The following is hardly exhaustive, and only barely objective, and I must mention that many of the nuances and linguistic turns are still up for debate by and among feminists. So leave your preconceptions behind and join me in this exciting exploration of one of life’s most basic urges: feminism.

Full Story: Bitch: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Feminism But Were Afraid to Ask

Fucking and Feminism

There’s a world of difference between being branded a sex object and choosing to be one under certain circumstances. Recall Tad Friend’s classic 1994 “do-me feminism” Esquire article, in which Lisa Palac said, “Degrade me when I ask you to” (emphasis mine). Women’s true desires may not make for perfect propaganda, but sex is justifiably complex. I may like to get spanked until I scream, but I still deserve to be treated as an intelligent human being. Submitting sexually doesn’t equal becoming a doormat outside the bedroom.

Full Story: Village Voice: Fucking and Feminism

Rise of Raunch

Ariel Levy’s 2005 book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture argued that, in fact, women themselves were turning to self-objectification in shocking numbers, noting that the signifiers of what she called “raunch culture” — strip aerobics classes, T-shirts printed with the words porn star, Girls Gone Wild, and more — had been adopted by women themselves. But rather than leading to real freedom, women’s adoption of “raunch culture” simply duplicated patterns of disdain for and objectification of women. Levy’s quest to find out how the new sexual liberation differed from early-model sexploitation involved talking to everyone from the HBO executives responsible for the likes of G-String Divas to the producers of Girls Gone Wild to high-school and college women who have felt pressure to make out with other girls in bars “because boys like it.” Ultimately, Female Chauvinist Pigs yielded far more questions than it answered, and the main one was this: If the standards and stereotypes by which girls and women are judged haven’t changed, could it really be called empowerment at all?

Pamela Paul struggled with a similar question in her 2005 book Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families; a year later, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting took it on in Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women. Along with Female Chauvinist Pigs, these books pointed out the distinction that lay at the heart of many feminists’ discomfort with raunch culture: Liking sex and performing sex are two very different things. And as Levy put it, “If we’re going to have sexual role models, it should be the women who enjoy sex the most, not the women who get paid the most to enact it.”

Full Story: Alternet: “Do-Me” Feminism and the Rise of Raunch

Ad·ver·sary: We Demand Better

From I Die You Die:

We were contacted a few days before leaving for Kinetik by Jairus Khan from Ad·ver·sary. He told us that he was planning a visual presentation for his set at the festival which he anticipated would attract a lot of attention, and wanted to speak to us about it. The presentation related to themes and imagery in the work of two other artists on the opening night Kinetik bill, specifically Combichrist and Nachtmahr. The presentation, which can be viewed here, or at the bottom of this post, openly critiques what Jairus perceives as the use of misogynist and racist tropes in those band’s music and publicity materials. We spoke to Jairus after seeing an early version of the video.

Full Story: Interview with Jairus Khan from Ad·ver·sary

See also:

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

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