This week in things we’ve not had time to post properly about

// 10 July 2008

The 60th Carnival of Feminists is out now! This issue is over at Unmana’s Words and features lots of posts from Indian bloggers – The Life and Times of an Indian Home Maker on joint families is particularly interesting.

Jezebel bloggers Moe and Tracie (who posts as ‘Slutmachine’) were interviewed in front of a live audience, and the whole internet. They were drunk, and said stupid things – Tracie said that she’s never been date raped because she’s smart, and the men in her area are not assertive. The interviewer said things that were just as stupid – including chastising Moe, again, in front of a studio audience and the whole internet, for not reporting being raped. Feministing has the whole story.

Remember that post of Sinclair’s at Sugarbutch Chronicles we linked to last week, about who to trust on the Internet? Well, Renegade Evolution has uncovered a really good example of this – a male blogger who identifies as a radical feminist, and is still posting as a radical feminist, even after pleading guilty to filming an unconscious female student’s breast, and said he assaulted her. Via Galling Galla, who has links to lots of blog coverage of this incident.

South End Press, which publishes work by greats such as bell hooks, is struggling to stay afloat and urging fans to join its Community Supported Publishing initiative.

Men also have a biological clock, reports the Guardian. Will this be an end to those panic-stricken articles about women, and only women, leaving it too long to have kids, thanks to their selfish desire for a career?! Or will they be accompanied by similar articles about men? We’ll see, eh?

Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems, is pushing for action on homophobic bullying in schools – Lesbilicious has more.

Meanwhile, Comment is Free is running a series this week on women’s role in the public sphere. Check out Diane Abbott’s post about her experiences in feminist groups dominated by white, middle-class women:

But, in practice, the unrelentingly white and middle-class nature of the modern women’s movement has repelled many of us. Inspired by Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan, I joined my first women’s group in my teens. I felt a little out of place among the white suburban housewives, but I persevered. However, when they started planning a fundraiser that featured a black male stripper, their knowing sniggers got to me and I fled. As a Cambridge undergraduate, I tried again. I was the only black woman in the student-only group, but that was OK. Then they decided to invite a woman “from the town” to talk. The way my fellow students stared at that poor working-class woman, as if she was a laboratory specimen, was too much for me and I terminated my involvement with the formal woman’s movement.

Meanwhile Ala at Pickled Politics questions the focus on getting more women into Parliament, and into power more generally.

brandnewfeminist lays into some research apparently ‘proving’ that millions of pounds in productivity are lost every summer as a result of male workers getting distracted by what their female colleagues are wearing. As BNF puts it: “Women get blamed again. This time for the recession.”

David Cameron thinks the poor are to blame for being poor. And fat people should just quit eating so much. This is seriously worrying, considering the likelihood of him being elected next time around.

US surgeons compare women to cars; opt for more invasive and dangerous hysterectomy technique because it pays more! See MORAG and Our Bodies Our Blog for more.

Shakesville digs into why people react badly to the idea of dolls with disabilities.

Photo by gaelx, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

Anne Onne // Posted 10 July 2008 at 2:05 pm

That really distasteful (but not overly surpising) story of the fake-feminist reminds me of why I see feminism as a religion, in a way. Like religion, it’s something that affects your life in a big way, it’s how you look at things, how you think of things, not something you can switch off. More importantly, like religion, being feminist, and saying you’re feminist are two different things. Like you might get some members of a religion (say, Christianity) saying that they’re devout, follow all their rules, are nice people etc, but who are actually beneath the surface carrying on with everything they accuse other people of doing and ‘believe’ to be sinful, or are just plain nasty, so you may get feminists who call themselves feminists, but when you actually look at their actions, they are pretty blatantly misogynistic.

I do think there’s a difference between struggling with the human capacity to err, and out and out letting yourself do something you say is wrong because you want to. Assaulting an unconsious woman is inexcusible, and someone who says they are for equality and respecting women should know better! I’m just glad it’s out, and hope the feminist movement doesn’t give him the time of day, unless he does a lot of work to deserve it. Too often abusers are brought back as if they did nothing wrong, with too little a thought to the impact on the people they abused.

In other news, David Cameron has shown, again, that he’s a slimy, untrustworthy politician, who has nobody’s interests but his own in mind.

And I really think the US needs an NHS. Seriously, don’t their surgeons get enough money that they need to be forcing people into ever more complicated, invasive procedures for the cash? Everywhere else, doctors are trying for shorter, safer, less invasive procedures. And funny for the mostly male surgeons to wonder why more women aren’t leaping at the chance to have surgical equipment stuck up their vaginas when it’s perfectly possible to have the operation donce via the abdomen. They really have no frigging clue. How about this, guys, next time you need a prostate operation, le’t do it via threading equipment up your penis! It’s shocking they they never considered what their patients would be most comfortable with in their assesments of which route to go for.

I would love to see dolls with disabilities. Also, dolls of all shapes and colours. It means a lot to children to have dolls like them, characters like them and the like, and this faffing around is silly. People like those in the Daily Mail (why is it always the Mail?) who complain that the dolls are “grotesque”, “sick and patronizing”, and “disrespectful” are actually saying that disabled people are all of the above. Because that’s what it amounts to in the end. Should disabled people have the same visibility as everyone else? Should they have people like them in the media and in toys? And the answer should be YES.

RenegadeEvolution // Posted 10 July 2008 at 2:26 pm

Thanks for including my post on Kyle Payne. I’ve got a list of links for bloggers who have discussed him, it can be found here:

I’ll be updating it as I find more posts on him.

E-Visible Woman // Posted 10 July 2008 at 2:51 pm

Regarding the woman-abusing fake-feminist, that’s clearly awful and really disturbing… but I’m also disturbed by Ren’s use of this as an excuse to discredit anti-pornography feminism.

Rachel // Posted 10 July 2008 at 3:25 pm

“Men also have a biological clock, reports the Guardian. Will this be an end to those panic-stricken articles about women, and only women, leaving it too long to have kids, thanks to their selfish desire for a career?! Or will they be accompanied by similar articles about men? We’ll see, eh?”

I predict it will result in more panic-stricken articles about men and their great desire to have kids, only to be thwarted by selfish women who’d rather chase after a career when they should be tamely incubating. Why would the media pass up such an opportunity for women to get the blame coming and going?

Torygirl // Posted 10 July 2008 at 3:34 pm

I’m sure Kyle Payne’s seminars on the destructive effects of pornography were impassioned as he knows them first hand.

I’m disgusted by that because it’s not just a bizarre internet persona he’s developed but an entirely fake self.

Torygirl // Posted 10 July 2008 at 3:42 pm

Regarding dolls with disabilities, I think we have some way to go before they’d get mainstream… Given that my 2 year old daughter was given a set of 4 “Things People Do” puzzles from the Early Learning Centre. All four were white and the jobs they feature are ‘policeman’, ‘postman’, ‘fireman’ and ‘nurse’. Guess which one is female!

I was shocked – this is 2008 for pity’s sake and we should be seeing the inclusion of a wider range of representations, including disability, but instead, the Early Learning Centre is at square one and hasn’t even addressed race and gender.

nonny mouse // Posted 10 July 2008 at 4:12 pm

Ren isn’t trying to discredit anti-porn feminism, she said

“And sure, you can go ahead and question my motives all you like, after all, according to many-a-anti-porn advocate, women in the sex industry speaking of their own experiences, unless they are the right experiences, cannot be trusted. We have sketchy motives and vested interests and what not, however, Kyle Payne’s actions speak for themselves.”

Not discrediting, mkay?

Jennifer-Ruth // Posted 10 July 2008 at 4:15 pm

E-Visible Woman: yes, that disturbed me too, but specifically on Galling Galla’s post.

RenegadeEvolution // Posted 10 July 2008 at 7:19 pm

I’m not sure how me calling out Kyle Payne, linking to a whole bunch of anti porn feminist blogs who have done the same, and thanking them for it, counts as me trying to discredit anti-porn feminism, but then again, I pretty much cannot get out of bed in the morning without being accused of doing something horrible.

In any event, I’m pleased the truth about Kyle Payne is now out there.

Caroline // Posted 10 July 2008 at 7:57 pm

“I’m also disturbed by Ren’s use of this as an excuse to discredit anti-pornography feminism.”

– ??? Where on earth have you seen her use this as an excuse to discredit anti-porn feminism???

S // Posted 10 July 2008 at 9:31 pm

No Ren is not. She’s raising awareness about this asshole so he doesn’t get away with it.

If there are any questions about anti-porn feminists – well that for you to think about – especially why people like Kyle Payne are able to gain people’s confidence by spouting a certain type of rhetoric in order to abuse.

Shea // Posted 10 July 2008 at 10:33 pm

Yes! I knew it –“call me Dave” Cameron is a worthless self agrandising w*nker of the nth degree. All this “we’ve changed, we like poor people and the environment now” is such total crap- at least Labour could convincingly pretend to be socialist, but Cameron et al are showing their true colours. The sad part is, they will probably still get into power, as people in this country get more and more materialistic and less and less altruistic.

To tie in with the hysterectomy post, its desperate that we protect the NHS and resist the current privatisation by stealth, because clearly, a privatised system will especially affect women. Its not just that surgeons elect for more dangerous surgeries, its that they elect to do procedures, like hysterectomies when there is no reason to do so (beyond financial, obviously). Its a complete abuse of trust, but sadly too common over in the US. So we need to fight it in this country tooth and nail.

Milly // Posted 11 July 2008 at 12:43 am

Hey, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I was watching this story from another feminist website (sorry, I can’t remember which one!) and thought you might be interested.

A British couple in Dubai have been arrested for having sex in public and indecent behaviour. As far as I can see, the woman, Ms Michelle Palmer, was also arrested for assaulting a police officer, and both of them face up to six years in jail. Yet every story on the couple seems to be: woman arrested for public sex, could go to jail for six years. The male, Vince Charming, barely features in the story at all. Richard Littlejohn, writing in the Daily Mail, asks why the woman didn’t expect to be arrested – as if the man had nothing to do with any of it! It seems that all of the papers are blaming Ms. Palmer for having sex on the beach and forgetting the sacred rule that “it takes two to tango”. I thought that it was a very interesting look at how the media views women and sexuality: when things go wrong, the woman is to blame. She’s either led the man on, or, conversely, has been too weak and simply followed the man: both portrayals present women in a negative light. In this case, it’s clearly the former presentation – Ms Palmer is a woman who appears to enjoy sex, who has had sex in public, who has (unfortunately to some, not to others) been arrested for it, and who is clearly “enjoying” the consequences of media vilification. She’s even been fired from her job. Mr Charming is ignored, remains unchastised and is basically let off the hook. A classic example of gender inequality in the media if I ever saw one!

Renee // Posted 11 July 2008 at 12:44 am

I am really disgusted with the Jezebel ladies. It falls into what I call colluding behavior. When women act out like this they are supporting patriarchy and it is dangerous. When someone can say that they don’t feel threatened by their rapist, or that they paid someone to rape them, it belittles women that are raped and supports the idea that rape is no big deal. Men look for stuff like this to justify their behavior…sure I can say this or do that look so and so said it is okay and she’s a woman. Men don’t need anymore help to marginalize, exploit and rape women.

Anne Onne // Posted 11 July 2008 at 1:07 am

Before this turns into an argument on the pros and cons of anti-porn feminism (or whatever you want to call it) vs non-anti-porn feminism, let’s try to remember this is not about, nor was RenegadeEvolution’s post about all anti-porn feminists. The issue at hand was about one specific person calling themselves a feminist, an anti-porn and radical feminist, even, who filmed and photographed the breast of an unconsious woman. This is an action that is both against his reportedly very anti-porn stance, and against his stance as a feminist. Because believing women should be equal, and have a right to privacy have nothing to do with his actions.

Yes, there are feminists who disagree with anti-porn feminism, just as there are feminists who disagree with sex-positive feminism. But that doesn’t mean that each group won’t have real concerns, and real reasons to critique individuals belonging to their own, or the opposite camp. In this case we saw feminists who are not anti-porn criticising a supposedly anti-porn feminist for his hypoctitical, abusive actions, and their questioning the motives of some anti-porn feminists. I didn’t see any big banners declaring that all anti-porn feminists are liars.

What I do see is concern at the thought that such a person is clearly seen to be the untrustworthy misogynist they are. Granted, there may be no love lost between some groups of feminists, but I don’t think that it always follows that any criticism of other feminists is trying to discredit a whole chunk of the movement.

Whilst I wish both sides of a contentious issue could agree that at least most of them have women’s best interests in mind, though they approach the issue with different perspectives, I guess in the end, there’s probably too much hurt pride and human failings on both sides to come to any meaningful agreement for a lot of people.

Lisa Harney // Posted 11 July 2008 at 3:37 am

Ren’s not trying to discredit anyone but Kyle, and she (and others) would be posting about this no matter the flavor of feminism Kyle professes. He’s a predator and a liar, and all of this blogging is about the fact that he puts up this front while he victimizes women. This is [i]not[/i] about you, E-visible Woman, or about any other feminist woman who’s for or against pornography.

Deborah // Posted 11 July 2008 at 8:56 am

Four English rugby players are alleged to have raped a woman while they were on tour in New Zealand. As soon as the story came out, the victim-blaming and victim-tarring started.

Here’s a newspaper story about it: – warning: this may be triggering.

And here’s a superb post about it by New Zealand feminist blogger

Queen of Thorns.

Sian // Posted 11 July 2008 at 12:09 pm

Cameron=leopard+spots=terrifying as probably our next Prime Minister.

Hurrah Lib Dems! I’m straight, but I got LOADS of homophobic bullying in school because I wore boys hand-me-downs, I had a name that is similar to a boy’s name, and I was slow at doing the boyfriend thing. And because kids are horrific about homophobia, you heard it thrown about hourly (and I only left school in 2003).

Loved Diane Abbott’s thing. I’ve personally experienced the class stuff loads.

Jennifer-Ruth // Posted 11 July 2008 at 12:46 pm


I have never really visited your blog, so I don’t know what you mean about not being able to get out of bed without being accused of something horrible. I just felt that you had certain…issues that came out in your post.

You started a paragraph with “And sure, you can go ahead and question my motives all you want…” – which just seemed to come totally out of the blue. As if you were expecting anti-porn feminists to be in support of this guy!

In the comments you say “If they don’t denounce this guy? Wow…” – why *wouldn’t* they? As I said, I don’t read your blog so I don’t know what is going on with you and radical feminists, but it is an awful thing to assume of anyone.

You comments also have quite a few people sneering at the “compnay” anti-porn feminists keep. WTF?!

I felt that Galling Galla’s post was also using this opportunity to have a go at radical feminists. I don’t get it. Why?

I’m probably just missing out on some information here but it just all came across as very unfair.

Lynne Miles // Posted 11 July 2008 at 12:58 pm

I’m just having a look at this now …

Laurel Dearing // Posted 11 July 2008 at 2:01 pm

deborah, did i hear they got a fine? a FINE?! well that’ll pay for re-instatement of humanity…

BareNakedLady // Posted 11 July 2008 at 5:27 pm

And the fword got a mention on the Guardian series, as well :)

Qubit // Posted 11 July 2008 at 7:40 pm

Why do people hate feminism so much? The article is so neutral and positive about things you’d actually have to make an attempt to be offended but somehow people still manage it.

I also find it odd that people think feminism should concentrate so much on the inequalities men suffer. While I agree they should be given attention I don’t think women’s issues should be ignored to cover just men’s issues. I think at the most they should get equal coverage.

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