Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...

Often startled, frequently amused, sometimes scared; rarely speechless. Can be found at witchywoo22@yahoo.co.uk

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Women hating...

...women.

I got so cross earlier this week. We were watching 'Room 101' and Sarah Cox was in the hot seat. For those outside the UK; Room 101 is a BBC TV programme hosted by Paul Merton - a (usually) funny comedian - where minor celebs appear and list half a dozen or so 'things that irritate them beyond belief' in an effort to get them consigned to oblivion by convincing Mr Merton and the audience that their particular bugbears are too difficult for anyone to live with/shouldn't be allowed in civilised society...you get the drift...

Sarah Cox is an ex model now DJ-ing a mainstream BBC breakfast radio show and, if I remember rightly, was in the press sometime last year bemoaning the fact that men no longer whistle at her in the street now she's pushing a pram. She's known in the Brit media as a 'ladette' (not a good label) but she refuted that on the show.

One of the 'things' she wanted to be consigned to Room 101 was '19 year old girls'. Her rationale was that they're young and have 'fit' bodies and men, including her partner (the father of her child) lust after them. Apparently, on more than one occasion she's had cause to dig him in the ribs when a 'fit bird' was walking by and say something to the tune of "Oi! I saw that."

Like that's the girl's fault?

Seems to me that we are all so socially entrenched in cultural-normative patriarchal hatred of women that even some women are unaware that they're complicit in the denegration of their own sex. Rather than question her partner's privilege and sense of entitlement to reduce any old nineteen year old [only-just-a] woman who walks past him to the status of his current fantasy fuck, Ms Cox prefers to berate the high scoring 'object' of her partner's fuckability rating. Why?

The whole world revolves around the phallus (one way or another) it seems.

We have women saying that "pornography for women" is a 'good' thing - even if the images of women that it contains are not, intrinsically, any different to those depicted in the mainstream, made-for-men porn that distorts and defines women's sexuality into something that is so totally alien to most women it actually scares us. Whether it's lesbian pornography or pornography supposedly made for straight women it's still about the supposed availability of women's genitalia; it's still about women getting fucked; and it's still about women getting fucked over - only it's women doing the fucking over! Like that makes a 'feminist' difference? Most viewers are still going to be men anyway: men getting off on the 'feminist' corner they've forced women into because men, more than women, pay to see women's bodies being fucked; men, more than women get off on sexualised visuals of the current power dynamic. Most women regard our bodies as just the vehicle that we walk around in - the thing that enables us to live our lives.

A couple of points.

If this 'pornography for women' actually is for women, why on Earth would women want to be getting off on images of other women's bodies being degraded, hurt and abused? Why on Earth would women who call themselves feminists find images of other women conforming to patriarchal definitions of their sexuality sexually titillating?

Oh, sorry, I forgot. That patriarcial cultural norm - women hating. It really is so ingrained and pervasive that some women actually believe it's true!

Like the prostitution thing.

Some women actually believe they made a 'free' choice to become a prostitute - yunno, so they could get their kids through school and all that jazz. And that that somehow makes them 'different' from the drug addicted woman who has to prostitute herself to fund her addiction or the woman trapped and trafficked into prostitution to make wonga for her pimp.

I say 'don't kid yourself, baby', the patriarchy is forcing you to fund whatever it is you need on its own terms. Children, rent, drugs, a loan, food, a roof over your head, protection from the next beating/rape, school fees, a lifestyle ... whatever - keep women in poverty and there's an endless supply of cunt on which to perpetrate the ideology and act out the hatred. It might make you feel better to say you 'chose' prostitution but, in all honesty hon, you're the only one who cares about this aspect of you - the rest of us are caring about womenkind.

Some women actually defend sexual slavery. Some women don't care to look past their own personal situation. Some women say "I've been there, honey" with absolutely no acknowledgement at all of how all women are somehow placed in a similar situation - how we're all placed, as women, in patriarchy; as though defending the dearth of women's free choice is tantamount to denying women's free choice full stop. Well have I got news for you, honey...women do not posess the human right to 'free' choice' because (and it only takes two seconds to examine it) women are not considered to be human beings under patriarchy.

I don't want to believe that there are women who hate women. I'm a woman - and I work with and for women - but I do believe that there are women who are more prepared to believe and go along with the lies that are told about women by the patriarchy than what is said about their lives by real women themselves. I understand all that 'identifying with the dominant ideology' stuff that Sarah Cox does but I really, really wonder how women who claim to be feminists can promote it without even a pang of "Oh shit, my sisters" - with no acknowledgement at all of those women whose bodies and lives are being sacrificed in order that they can be totally mainstream, hip, right on, patriarchial feminists.

Seems a tad arse about face to me.

9 Comments:

  • At 7:54 AM, Blogger asdgasdfaserwe said…

    I was going to suggest we put patriarchy in Room 101, but that would be like a symbolic acceptance of the choices presented by patriarcy itself. My actual choice is to not watch TV at all.

    I find this notion of free choice a rather immature one, not in terms of it being juvenile, but in terms of not having reflected over the world we live in. Men created prostitution and they maintain it. It cannot be stressed enough: as long as men are trading in women's bodies, we all have a price.

    At the end of the day though, I hate seeing women arguing about this because we are not the ones with the power and I hate the fact that we, as anti-porstitution feminists, are seen as the ones standing in the way of women. Men are the only ones with the power to stand in the way of women.

     
  • At 11:50 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Yunno Witchy, you make so much sense I often sit here nodding but I can't think of anything to put as a comment. Yet I feel the need to comment.

    How mad is that? Anyway, sitting here nodding again!

     
  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger spotted elephant said…

    Witchy-woo, what a beautiful post.

     
  • At 7:37 PM, Anonymous hypnorainbow said…

    How blind can someone be? If Sarah Cox just stopped to think about it for a second, she'd realise that getting rid of the 19 year old girls (just for existing apparently) would not get rid of the underlying problem. Every time I hear a woman say something like this...it makes me so sad.

     
  • At 1:37 AM, Anonymous Pony said…

    "If this 'pornography for women' actually is for women, why on Earth would women want to be getting off on images of other women's bodies being degraded, hurt and abused? Why on Earth would women who call themselves feminists find images of other women conforming to patriarchal definitions of their sexuality sexually titillating?"

    What an excellent post. So many good points.

    To another poster:

    I also don't want to slam other women, but it's not necessary. She's not theh one making the choices. Her loving partner the porn-addled dude is. This porn-for-women that isn't has to be called out.

    You just have to look at the images to see who this is for: like I'm going to get off on another woman's subjugation.

    And speaking as a heterosexual woman with a very good libido: Another woman (wearing fuck-me shoes no less) fingering herself in a theatre doesn't do it for me. But then, I was never the intended audience.

     
  • At 9:30 AM, Blogger Spc. Freeman said…

    I think a problem that faces modern feminism, like many ideologies, is that the value system of the existing power structure leaves an imprint of that of the new movement. Accordingly, movements such as feminism are unable to define themselves except as in relation (or in this case, opposition) to the old paradigm. A suitable analogy would be to compare modern feminism's use of old patriarchal concepts to that of Lakota and Dakota nations coming to use the term "Sioux" to describe themselves collectively, even though the word is based on the word for "enemy" used by their rival nation, the Algonquin.

    We drape ourselves in the vestments handed down to us by the enemy. And since those vestments are woven from threads of language and cultural worldview, we are unable to shed them, without inventing completely new terms or conceptions to replace them. Until we can truly shed these vestments, feminism as a movement is doomed to be hobbled. We define ourselves by what we stand against, sometimes, more than what we stand FOR.

    For more thought on the subject, may I recommend the works of Daniel Quinn. Brilliant author; examines the history of existing human social dynamics, all disguised as fictional allegory. While not immediately related to feminism, I think his work does offer some direct insights into the problems facing movements such as feminism. In particular, check out "Ishmael" and "My Ishmael," in that order. Hope that proves useful. Cheers.

     
  • At 9:48 AM, Blogger Spc. Freeman said…

    Pony,

    Perhaps you're right. It occurs me that that part of the debate centers around the language used in said debate. Being a young male, I tend to use the word porn, since that's the term I grew up with. But perhaps I shouldn't. Perhaps that's part of the problem.

    But what, then, of erotic art? CAN two people, of any gender, be depicted engaging in coitus in such a manner that doesn't demean either? I think it certainly can. But since visual erotica has been with us since the Willendorf, I think that modern feminist thought still needs to examine what erotic art that doesn't demean women actually looks like.

    Perhaps you're right. If that's the case, then I'm willing to accept that I might be wrong. Consider my stance modified. But I still think that there are questions on this subject that we've been afraid to ask, for fear not being somehow "untrue" to our ideology.

    *shrug* Just my thoughts.

     
  • At 10:57 PM, Blogger Z said…

    'I think that modern feminist thought still needs to examine what erotic art that doesn't demean women actually looks like.'

    I happen to think that is a very good point.

    :)

    Take care all,

     
  • At 3:59 PM, Blogger simply wondered said…

    yes patriarchy into Room 101 - nice idea, FF, but perhaps not so heavy on the laughs. The sort of thing Will Self would do (tho he stuck to caravan sites I think when he was on it). I'm sure there ARE women who hate women and men who hate women and vice versa...- people hate all kinds of things (cheap psycho bit - probably hating aspect of self - ok cheap bit over)and there are good resons for hating individuals that i think we extrapolate into bad reasons for hating whole categories (can't really see any advantage in hating half the population?). And whether we are trading in womens' bodies or not (let's stop, though)in a capitalist society we are all up for sale, it's just the price that varies.
    Now what I actually came (oops a very oppressive word to use, sorry) to post about:I don't think women getting fucked is inextricably linked with women getting fucked over. If that were the case, once you had elimanted all views objectifying woman as mere hole to be fucked, women would automatically start getting their fair shout. That can't be right, can it???
    And if FF can tell me exactly how as a man I'm standing in the way of Women, then I'll gladly get out of it - don't want to get knocked over in that particular flow of traffic. I'm not saying I'm not automatically standing in the way of every woman - I just can't work out how. (I would be juvenile and say 'it's not as if they're all going to trip over my penis', but that's just getting silly)(and yet I said it.)
    Head over parapet and awaiting volleys of disagreement...

     

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