Posts Tagged misogyny

Corporations No Longer Need Republicans To Do Their Bidding

The greedy, corporate, tax-evading pricks over at Apple Inc.said that they will not offer computers and other technological support to the Republican National Convention this coming July because of Trump’s comments about women, immigrants and minorities. The decision by one of the United States’ largest and most popular companies is the biggest corporate defection from the Republican convention, where the party will formally nominate Donald Trump.

News outlets and Clinton supporters are beside themselves with joy, seeing this as a significant win for progressive groups, which are pressuring major companies to boycott the convention over Trump.

And I am beside myself with outrage at how fucking naive and stupid people actually are.

The truth of the matter is that Apple will not endorse the RNC, not because of Trump’s stance on women and immigrants, whom they could not give a flying fuck about given their track record of running slave labor overseas and evading taxes here, but becasue Apple and all these corporations don’t need the Republicans anymore to do their bidding!!!

Hillary will be taking care of that from now on, just like she always has been.

And you know why? Because Hillary Fucking Clinton is a corporate shill and essentially a moderate Republican. She would have been a rising star in Ronald Reagan’s administration.

I really cannot believe how utterly deluded and naive people are. I cannot believe that they are buying this bullshit about corporations like Apple and all having finally turned a new leaf.

They have not.

And they are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, or because they care about immigrants, women, blacks or anyone. They are doing it becasue a Clinton presidency is not going to hurt their bottom line, and they know it.  They do not care what the party they support is called as long as it helps them.

I mean, even the Koch Brothers have endorsed Clinton. the KOCH BROTHERS, who are the poster child of sinister corporate greed.

People need to realize that all those Republicans distancing  themselves from Trump are not doing so becasue they necessarily disagree with Trump’s stances on women, immigrants, the poor, blacks and what have you. They do so because the crass way Trump says things makes them look back. It is much harder to get even stupid people on your side and to vote against their own self interest when you are blatantly homophobic, misogynistic and racist and thus bigoted.

Trump is not saying anything out loud that the Republicans have not been dog-whistling about to their constituents and “shareholders” and creating policies for, for decades now using polite language and euphemisms. They just don’t like him becasue Trump’s crassness is so off-putting to people.

And the goes for Apple.

It would look really bad for Apple Inc to endorse Trump. No one would buy the stupid, overpriced shit anymore and people would start boycotting them too.

I am really dismayed at the state of affairs lately. It is like everyone has fallen into this collective stupor that does not allow them to see things for what they are. It is like as a nation we are digging ourselves ever deeper into a mess of our own creation.

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Purity Balls and the Guardians of Vaginas

PurityIn case you did not already know (and I did not know) purity balls [insert your own joke here]  – where “ball” refers to a social gathering or dance, such as a prom, not a hairy gonad as I first thought – are a religious rite wherein girls pledge not to have sex until they’re married. 

Photographer  David Magnusson captures the, creepy, may I add,  institution of the Purity Ball in pictures where young girls pose with their fathers who glow with pride at the thought that their little girl’s vagina is safe and sound in their arms, protected from the evil penis.

Purity

It’s like the fathers own their daughter’s vaginas (just like they think they own every woman’s uterus and vagina and everything) and they are holding that “high priced” possession, that family heirloom, in front of them, like a trophy, so that everyone really understands that this vagina here, with the woman/daughter attached to it, really is theirs to give away  and do with what they want, and no one else’s.  The guardians of the pussy, the purveyors of all of womanhood’s sexual organs.

Purity

I must say that this one of the most fucked, creepiest and most inappropriate things have I have seen in a long while. It is amazing that this is a real thing in the world.

Now, many of you may agree that this is messed up and creepy and think that this sort of thing is confined to a few lunatics on the fringe, the extremes.

But it is not.

Purity

A lot of men, especially Christian men, do believe they have some kind of a say to and ownership rights over a woman’s body and what a woman does with her body – vagina and uterus included-  especially if that woman is a relative or spouse.

Just enter the world of anti-choice legislation where women are treated as incubators who apparently owe the world babies.

Also look at how women in porn, for example, are referred to as “whores” and, generally, a culture that places a woman’s value as a human being between her legs, which is why porn stars are viewed as whores and thus worthless. In fact, any woman who is confident in her sexuality and has a sex life similar or comparable to that of a man is valued as less than women who are “virtuous.”

The Purity Ball images by Magnusson are a stark, obscene and visual depiction of the culture of misogyny.

The same culture that puts rape victims on trial; the same culture that values a fetus more than it values the person carrying it; the same culture that works hard to subvert a woman’s agency and bodily autonomy by closing abortion clinics or else working on taking away a woman’s right to choose, which includes access to affordable and safe abortions.

It is the same culture that disbelieves rape victims and puts them on trial as opposed to the perpetrator; the same culture that pays women less than their male counterparts for the same work; the same culture that pays for a man’s erection pills, penis pumps and vasectomies, but takes a woman’s access to birth control pills to the Supreme Court so that some dusty old relics who neither have uteri and whose penises haven’t been functioning for years can decide whether insurance companies should pay for that woman’s birth control; the same culture that holds women to standards men are rarely held to. Note that there are no sons in any of these images, only daughters.

Purity

It is easy to view and dismiss misogyny as a relic of the past, as something that is going away, as something that only “those extremist” nut jobs engage in.

However, when talking about and looking at misogyny and the mechanisms and institutions, as well as mind-sets, that perpetuate and uphold it – in very real policy terms, it becomes apparent just how deeply misogyny is ingrained and interwoven into our society, determining ultimately how we treat women.

In other words, Purity Ball images, as creepy and amusing they may be, are not the only depictions of misogyny. They are a blatant and obvious part of it, something we can point the finger at and ridicule, even admonish, but it does not end there because misogyny is real everyday for countless women and it is deeply ingrained in our society and its institutions, from gendered slurs, jibes and insults to unequal pay and everything in between.

It is real for your daughter, your mother, your sister, your female girl-friend, your grandmother, your wife and battling it requires awareness every step of the way not just when some messed up fathers pose for pictures with their daughters whom they have shamed into thinking that sex is a terrible, sinful  thing and that it was their job, a man’s job, to tell them what to do with their bodies. These girls, when they do get older, will then just replace their fathers who tell them what to do with their bodies, with another man, such as a boyfriend, spouse or a Justice of the United Stated Supreme Court.

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The Mechanisms of Gender Inequality in Health Care

Do you suffer from erectile dysfunction? Do you have a hard time getting hard and good? Do you need a penis pump, also known as a “vacuum erection device” because you cannot go the pill route? (something which can also, quite conveniently, serve as a masturbatory aide. *wink*). Do you maybe need a penile implant because pharmaceuticals and penis pumps cannot get you hard and good? Are you done with having kids or simply do not wish to go down that route and need a vasectomy?

Well, worry no more as all of these procedures are covered by health-insurance, no questions asked- in case you missed that in all the cacophony surrounding  the things that health insurance should not cover (or does not cover) for women, such as birth-control and abortions. Some of them, such as the penis pump, are even covered by your handy Medicare.

If, as a man, you did not know that these items, devices and procedures are covered by most private insurances (and Medicare) then, quite frankly, I don’t blame you. After all, what reason would you have to question a society that so perfectly suits your needs?

Where your mere sex does not render you a ‘liability”, a “pre-existing condition” as far as insurance and access to medical care is concerned?

A society where you get to make your own health care decisions (within the confines of privately-run health-care schemes) for yourself without entities such as employers, a dusty clergy and legislators constantly feeling like they are entitled to step in and make those decisions for you, thus taking away autonomy over your own body and, crucially, the freedom of choice with regard to what you want to do with that body.

You don’t have to worry about someone questioning or taking away your choices, treating you like some object for which and over which others can make decisions as opposed to treating you like an autonomous, rights-bearing human being deserving of full equality.

As a man, your autonomy, agency, and the ability to consent—as your  own best decision-maker, your own best advocate, and your own best protector – are respected and never questioned.  You are born into a world in which your humanity, agency, dignity and autonomy are not in question – both philosophically and legally.

You don’t navigate a world in which everyone believes that policing your body and reproduction is an acceptable recreation. You don’t have to navigate the institutional misogyny that underlies the anti-choice movement where everything about it serves the interests of those who want to limit choice, and those who want to marginalize women.

While religious employers are choking to death at the idea of having to “pay” for a female employee’s birth control pills or, flying spaghetti monsters forbid, abortion, arguing that doing so would somehow compromise their delicate morals and religious convictions, they have no problem shelling out money to make sure you get to have an erection and a penis pump and penile implants and so on so you can fuck a woman, get her pregnant and make her have all the babies she may or may not want. That is irrelevant.

Even the government, even Medicare, is more than willing to pay for penis pumps and no one ever questions why tax-payers have to pay thousands of dollars to make sure a man can have an erection.

Your employer, the government, the clergy, some suit sitting at a mahogany desk in Washington do not have a problem tasking insurance companies to pay for a vasectomy that results in all these babies they all love so much to not be born.

Of course not. Those things are not an issue. They have not been an issue in major court proceedings, at state legislatures, with employers, insurance companies or even in the media and the public. In fact, it is a non-issue. As women’s reproductive choices are being eroded one by one, step by step, the national debate centers about the same few garbage notions about the alleged “rights” of fetuses, morality and god.  Be it Republicans or Democrats, ultimately it is about making women bargain away autonomy over their bodies to whoever feels entitled to them – in some sort of a insincere, deceitful “both sides have a point” false equivalency argument. As if people with uteri somehow owed the world control over some significant function of their body

No one talks about the duplicity inherent in the national debate we have on women’s agency where one group is systematically robbed of personal autonomy because another believes that they can make, and are entitled to make, better decisions for you than you can for yourself.

As a man, you get to make decisions about your sexual and reproductive health for yourself without anyone questioning their necessity, cost, or even morality.

Your personhood is not subject to inescapable, incessant and insistent debate. You are not made to feel that you are nothing if you don’t use your body to have children, where you are merely seen as a uterus with some vague female parts attached in service to its reproductive capacity.

 Women, on the other hand, have to stand by and let everyone decide on those things for them, everyone but the woman herself.

It is terrible to have to navigate a world in which you, as a woman, are made to feel that you deserve less respect,  less dignity, less autonomy, less opportunity, less agency, less voice, less ownership of self and ultimately less of your humanity.

A world in which you have to negotiate away the concept of absolute autonomy over your body to accommodate, please or else appease some privileged class/entity – be it a man or a church or whatever other institutions out there that believe they are entitled to make decisions about your own life and your body, for you.

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Things To Regulate

Nothing gets a Conservative’s juices flowing harder than government regulation and a social safety net. The anti-Christ himself could not have been a worse nemesis than regulation. Not being able to subjugate, abuse, pollute, steal or else abuse people and the environment at will cuts into profits, so naturally greedy, church-going, amoral Conservatives cannot have that.

But a woman’s uterus? Yes, that needs to be regulated. Regulate it long, regulate it hard, regulate it deep. In fact, for Conservatives, the words “regulate” and “women” go together like a wink and a smile. Or maybe like an ultrasound and a vagina?

Do you have binders full of women that need regulating? Then you will be hard pressed to not find a Conservative who is more than willing to step in and regulate them for you. Conservatives will not vote for such things as, oh I don’t know,  free daycare offered by the government so that mothers can work and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but they will vote for the government forcing women to have as many children as possible.

They will not vote for stricter regulation of air and water pollutants but they will make sure that a lot of children are born to parents who live in areas with some of the nation;’s worst air and water pollution.

See how being pro-life works?

Yeah, duplicity is a highly traded Conservative value with institutions couched in colorful myths and ardent sentiment to conceal bigotry, intolerance, greed and misogyny.

things t oregulate

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The Perils of Religion: Burqas

In Islamic countries women are not allowed to show skin – or hair –  this is the case even if they want to go swim, or especially if they want to go swim in, say, a pool, lake or ocean. I mean, sure, women are allowed to set foot into the water, Islamic laws and their henchmen are generous and enlightened like thatbut they have to fully cover up so that, god forbid – literally – other people, especially lecherous men, cannot make out their female shape because that would be terrible too.

Of course, the question that arises for skeptical fools such as myself is why even bother making women the way they are if you don’t want men to look at them? Why not make them all in the shape of a potato-sac without any defining features? Or why have two sexes at all? Or why have sex at all? Why not just make people one shapeless thing? It works for amoebas and a host of protozoans. Why give humans a libido and sexual desire if it is a bad, filthy thing?

Oh yes I forgot, this god, in all his wisdom, likes to make you one way and then set the rules at the exact opposite so he can punish you when you transgress them (or for his amusement – whatever he feels like that day I guess).  Where do I sign up to worship such an excellent decision maker? Oh yes, in this case, the Koran.

It would appear that not only are women in such cultures treated like trash, in this picture they literally look like it too. But that is not funny because under those tools of oppression sit real women, human beings, who are treated as less than a dog, because the dog can go into the water without having to cover up and be escorted by a herd of male overseers.

It would appear that not only are women in such cultures treated like trash, in this picture they literally look like it too. But that is not funny because under those tools of oppression sit real women, human beings, who are treated as less than a dog, because the dog can go into the water without having to cover up and be escorted by a herd of male overseers who view and treat women like they were their jailers and owners as opposed to their partners. God’s love truly is grand.

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Fuck Your Morals

Amina

Amina

There exists a narrative among some human rights activists,  feminists and even progressives – in this country and elsewhere – that women wearing hijab in the from of burkas or any kind of other veiling in Muslim countries is a matter of cultural perspective and tradition that needs to be respected and is off limits to criticism.

This narrative, born out of a false sense of cultural relativism, insists that every woman who covers herself is doing so out of her own free will, is not  forced to do so and in fact lives a life of happiness and contentedness under a welcoming and warm religion and men who do not at all view women as less than their equals.The wearing of the hijab and the practice of veiling are, therefore, seen as mere cultural differences and any such criticism of the hijab and the (patriarchal) culture that stands behind it, constructs it, perpetuates it and propagates it are seen as arrogant, western ethnocentric attempts at imposing one’s owns values onto others.

Frankly, that’s a load of crap.

No one is patronizing Muslim women with respect to the veils they have to wear as a direct result of the oppressive religion and patriarchy they live under. Being under the yoke of an oppressive religion and a stringent patriarchy that views women as second class human beings is a matter of cultural difference the same way slavery is.

A woman saying she enjoys wearing the hijab is like a slave saying he enjoys his shackles.

Yes, muslim women have such a great track record of protecting their freedoms and rights. They have the right to  not talk to any men. The right to get beaten by their husbands and any male relative.The right to not go to school and get an education. The right to be obedient and quiet. The right to let their bodies be treated like state property. The right to have no rights at all.

Yes, muslim women have such a great track record of protecting their freedoms and rights. They have the right to not talk to any men. The right to get beaten by their husbands and any male relative, really. The right to not go to school and get an education. The right to be obedient and quiet. The right to let their bodies be treated like state property. The right to have no rights at all.

Muslim women who say they are ok with it and do not mind it don’t know any better and are speaking out of ignorance following a lifetime of socialization, manipulation and indoctrinated into believing that the oppressive patriarchy they live under is working in their favor and was just part of their culture.

It is not.

The hijab or any kind of other covering and veiling requested of women are not cultural artifacts or traditions that need to be respected and preserved any more than any kind of other act of oppression of and discrimination against women is.

They are tools and symbols of oppression and control of women that need to be exposed for what they are and abolished.

Body, Autonomy, Agency, Equality

The best and most effective way to control a woman is to control her sexualityand with it her body, thus stripping her off her autonomy and agency. A deeply dehumanizing act.

Controlling a woman’s body by policing what she wears and else does with it is treating said woman’s body and the woman herself like the property of her husband who then effectively just becomes her owner and proprietor.

It is a deeply misogynistic, not to mention offensive and invasive custom.

A man seems to be the extension of the state in such Islamic countries – as he does not respect a woman as an equal and thus as a self-governed, rights-bearing, autonomous individual human.

Subverting another human being’s agency is a very serious offense.

"My Body Belongs to Me and is Not the Source of Anyone's Honor"

My Body Belongs to Me and is Not the Source of Anyone’s Honor

Hijab and veils in the form of burkas are symbols of oppression used to police women and their bodies to conform to norms established and created by men in  a deeply patriarchal system.

Women do not cover themselves up because they want to. They cover themselves up because they have no other choice; because the patriarchy and the oppressive religion they live under dictates that they do.

Furthermore, the belief that policing women’s bodies and reproduction is acceptable and needs to be respected accordingly as part of someone’s culture is deeply problematic with rather dire consequences as the track record of how women are treated in such countries shows.That is nothing that deserves to be respected.

Tunisia Progressive?

Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, has, according to Human Rights Watch, “long [been] viewed as the most progressive Arab country with respect to women’s rights.”

The evidence does not support such an assertion unless one considers not stoning women to death, not making them marry their rapists or allowing them to have driver’s licences, progressive. Arab Spring my ass. Tunisia is apparently only considered “more progressive” vis a vis places like Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Being a notch better than the worst of the worst does not make you a progressive.

Men and politicians in Islamic countries, and yes I am lumping them all together because this is one rare instance where there are no exceptions,  want to limit choice and marginalize women so as to be able to better control them. Just because in Tunisia they don’t stone women to death and allow them to have an education past fifth grade does not make them pro women. If you set the bar pretty darn low, it is not hard to exceed it.

A-TOPLESS-Flag-BurningWhat all this ultimately boils down to is that there is nothing about how Islam views and treats women that serves  a decent purpose, and certainly nothing that advances women’s agency or autonomy. Not even in Tunisia.

The Veil As A Symbol of Patriarchy and Oppression 

It is dehumanizing and insulting to be a woman navigating in a society in which you are not, uncompromisingly, respected as a man’s equal. It is terrible to be the sister, mother, daughter, student, friend or coworker of people who treat you like second class human beings.

It is demeaning to be raised in a world in which everyone around you, including your own father and brothers and partner hold the view that you not deserve equal opportunity and equal access. People who believe that you deserve less respect, less dignity, less agency,  less autonomy, less opportunity, less voice,  less ownership of self, less of your humanity.

A-FREE-AMINA-Maryam

The truth is that women in Islamic countries have to cover themselves up because of men who wrote the Koran and dictate the moral code of the nation, with devastating consequences. These women have no choice, which is the ultimate form of control and oppressions. 

Not being stoned to death, being allowed to attend school and even university or  being allowed to walk around without a head cover once in a while is not being liberal and woman friendly. Those are nothing but token gestures by Islamic oppressive patriarchs who are not really respecting a woman’s agency and humanity and much less really believe in it. These men are just allowing women, no permitting them, to do such things based solely at their discretion.

A permission that can be revoked at any time as the patriarchy sees fit.

There is nothing autonomous, liberal and feminist about men permitting women to be free and navigate through society without shackles once in a while and only in places and spaces they are willing to let them navigate without the threat to bodily harm.

If women are to ever gain any kind of autonomy and are to rise from the oppressive patriarchy that has been and continues to enslave and oppress them  – overtly and covertly – they, first and foremost need autonomy over their bodies.  They need to be agents of themselves rather than the subjects of the patriarchy around them where they are at their mercy and discretion, only allowed to behave in ways they deem acceptable and appropriate.

This is a crucial, if not the most important step towards independence because nothing robs a person of their personhood and humanity than not being able to make decisions pertaining to their own body. It cannot be emphasized enough. 

This is what Amina Tyler was symbolizing and protesting when she posed nude on her facebook pic, the words “Fuck your Morals” painted on her bare chest.

Takei-sulu-wiht-sword

Amina Tyler and FEMEN

This March, a Tunisian woman named Amina Tyler posted two topless photos of herself on Facebook. In one, “Fuck Your Morals” is painted across her bare chest. In the other, she is wearing eyeliner and bright lipstick, scrawled down her chest in four lines are the Arabic words ”My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honor.”

Tyler founded a Tunisian chapter of the feminist group FEMEN in February after seeing photos of the group’s activists online. Based in Kiev, FEMEN counts over a hundred and fifty thousand active members and has become famous—to quote the organization’s Wikipedia page—for its “noticeably erotic rallies,” strictly topless, against groups and individuals it perceives as corrupt, including the sex industry, the Church, sharia courts, Vladimir Putin, and Silvio Berlusconi.

After Tyler’s photos went up, an Islamist activist hacked the Facebook page of FEMEN’s Tunisian branch, posting religious videos and verses. One divinely inspired message read  “Thanks to God we have hacked this immoral page and the best is yet to come.” Another said, “The page has been hacked and God willing, this debauchery will disappear from Tunisia.” In the meantime, news agencies frantically reported that Tyler had been committed to a psychiatric hospital, that her parents had disowned her.

Amina-supporter-Curpo-Mio-uncensoredIn late March, Tyler told Italian journalist Federica Tourn that she believed she would be beaten or raped if Tunisian police tracked her down. She claimed that “nothing they could do would be worse than what already happens here to women, the way women are forced to live every day. Ever since we are small they tell us to be calm, to behave well, to dress a certain way, everything to find a husband. We must also study to be able to marry, because young guys today want a woman who works.”

But women, she said, are ready for change: We “have reached the height of self-determination: we no longer obey any authority, neither family nor religious. We know what we want and we make our own decisions.”

Tyler has received numerous death threats and stated that she is afraid for her life and the lives of her family.

In Tyler’s honor, protesters declared last Thursday, April 4th, Topless Jihad Day. A petition in her defense had fifteen thousand signers, including outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins. In capital cities, university-aged women with crowns of orange and lilac flowers painted their torsos for solidarity: “Bare breasts against Islamism,” “No sharia,” “Free Amina.”

Muslim Women Against Freedom

As to be expected, there has been a barrage of protests and objections to FEMEN’s and Amina’s approach. Islamic cultural centers all around the world, even those that claim to be supposedly pro women’s rights, and Muslim women themselves have protested,  calling FEMEN’s approach “highly counterproductive and detrimental to Muslim women across the world.”  As one Muslim woman and so-called activist wearing hijab on her profile pic on the Huffington Post statedtheir [FEMEN] tactics are a part of the ideological war that is going on between neo-colonial elements in the West and Islamic societies. Their aim is not to emancipate us from our presumed slavery, but instead reinforce Western imperialism and generate consent for the ongoing wars against Muslim countries.”

As Muslim Women Against Femen spokesperson Ayesha Latif told HP, she finds FEMEN’s approach “racist as well as evidence of colonial feminist rhetoric that portrays Arab/Muslim women as oppressed.” She added:

“It is incredibly inappropriate and offensive that they’re taking advantage of the stereotype that us Muslim women have to face in order to further their questionable cause.

The assumption they promote is that we are subjugated creatures controlled by men, who need to be liberated by a group of perfectly groomed white women posing nude and using shock tactics.

For them, the more you strip the more of a feminist you are – that’s Western feminist ideology. That’s not liberation for us, but that doesn’t make us anti-feminist.

We wonder how many Muslim women they have actually spoken to?”

o-TOPLESS-JIHAD-DAY-570

Questionable cause? Presumed slavery? Being pro hijab does not make us make anti-feminist? Not Subjugated and controlled by men? Don’t need liberating?

Exactly what Planet are these women from? And how intellectually comatose at best and deeply manipulated at worst do you have to be to believe that wearing your shackles in the from of veiling does not make you anti feminist? Or a slave to your men and religion? Or controlled by men and unliberated?

Women like Latif are precisely the reason this movement and the work of FEMEN is so important as clearly the oppressed do not see themselves as oppressed.

It is also amazing to see that amidst the death and rape threats Amina received, among others from Tunisian imam Adel Almi, chair of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, who proclaimed that Tyler “deserves to be whipped or stoned to death”, the problem seems to be FEMEN, Amina’s bare breasts and Western feminists. 

Instead of acknowledging their  horrible situation and use this opportunity to bring attention to the cause of oppressed women in the Muslim world, all people like Latif  vest their energy in is condemning efforts by FEMEN to give their cause a voice, publicity and direction.

After all, as we all know, Muslim women have such a great track record of protecting their freedoms and rights. They have the right no not talk to any men. The right to get beaten by their husbands and any male relative really. The right to not go to school and get an education. The right to be obedient and quiet. The right to let their bodies be treated like state property. You name it.

Complete Control

You know you have mastered the art of complete control when those you do control have come to believe it is not only in their own self interest but that in fact no control is taking place at all. Just take one look at North Korea and the true, fanatical devotion of North Koreans to their leader as example of believing the lies one is told.

Amina-Hippie-Man-Boobs

Who knew that a pair of bare tits, which are completely natural and normal body parts used primarily to nurse a newborn,  and something so fundamental such as demanding autonomy over one’s own body, refusing to be subjugated and passed around like state and male property, demanding equal opportunity, equal access, respect, dignity, agency,  a voice, ownership of self and thus more of one’s humanity could threaten self righteous, god loving and god fearing and supposedly moral people and their minions such as Latif to feel so threatened that they have to issue death threats.

Sometimes you have to engage in a radical, symbolic act to force the issue. And I am not talking anything violent but radical enough to rock the boat. Thirty of foorty years ago something like that would have been unheard of.  But today people aren’t shocked.

Amina was making a statement. And given how autonomy over one’s body is the number one tool of oppression in Muslim countries, it is understandable why she  chose to expose her breasts.

Making a woman wear hijab and cover herself up – at the request of a man, under the threat of violence if disobeyed –  in ugly, shapeless wear that obliterates her femininity by, literally, covering up every inch of her womanhood in cloth is as oppressive and disrespectful and as quashing to autonomy and agency it can get.

The hijab tells a woman that not only is she not given a voice in the political and professional sphere but that her entire womanhood, including her body parts, are under the control of a man who ultimately seems to be serving as the proxy for the institutionalized oppression of women by the state and its religion, Islam.

It is the ultimate oppressive act, robbing a woman of her autonomy, agency, and the ability to consent dictating that women cannot and should not be their own best decision-makers, their own best advocates, and their own best protectors.

If you aren’t even allowed to wear what you want, how can you expect that you will ever be granted anything else? Such as equality?

Therefore, women’s liberation in the muslim world, much like any kind of other liberation, is not going to happen only through diplomacy and negotiations. Diplomacy only works with reasonable people who are willing and ready to have a discussion with you as their equals. Entities who are interested in engaging in good faith discourse to amend their ways and get rid of systematic, institutionalized misogyny.  There can be no discussion had with entities, in this case men, whose response to your protests against subjugation is that you be stoned and raped. You don’t negotiate with Sith.

You Do Not Free Yourself  From the Shackles of Oppression by Nicely Asking For It

It didn’t work when this country was founded and our ancestors fought the Revolutionary war.  It did not work when the French Revolution took place. And it did not work during segregation. Some uprising, albeit peaceful, is needed.

Women in the West had to fight tooth and nail for their freedoms and rights (and we are still lagging in many ways). Burning of bras anyone? Protests? Marches? It happened in act of defiance, not by nicely asking for it.

The male leaders of Muslim nations are neither interested in nor do they care to sit down and have discussions on how to treat women as fully autonomous, right-bearing, equal human beings. They don’t believe that women are their equals. If such men were to ever grant them any freedoms it will be at their discretion and on their terms and only in the form of something like “you can get an education” or “you may get a driver’s license.” It will not be real equality. Not as long as Muslim women act like fucking minions unwilling and unable to stand up and fight back.

Amina is a symbol for standing up to religious oppression and the patriarchy that informs it and I stand in solidarity with her when I say, Fuck Your Morals. There is nothing moral about oppressing women and stripping them of their humanity and dignity.

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On Don Draper

A Man's Man: Don Draper

A Man’s Man: Don Draper

After watching the entire first five seasons of Mad Men in two weeks I  realized that I fucking hate Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and that despite all the talk about how cool and suave he is, I have found him to be nothing but a philandering, obnoxious, selfish, disloyal, sexist, unpleasant asshole incapable of love.

He is handsome. He is sexy. He is a panty creamer. Absolutely. But that is were the fascination ends.

Let’s recap Draper: he cheated on his first wife Betty (January Jones) at every opportunity and when he got caught he only apologized because he did not want to mess up his perfect little white picket-fence life with the good, gorgeous and dutiful wife and the model kids by his side (and not because he really regretted what he had done).  As a matter of fact, he kept cheating on her while he was temporarily moved out and supposedly regretting what he did and he continued to sleep around when she forgave him.

After she eventually found out about him and his secret past and his affairs, he threatened her and called her a whore. When she had gained weight due to emotional problems and a health condition, he called her a fat whore.

He uses people and treats them, especially women, with the same care as the cum stained tissues amidst his luxury satin sheets. For years he took advantage of and disrespected Peggy (Elizabeth Moss), talking down on her and letting her do all the work while taking the credit for it, including awards. Despite her stellar work he  pays her a fraction of what he pays his other, mostly untalented, male copy writers; she landed them account after account and when she asked for a raise or at least recognition he reached for his pocket, threw a handful of dollar bills in her face, literally, and patronizingly told her that she would go to Paris after all. He never apologized to her and on the same day he threw a wad of money at her face like she was a whore, he made Joan (Christina Hendricks) partner after having her sleep with the head of the Jaguar account

He is a lousy father to his three children whom he treats like puppys in a pound he occasionally agrees to take for a walk and he is never there while their mother dearest goes psycho on them.

After all the quality women he has met so far, he chooses to make his sweet-brained secretary Megan (Jessica Pare) his wife whom he pretends he is totally in love with (as if he could) and who of course gets billing before Peggy at his firm for the sole reason that she is pretty and fucking him.

Yes, the 50s Sucked for Everyone Who Wasn’t a White, Straight, Male

This is what the culture was like in the 50s and 60s. I understand. However, it seems as if the admiration for the magnetic, charming sexist, straight, white, racist homophobe Playboy was not just confined to that era.

A Hard Drinker - err Thinker too

A Hard Drinker – err Thinker too

Don Draper today is a source of fascination and admiration in our pop culture. Ask Men asked why people want to be like Draper.  The answer was evident: he is, after all, a real “man” because he is so unlike the chronically unmotivated, sexually clumsy, socially inept, economically immobile, and childish boys in most of today’s movies such as Knocked up and The 40 Year Old Virgin; movies filled with “men” who are really boys and obsessed with fast food, video games and bodily functions.

As if there were only two kinds of men: the chic, suave, handsome selfish assholes like Draper who treat getting married or being a father like it’s doing someone else a favor, or the Seth Rogen, stoned-all-day slacker with no motivation or checking account. Uh-huh.

A Man’s Man

AskMen praises Draper’s “masterful manhood” and most importantly his professional and upward mobility above all, because god knows upward mobility and “the accumulation of wealth” as someone once told me after I asked them what they wanted out of life, are the things that truly matter in this country and define one’s manhood. 

It doesn’t surprise me that despite all his other very serious character flaws such as his infidelity, his disloyalty, his lack of compassion, his misogyny and cowardice the one thing people know him and admire him the most for is the fact that he is good with hot women and upwardly mobile. Nevermind that he regularly fires people for things that are his fault or things that he does himself but judges others for.  Or that he fired a gay employee because he did not want to sleep with a client, or when he made his secretary and long term friend sleep with a client to get the account, and when he drove a business partner and close friend to suicide by refusing to give him a break after that friend had a temporary laps in judgment.  Nope, that is no big deal. As long as he is sexy and rich doing it, it’s endearing. 

The only things he is criticized for are his chain smoking, his alcoholism and generally unhealthy vices. He is rarely, if ever, criticized for his deep misogyny and just the shitty way he treats people in life. Ironically, his wife Betty is considered the least popular character on the show while Don the most popular, even though he is the philandering asshole.

A Woman’s Man

As AskMen put it “even those who consider themselves died-in-the-wool feminists — admitted that Don Draper represents just about everything they want in a man: not only is he tall, dark and handsome, but he is commanding, enterprising and always — always — in control. When we have, on occasion, pointed out to these same women that he is inwardly unavailable, hopelessly uncommunicative and serially unfaithful, many of them have conceded that, as one friend put it, “he would probably make a lousy husband and a bad dad in real life.”

Umm…no. I don’t know who all those legions of feminists are that AskMen is referencing here but no feminist would find a manipulative, abusive man like this “everything they want in a man.” In fact, I doubt that any woman with an ounce of self respect and aversion to abuse would want a man like Don Draper in their lives.

Aside from his aforementioned blatant and obvious misogynistic and cruel ways (qualities I cannot imagine many people finding attractive or enticing), Don Draper – as a partner – a husband – insistently wants his women to be someone that they manifestly aren’t, which is classic emotional abuse dynamic. Draper does not respect his partner’s agency and consent and he is someone who continually asserts to know their partner’s needs and desires better than themselves. Thing is, someone who is emotionally manipulative, sexually coercive, and conditionally affectionate will never just be okay with accepting their partner’s feelings for what they are, or respecting their boundaries.

When you watch Don Draper interact with women – his lovers, girlfriends and wives – what you really see is a horror scene, set to romantic music.

So, when AskMen asserts that Don Draper is what women really want, especially feminist women I a) highly doubt that the editors over there at AskMen know diddly about what either women want or what constitutes feminists and b) I am horrified that there are young men, lots of young men (and even women) watching this show and then reading articles like this thinking that this is what women want, that this is what women should want and that this is how men should behave because… this is what women (allegedly) want.

They walk around thinking that these kind of relationship dynamics are the norm, healthy and desirable. That if you are a man and you act like this, you are cool  – and that if you are a woman accepting a man acting like this, you are romantic, when in reality Don Draper and his behavior isn’t a model for romance. It’s a blueprint for abuse.

It is certainly not what woman want. Or what women who want to be in emotionally healthy relationships with men who respect their agency and boundaries, should want.

It is ironic that the editors at AskMen agree with one of the male copywriters in the show who once told Draper that women basically just want a man and that they’ll buy anything that’ll help them get a man

Apparently assholishness is very complicated

Apparently assholishness is very complicated

Of course AskMen portrays Draper as the kind of guy not only all women want, whether they know it or not, but also as the kind of man most men wish they could be. You know, being “able to drink and smoke with abandon, womanize with impunity, […] rule over everyone while being ruled by no one [despite being] an alcoholic, a chain-smoker and a depressive introvert.”

Note again, that nowhere are Draper’s misogyny, lack of compassion and bigotry mentioned as character flaws.  Apparently in the world of Men, that is a non-issue.

So Why Does Everyone Want to Be Don Draper? 

Because in essence not much has changed from the 1950s/60s with respect to the patriarchy and how our culture sees the two genders. I bet a lot of men watch this wishing things were that way again.

It is not surprising. After all, we live in a culture that considers “men” who are self-reliant, shrewdly ambitious, emotionally inaccessible and philandering misogynists to be the ultimate hallmark of masculinity.

draper 4

The article laments manhood and white, male privilege of the 50s as a lost opportunity; a fall from greatness that still somehow appears to linger in the hearts and minds of men today who look at it fondly exclaiming that “if only things hadn’t changeda man could still be a man“.

Ah, the 50s and 60s – the decades where men could be men instead of human beings who are no better, or less, than any other human being around them, male or female, black or white, straight or queer, thin or fat, handsome or ugly.

Progressive Masculinity

That is, of course, a very outdated and primitive notion of what constitutes masculinity. Or is it?

The patriarchy teaches young men, even today, that anger is safe and manly. Hurt equals weakness. If anyone questions your masculinity you must fight. Be assertive, be in control. Only a sissy pussy is not in control and so forth.

Don Draper is the opposite of that and according to AskMen, those are the hallmarks of not only real masculinity but also success, attractiveness and sex appeal.

The brilliance of the show is that no matter how redeemable Don Draper is made out to be and no matter how much sensitivity and vulnerability he is shown to possess, at heart he is a sexist and a bigot and overall terrible human being who does not believe that women (and gays and blacks) are deserving of and entitled to the same rights as men. He does not see them as equals, no matter how much he may ultimately care for one of them on the personal level – such as Peggy or even his own daughter Sally.

His misogyny is so rooted in him, such a fundamental part of his core, that he cannot part from it. And the writers don’t try to. They do not try to all of a sudden make him an advocate for equal rights or an enlightened man who really  stops to check his immense white, male, straight privilege.

For Draper, women being nothing but child bearers, sexual conquests, housewives and neat accessories at parties to show off are a given that will never change.

The fact that our pop culture of today looks at someone like Draper and laments his greatness and masculinity that somehow seems to be amiss amidst all the equal rights mumbo jumbo, says a lot more about how far we have come (or not come) in that area rather than how bad things used to be.

When people look at a black man like Obama running this country and yell “we want our country back“, Don Draper and the world of Leave it to Beaver and housewives like June Cleaver are what they are referring to. That’s the America they want back. The America that was great for no one but straight, white men; for the Don Drapers of the world.

The truth is that the masculinity of men in the 50s and 60s and thus of Don Draper  – much like the masculinity of men today – is a mask; a facade hiding a person deeply out of touch with who he is on the inside.

It is also a mask that allows them to navigate the world unhindered and thus without ever having to question the status quo. After all, why would you question a world that is so perfectly suited to and tailored towards your needs as a straight, white man?

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On a personal level, feelings and emotions are tools that help you deal with life and when you constrict them the results are people like Don Draper in the 60s and a culture that considers everything Draper stands for, some 5o years after he stood for them,  as the gold standard of masculinity and success ultimately.

Mad Men is a brilliant show and I thoroughly enjoy it, but the hype about Don Draper is just that. He is nothing but a pretty face in a nice suit attached to a big dick.

I enjoy following his journey but boy, I can’t stand the guy. Especially after he got married to his office bimbo and penile-equivalent Megan – whom they are trying to pass up as a really interesting person – I lost whatever little hope I had that there may be a worthwhile human being behind that spineless, quivering soul of his.

In Mad Men, Draper is portrayed as a complicated man. Even Hamm, in his recent Rolling Stone interview, admits that Draper is a “complicated man”. Someone lost in the woods, halfway through the journey of his life, who ends up exploring hell. Only that Draper is not that complicated man going through hell.  Unlike Dante, Draper is part “The Inferno” – including, and especially, his fucked up sense of masculinity which – more than anything – is the source of his ruin and distorted sense of self,  rather than its consequence.

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