Tag Archives: liberalism

Liberal = incontinent

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(access to) pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition

I don’t quite buy that. The (intellectual) stumbling block I’ve always found with critics – mainstream critics, that is – of porn is the notion that it depraves and corrupts. I’ve read/viewed enough porn over my (near) 42 years to realise that it fairly represents my sexuality. Nonetheless, I’ve never felt license to violate human bodies to the extent that the GP in the above article describes. And what is this thing with anal sex anyway…

‘…in-vaginal ejaculation is so novel it occupies its own, minority-interest ‘kink’ category (‘creampie‘, if you’re interested): the converse ubiquity of ejaculation on faces and/or breasts (as far as possible from the vagina, note) and anal sex‘.

Male sexuality is a very simple thing. We find an opening; we insert; we thrust unto orgasm. That’s pretty much the definition of male. Which is not to say we’re not capable of more, or different, simply that this underlies more and different: fires it, motivates it. We simply have to choose better: to choose ways of expressing our sexuality that are less damaging; or not damaging at all.We need to reject the – currently trending – mode of liberalism that promotes ‘anything goes’; that damages both our bodies and our partners’ bodies; our minds and theirs.

Please share this post, or the above article. When we’re hurting others, and diminishing ourselves just to feel/be ‘normal something’s gone badly awry.

We need to choose better, because we can…

Ali Bee: “New World’s Dawning”

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Ha ha! Oh no that’s awful – kill her!! Ha ha!!! Damn, am I allowed to laugh at this? Kaveney, please give me a sign…

Bllleurrrghthhmmmthgrrtg. My brain just melted, please find me a soft cell (with others who share my gender identity, of course)…

GenderTrender

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Phoney Maloney

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Sickened by years of orchestrating brutality for profit, boxing promoter takes the only way out his little mind can conceive…

Maloney, who believes ‘she’ has always been female, nonetheless feels a need, or perhaps an obligation to resort to invoking a raft of feminine stereotypes in order to satisfy society’s expectations of said female-ness: dressing appropriately ‘feminine’, high heels and coiffure; adopting a suitably ‘female’ name…

‘hormone therapy, hundreds of hours of hair removal electrolysis, voice coaching’

One can scarcely miss the irony that Maloney dedicated his former life to a profession that, the armed forces aside exemplifies more than most, pure, unreconstructed masculinity. If one accepts the broad feminist analysis of ‘femininity’ as ritualized submission; then boxing surely represents its counterpart as ritualized domination. The prostitution of the male gender rôle. In this context, Maloney, where once he pimped others; now pimps himself: and it’s telling that he felt it necessary to ‘take a step down’ to do it.

In the former Maloney‘s world, you can beat the shit out of a guy and still adopt a position of ‘respect’. It’ll be interesting to see how he will fare in the face of the inevitable brickbats; whether from sexist reactionaries or feminists.

Can you imagine me walking into a boxing hall dressed as a woman and putting an event on? Can I (as a man) imagine Maggie Thatcher’s parliamentary career; or Rosa Parks taking her place on that bus? Well, no: but they did it, as women; unlike this chap; who clearly fell headlong into Orwell‘s memory hole.

What he has done in effect is to substitute one gender stereotype for another; a move which certain pundits describe as brave. Whether one accepts that or not, there’s surely an imperative to interrogate the nature and substance of said bravery?

The feeling of wanting to be like and dress like a woman has always been there,” she says. “I consciously made the decision that I wouldn’t dress like a woman but it was a constant urge.

Popular liberal doublethink rejects the notion of gender dichotomy in favour of a ‘spectrum’, fluid and various. What this spectral model fails to adequately address is why men – or former men, if you wish – are praised for said bravery upon coming out (i.e. rejecting their masculine rôle and affectations) whilst so many women are harshly-criticized, threatened and abused for rejecting the trappings of femininity.  Second-wave feminism has largely lost what political currency it once had precisely because it demands what so few politicians – and pundits – nowadays live in fear of doing: taking sides. Intellectual debate and heartfelt emotional commitment are subsumed in the mud of the political mainstream; the desperate grab for the vote; the popularity contest. A Bush-esque ‘with us or against us’ mentality, facilitated by social media has filtered down to the hoi polloi. ‘If you disagree with me, you must be a hater – and it’s never been easier to shoot that load of egotistical bile into the electronic ether, uninhibited by social conscience.

He certainly demonstrated little conscience with regard to his wife of 15 years, which in itself is unremarkable: unfaithful men rarely do.

We’re all sexist to some degree, because the socio-political environment in which we’re raised is. We start soaking it up long before we’re even aware of the fact. The ‘hardest’ of men, imprisoned for their criminal violence recreate gender – both deliberately and at least in part, subconsciously – within captivity, complete with female slurs and pronouns. The softest still rail – or not – against an internalized sense of entitlement and inadequacy, even as we try to do good.

In this context, it’s hard to entirely blame ex-boxers and ex-servicemen who abruptly announce to the world that they’ve really been female all along. They’ve been raised in a toxic environment where taking blame or otherwise exhibiting weakness is ‘other’. Feminine. Female. But the truth is out there, to quote X Files; and the reality is that ‘Frank Maloney‘ did make a handsome living from training young men to beat the shit out of each other: he’s exploited his position of ritual dominatrix in a way that makes his latterday ritualized submission a decidedly comfortable prospect compared to many less-privileged folk; and if we let him identify out of that responsibility we’ll be letting ourselves down.

Here’s another one that got away…

 

What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

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What Does Being “Cis” Mean For A Woman?

You’re gonna see more writing like this in the blogosphere as time goes on. Commentators who don’t necessarily present themselves as ‘radical’ yet who nonetheless find themselves kicking back against mainstream political morés in the face of undeserved, unasked-for hostility.
There are – admittedly imperfect, if not entirely unrelated – parallels here with Western political reactions to ‘Radical’ Islam: criticizing – or living outside the rules of – either religion in particular or patriarchy in general can be fraught with danger: the consequences or exercising freedom of speech and action literally life-threatening for gay men, lesbians, atheists, women in general.
But there’s a distinction to be made between Islam – or indeed Christianity, Judaism – as a monolithic political force and the actions of individuals within the doctrine. Recognizing that the proliferation of Tesco within ‘the market’ is not a healthy thing is not equal to a blanket condemnation of all its employees.

There are two strands to Islamophobia: common-or-garden racism – a mechanism of patriarchy in any case, albeit unacknowleged as such – and the conscious recognition of the (religious) monolith’s power.
Driving a wedge between women, and other potential dissenters has always been foremost amongst the ways that our military-industrial-consumerist-patriarchal rulers have maintained order.
On the basis that ‘the friend of my enemy is my enemy’, the liberal mainstream is very much the enemy of women; hence the enemy of social justice: a fact that might surprise many committed to the movement – or maybe not…
The Guardianistas will move on; memories of Moore, Burchill and Jeffries will fade from the public consciousness but the war against women, against social justice will continue.
Caroline Criado-Perez has put herself in the media firing line over and over. She has earned the right to be listened to. She is emphatically not a ‘hater’ in this overly-polarized, post-Bush ‘with us or against us’ media culture.
Read. You may even weep.

The significance of this current head-to-head, liberal versus radical ‘gender war’ is perhaps lost on many – even many in the thick of it – but make no mistake, it is the debate of our time.

Caroline Criado-Perez

Today I got a bit cross. I do that occasionally. I have been watching the non-binary versus feminism wars getting increasingly heated and thinking, one day, I’ll write a considered post on this. It is an important issue that deserves my time and effort – but it is such an important issue that it deserves time and effort that I simply don’t have today. So days go by and I say nothing. I tweet out articles by women far more cogent and intelligent than I am. I endorse them in the strongest possible terms. But it doesn’t feel enough. I feel like I’m ducking my feminist duty: the duty for women to SPEAK. To not feel scared and cowed. To not suffocate under the weight of not saying anything until that mythical perfect moment when all her ducks are in a row, when the sun is at the right point…

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.@Twitter: Optimised For Abuse

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The critics Criado-Perez refer to are as opposed to formal, legal relationship commitment as they are in favour of casual, domineering sexuality. Infer from that what you will, dear gender-sceptics…

Caroline Criado-Perez

Last summer I was the target of months of violent, misogynistic abuse. The abuse was widely reported, although the worst tweets (most of the tweets), were never broadcast or printed, because the media deemed them too offensive. This left me in the rather unfortunate position of not only being driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown from the fear and strain of hundreds of tweets  coming in every minute telling me I would be maimed, raped and killed, but also being targeted by people who thought I was being a delicate flower and couldn’t take a bit of off-colour banter, or “dissenting opinion”. Nevertheless, the media pressure was such, that twitter was reluctantly, eventually forced to act. They streamlined their reporting process by including a link on each tweet to report it for abuse, and automatically included the link for that tweet in the report form. For someone who was…

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The post-modern penis…

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…or indeed, the post modern-vagina

Seems the dagger and the scabbard have become interchangeable in this age of unreason. Who knew? Call  me old-fashioned but as a language-aficionado I like our words to mean something, and if the one word has multiple meanings at least let them not be contradictory….

For since records began ‘the tail has been male’: but no longer, it seems…

Bollocks, I say.

Linguistic disconnect evidences real-life disconnect: and disconnect is a core value of the male-centric socio-political system that led up to this violent, confused shitheap of a world which so many of its citizens seem so desperate to change; except no one can agree how, or what, or if it’s even possible.  Rape culture; animal torture; climate change; racism; war: connection? What connection?

Lib-fem-po-mo-trans-culture isn’t merely redefining language; it’s redefining the way we interact with out world. Or rather, it’s redefining – as in reducing – the power we feel we have to positively interact with our world. It’s old, conservative wine with a none-more-trendy, liberal label.

The Emperoress is resplendent in his her Kirsty Ward wardrobe. Look! No penis!

 

Gender role model

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‘This is not about gender…’

No? Legler‘s opening statements ‘I am a woman. I model men’s clothes’ immediately beg the question, ‘but are they men’s clothes, when a woman wears them?’ She’s a woman, and they’re her clothes, at least whilst she models them. Legler might not wish gender to be the focus of critical discussion around her position in the fashion world, much as Eminem might not have wished race to be the focus of critical discussion around his position (at least initially) in the hip hop world; but the reality of those worlds, and the world at large creates a certain inevitability that it will be so. The suggest otherwise seems disingenuous, as does her offense at ‘…the notion of being so removed from reality as to require a school for trends, and repulsed at the blatant attempt to co-opt and commodify culture for business profit over participation and engagement with it.’ Really? In the fashion industry?

‘To limit this conversation to the red herring of gender is dangerous, careless and nothing short of ignorant – it takes for granted the intelligence and wellbeing of our communities … It shames those who are gender-conformative and perpetuates a construct of homogeneity and belonging that is nothing short of destructive for our youth. It offers a false sense of privilege and ignorance to those who “fit” the norm (or trend) while potentially destroying those who don’t and ignoring those who are able to survive outside of it…’

There’s nothing false about the ignorance of those who ‘fit in’, nor the privilege they accrue; and there’s little to suggest they feel much in the way of shame about it. In any case, there’s a valid distinction to be made, I think, between ‘fitting in’ out of a desperation born of ignorance, and making an informed choice to live the same way. It’s not discussion around gender which is destroying anyone, so much as the fact of its existence and that too many people are too busy, lazy, scared or exploiting its opportunities to question it. No one is suggesting the conversation ought to be ‘limited’ to gender; indeed, the inclusion of gender in any conversation seems guaranteed to open up and delimit discourse, if taken in earnest.

‘…There is a historical tradition you should know about and it is certainly not about gender. It is about being fierce… [t]he cultural context further supports this wider angled discourse on the acceptance of difference (or lack thereof) beyond the specifics of female-masculinity and masculine-feminity and posits the isolated focus on gender as incorrect.’

There’s something inevitably contradictory in these kind of statements. One wonders what ‘historical tradition’ Legler is referring to which is ‘certainly not about gender’. Whilst the lens of history and changing social mores have done much to rehabilitate ‘fierce’ women safely consigned to the past – e.g. Joan of Arc – fierceness is still overwhelmingly perceived/prized as a ‘masculine’ quality; i.e. appropriate to men. Tabloids and the public (male and female) revel in denouncing confident, assertive women as ‘cold’, ‘hard-nosed bitches’, ‘predatory’ and the like, whilst continuing to laud similarly-qualified men. Modes of behaviour and attire are frequently, if not always judged thru a gendered lens; twice-gendered in fact; depending on the sex of beholder and beholden. In a world free of such divisive social constructs Legler’s career as a model would be considered unremarkable, much less newsworthy. If she is taken to heart as a role model by those striving for ‘acceptance of difference’ as seems to be her aim that is all well and good; that she couches her argument using terms such as men’s/women’s clothes; masculine-femininity/feminine-masculinity and describes herself as butch demonstrates how far off we are from being able to get past gender. That such linguistic and imaginative shortcuts are probably necessary and still make any sense to us demonstrates how far off we are from getting past gender. I read a comment on another blog recently (neglected to bookmark it – doh! but will try and dig it out) from a butch lesbian expressing consternation that so few people apprehended the difference between (her) rejecting traditional feminine behaviour and attire and co-opting masculinity. To be butch, she posited was less about being masculine per-se than expressing a natural state of female-ness untrammeled by patriarchal norms of expectation. In an egalitarian world, she suggested – to approving comments from other posters – all women might be like this. Whilst Legler cautions against ‘…taking for granted the intelligence of our communities…’ her sartorial and identity choices are likely open to the same kind of misinterpretation… because gender. It’s pervasive to the extent that male and masculine, female and feminine are inextricably linked in most people’s minds, even many who consider themselves open-minded and liberal to a fault.

In a HuffPo article inspired by a dream, shortly prior to her death, Danielle Kaufman M.D. declared unequivocally Male Organ Or Not, This Really Is A Female Body. Gender sceptics might beg to differ, of course; but we’ll leave that debate for another day, and I touch on it only because Kaufman‘s florid testimony evidences strains of the same kind of confusion that arises when one attempts to confront gender on liberal terms, to redefine away the complexities of nature and nurture. The statement ‘I am a woman [and] I model men’s clothes’ makes no more sense to the gender sceptic than Kaufman‘s (above). To be fair, Legler makes no bones about entering a man’s world as a woman, though the phenomenon of butch women embracing full-on (faux) masculinity-as-survival-tactic is being increasingly reported. People in that siyuation, who have the most to lose under gender also have the most to gain by seeing the likes of Legler successfully negotiating it, maybe? (Or maybe that’s what’s making me uneasy here; she’s negotiating the diktats of gender to her advantage, kinda like men do… Does that make me perceptive or just more sexist than I care to admit: over to you prospective reader). At 6’2″ with her chiselled features, sculpted hair and fierce demeanor, feminine is not the first word one would reach for to describe Legler. I’d wager that any number of spectators on the fashion circuit wouldn’t clock her as a woman at all – a fact which perhaps brings her some amusement as well as satisfaction:

‘If images of me out there in the world make it that much easier for another kid, and the kids around them or their parents, to get on with the more important business of figuring out who they are and how they can uniquely contribute to the stream of life, then my job is done.’

How can this not be read as a statement on gender? On gender non-conformity in particular.

The main take-out for me on this subject is that our words need to reflect both our reality and our aspirations. Wishing for good (and bad) qualities to be recognized simply as universal human qualities is somewhat futile when the language we use undermines our intent. To describe a quality as feminine is axiomatically going to demean it in a world where female is valued less than male: denying that it is ‘about gender’ cannot gloss over such deep-seated connotations. One might dream of a day when ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are simply used in jargonistic parlance when discussing the anatomy of intersex people; paralleling the way Caucasoid and Negroid are respectable terms in scientific literature, but not polite conversation. But we are not there yet.

When Legler and her peers can simply state ‘I am a woman (or just someone) modelling clothes’ we will have arrived.