Finding Mr Grey.

February 15, 2015

A while back, I had a chin wag with students about the fine line that is present in many a discussion about females – in that case, their dress. A recent example has been the great deal of to-ing and fro-ing over the release (on Valentines’ Day, no less) of the film, Fifty Shades of Grey. The argument surrounding this narrative has been bugging me in a similar way the aforementioned discussion with my students did. 

My understanding of this issue can be put into two simple points: 1. The books sold like wildfire and seemed to have predominantly titillated the ‘housewives of suburbia’ who saw a love story with consenting adults and 2. It brought to the fore, many psychologists, feminists and survivors of abuse, who have presented an alternate and more dangerous perspective; one that looks at a male grooming and trying to utilise complete control of a naïve female; a demonstration of psychological and physical domestic abuse.

I have not read the books and even wrote post at the end of 2012, asking those who had read 50 Shades to write their thoughts, without judgement from me; because I support women and fight for their complete agency to choose and participate in this world with freedom and safety. This novel is simply a great example of where – if anywhere – the line gets drawn between ‘sexy’ and ‘sadistic and sociopathic’. The issue of choice and consent is also smudged for me when grooming is involved as that’s what grooming does – trick people (and children) into thinking something’s OK, when it’s not.

The prevailing argument in its favour is that it’s just a fictional story and is just a fantasy. I completely understand this perspective and think, each to their own. If the sexual escapades of this novel pushed the saucy buttons of women worldwide, then I say, whatever floats your boat. The pro-50 Shaders seem to be more about the steamy, naughty, forbidden [insert own adjective] sex, not so much about the screwed up male (due to his prostitute [of course] mother) ‘discovering’ himself emotionally and physically through Ana.
But the two issues are married together – the psychologically disturbed man, comes with the sex.

So having heard all the arguments in various articles about this relationship and its representation of varying abuse, I simply want to ask:

Question #222: Why him?

Maybe there are women who want to escape their predictable sex lives and find this story does in fact help them do just that. But what about the man himself; not just his skill with a whip?

Maybe there’s also a secret want to have a rich and ‘powerful’ male be a dominant figure, in his expensive suits and play/torture dungeon.
Maybe women like the idea of ‘fixing’ a damaged male – that love will 
conquer all. That if she stays, he’ll get better – even if it means enduring a controlled and abusive existence .

Is that it?

What if Christian were, let’s say, a newsagent, would there be as much sexual excitement in finding one’s own Mr Grey?
In terms of the story, the sexual awakening would be the same for Ana, wouldn’t it?

What I’ve heard, from friends who have already gone to see the film, is that the sex wasn’t as ‘good’ as in the novel but found other differences. This is from a friend of mine in her 20s:

‘I found it uncomfortable to watch but didn’t find it uncomfortable to read. I’m not easily phased but it was unpleasant. Personally I enjoyed the development throughout the series. It was an interesting read. But seeing it in film was sort of next level. It was basically porn. The sex scenes were not overly graphic but the violence was too much. It made me feel sad.’

Isn’t the following image from the film, eerily similar to the very real Julian Blanc many found to be abhorrent in his behaviour towards women. The thought of being grabbed by the neck chills me. That’s because I have been grabbed like that. But it’s still not the reason all this bothers me.

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On one hand, Rosie Waterline wrote the following review for Mamamia, where she was shaken by what she saw and left the cinema nearly in tears, through to Mia Freedman’s review with her opposing take. One quote stood out in Mia’s piece, that came from a friend of hers:

‘If some women view Christian as a catch – that’s disturbing but it’s their call. The value of the books and the film is the accompanying conversation about what a healthy relationship looks and feels like. A healthy relationship doesn’t involve your partner dictating what you wear or eat. But the author isn’t writing about a healthy relationship! It’s the story of a messed up relationship!’

The first line encapsulates the problem for me – Christian Grey is being touted as a catch and someone to be dreamed of, despite being in a ‘messed up relationship’.
One example (of many) is this bus stop advertisement, of which I got a photo:

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This poster grooms – just like Christian Grey – for selfish reasons.
And that’s what bothers me at the core. How this narrative is being sold.
I think it’s dangerous for those – especially our youth, without the experience to know differently – to believe this is a relationship to aspire to – because it has sex in it that supposedly pushes the boundaries of pleasure?

There are adults who enjoy this story; those who enjoy BDSM (even though many are saying it does not accurately portray BDSM correctly); and that’s fine.

But ultimately there’s one thing that seems to be agreed upon:
It’s not a healthy relationship.

Question #223: So why is it being romanticised?

That’s grooming.

 

Location: Coles – one of the major Australian supermarket chains.
Area: Magazine Section
In the past I have merely done this:

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But today – Wed 7th Jan – I decided I would say something, when I saw this on the second lowest shelf:

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I wrote to Coles to explain my experience in one of their stores:

In my visit to a Sydney Coles store this afternoon, I went past the magazine section and saw Zoo magazine (imaged attached) on the second lowest row – small child height – next to Peppa Pig. I asked a worker who was in the same aisle, who I could talk to about it and he directed me to go to the front desk. My children and I had a few items to buy so I asked the employee serving us in the express lane. I believe she was in a managerial position as she was making announcements over the speakers to coworkers. I explained what I saw and she said that everything had to be placed where Coles says and that there was nothing employees could change in terms of an item’s location – in this case, to put Zoo magazine high up (top) on the shelves. She showed me an example of this with a nearby drink refrigerator; pointing out the sticker which clearly indicates EXACTLY how it must be stocked. She also explained that a recent visit from the person who checks that it’s done properly, was VERY unhappy because it was incorrectly stocked. We – the Coles manager and myself – then moved to the magazine section and when we looked at the labels along the shelves (indicating where every magazine should be) – not one magazine was in its correct place. She removed the magazines and I trust (and hope) that the Zoo magazine ended up being placed high – if it has to go back at all. It would be fantastic if Coles takes the lead and sees the good removing magazines like Zoo from sale would do. It takes a village to raise a child and supermarkets – like Coles – are a part of that village. It also takes integrity. Consumers who want to see sexually, objectified women can access it everywhere – but it feels culturally oppressive when a magazine, sporting the image of a sexually objectified woman on a cover that matches its contents, is being sold at a supermarket chain, like Coles – placed low on its shelving. There were multiple copies of the magazine behind one another, so it was purposely placed there. Do you think it would be possible for Coles to stop selling Zoo magazine and any other magazines of its type? (In this particular store the only objectifying magazine that was on sale was Zoo, so I don’t know if there are others). Thank you so much for your time and consideration, and look forward to hearing from you. Paula Orbea

The following is a cartoon I’ve seen cross my Timeline from time to time, which asks a crucial question:

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Right? Another moment worth noting, was the response the managerial employee gave me when I was suggesting the magazine shouldn’t really be sold there in the first place. Her expression was one of raised eyebrows, looking at the cover, coupled with an expression (small smile?) that suggested it ‘wasn’t that bad’ – and said:

“I reckon you see worse on TV.”

“Yes”, I agreed, “but that’s a whole different issue.”

I don’t understand that kind of statement as an argument; that there’s something worse. There’s always something worse, and then something worse than that. And then worse than that.

That sort of statement argues that one shouldn’t stand and confront the ‘small stuff’ – like the soft porn industry, in this case; an industry that is heavily guiding younger and younger people toward an ocean of porn online (including terribly violent ones) – because there are *other* problems deemed more important for an activist attend to first…generally something in the ball park of, ‘Stop ISIS’ or ‘Get the girls from Nigeria back’.

What I find curious is how people who do *nothing*, suddenly presume themselves the Traffic Cops of Activism. In this case, the Coles employee removed the magazines, for the sole reason that they were in the wrong place. If it were to turn out that the Zoo magazines’ location – assigned by Coles – is smack bang in the middle of them all, I know that this employee would have put them in their ‘rightful place’ – as that is her directive. I’d like to add that this employee was courteous and professional in her conversation with me and that I appreciated her attention on the matter.

As I think of Maria in The Sound of Music teaching the children (through song, of course)about starting at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start – so must we. That is the only way change can truly occur – by getting to the roots of behaviour and action.

So have a look for yourselves – in the everyday world you and young people reside and ask:

Question #220 : What’s going on at ground zero?

What lessons and attitudes are being taught through consumption? Well, the selling of ‘soft porn’ (aka porn culture) in supermarkets is one thing, wouldn’t you say?

Deep breath.

PS This is the response I received from Coles:

Dear Ms Orbea

Thank you for your letter regarding the sale of magazines in our Coles stores.

Coles aim to provide customers with a wide range of products that appeal to a broad range of consumer tastes. We are very aware of our responsibilities in relation to the display of various magazines in our stores and we must comply with the guidelines set by the Classification Board and legislative requirements regarding the selection and placement of various magazines.

Magazines such as Zoo and FHM, do not have a classification rating, as set by the Classification Board, and form part of our men’s interest range of magazines.

Coles only sell magazines that are unclassified and to help ensure a comfortable shopping experience for all customers, these particular men’s magazines must be placed in our reading centres within our stores and are not to be sold from the stands next to the registers.

We are sorry to hear that you find these magazines offensive* and have forwarded your comments to our Merchandise Team so that they are also aware of your concerns.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to your future custom at Coles.

Regards

Patrick Chylinski
Coles Customer Care

*[Doesn’t sound like an apology]

As some of you may be aware, Target Australia was petitioned, in the last week, to take down the video game Grand Theft Auto 5, off their shelves. The attention was drawn from an advertisement from Target, placing the game on the same page as children’s toys.

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Survivors of violence, Nicole, Claire and Ket, started the petition due to the graphic sexual and violent nature of the game – most notably towards prostitutes – which cements perspectives of violence against women.

I felt it was important to share the petition because even though I don’t own the game, YouTube was dutifully able to provide me with a sick commentary of how to pick up a prostitute (woman). Of course, one can choose whether or not they’re going to run her over after the first-person sex, set her on fire and finish her off with a blast from a machine gun.

Yesterday, Target Australia listened, agreed and stopped the sale of the game in its stores; demonstrating integrity with their business standards.
I believe it was the right thing to do.

With emotional issues such as this, many choose to clutch the time and tested clichés of yore. In this case, those who oppose Target’s ultimate decision have two common arguments:
1. It’s just a game
2. Parents are to blame for children having it

I’m not going to go into the first point because the reason/s why a person chooses to play this game is a whole different kettle of fish. I’m not a psychologist nor a judge and it would be going down Alice’s rabbit hole for me to try and understand it.
The second point, however, is where the crux of this lands with me.

The main argument is that this is an R-Rated 18+ game and that the simple solution is that parents should not buy it for their children.
Yes. This is true – BUT, it’s not the simple solution.

Parents are always the easy target in arguments like these, but to be fair, the common cliché has lost its potency in this day and age because of the context of the world we’re living in. We are ALL being bombarded with a pornified and hyper-sexualised world and yet somehow, it’s up to the parents to ‘simply not buy it’?

I think this has become very difficult for parents; to actually deal with the pressure of filtering the ever-encroaching, adult world for their children. To do this successfully, though, one would have to be next to their child at every given moment and that’s impossible – and quite frankly, who would want to raise their child like that anyway? Not me.

As a parent, I am very aware of this paradigm and am doing my utmost to help my girls navigate through it, regardless of whether it’s aimed at them or not (and more often than not it isn’t – but they’re still being exposed anyway). My last post gives examples of the child exposure to this game – and it’s widespread in Primary Schools.

What we need is for the adult world to meet us half way and in my mind, Target Australia has now done just that.

They are a family store and being a family store means it comes with responsibility.
If they had ultimately chosen to keep stocking R-Rated games, then they would have needed to create a section where children can’t access the products; making it very clear it’s for adults only. Ultimately, though, what family store would want to attract attention to the fact that they sell products for adults only?

You’re more likely, as a parent, to be shopping with your children in a place like Target, Big W, K-mart (who should also follow suit and not just this game but all R-Rated games), as they sell children’s toys near the games section. To a child, one ‘game’ is the same as another, so:

Question #218: Can we just have some space that’s safe for kids?

Sadly, we have the fact that many young (predominantly male) children are actually playing this game and although it’s easy to pass the buck on parents – it’s not always their fault.

This decision makes it easier for the parents who are not aware of the game and its pretty horrible contents and who simply don’t notice the rating. We are human, after all, and not noticing a rating when your mind is full of a million other things, is far more forgivable than the bigger picture of all this.

And for all those who cry foul about not having their violent, porn games available in every store they want – at their fingertips – I ask them to step away from their own sense of privilege and think of reducing the temptation of having something rated strictly unsuitable for children, in a place frequented by children. It’s at their fingertips too.

UPDATE: Kmart have in fact now followed Target Australia’s lead and have also pulled Grand Theft Auto 5 from sale. That’s two.

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For those who aren’t Aussie, ‘Cooee’ is a loud call which is used when one is lost – generally in The Bush; nature – or to attract attention. I’m using the latter.

I’m calling for reinforcements. A call to arms.

I’m calling on writers, politicians, people who know of Internet law – anyone – YOU ! – to have an intelligent discussion – to see if anything can be done.

I wholeheartedly believe that one of the biggest problems we face today, lies in two areas:
1. The ‘Freedom of Speech’ argument that seemingly has no limits whatsoever
2. The big companies that give hateful and violent perspectives a platform from where to spread their hatred. Like YouTube.

An abhorrent action happened a few weeks ago and it has been missed in the general conversation. Those who read my last post will know what I’m discussing here – the latest Redfoo song, and accompanying video, Literally, I can’t.

My first reaction was to ride the same wave for obvious reasons – its depiction of females to ‘toe the line’ and do as they’re told, i.e. drink, perform girl-on-girl action, dance (twerk), or be told to ‘Shut the Fuck Up’ repeatedly – and was something that incited a loud outcry; including my own.

I won’t write any more, as I have already expressed my thoughts about it and it has been covered extensively in social media.

But something even more sinister occurs within the video which, in my mind, encompasses everything that is wrong with pop culture today. Product placement has now become rampant in recent big name videos (a complete, greedy cop-out) and Redfoo’s video is no exception.

However, instead of merely advertising a set of speakers, Redfoo advertises a porn site.

So, we have a 39 year old ‘mentor’ on X Factor Australia, loved by many – especially kids and teens – advertising this porn site in his video, a video which ALSO (funnily enough) tells females to ‘shut the fuck up’ for not complying to their misogynistic ideals.

Question #216: Is this OK with you??

Well, it’s not for me and I started a petition to YouTube a few weeks ago:

>>> Here <<<

As I said above, this is not about Freedom of Speech because I am not saying Redfoo can’t make the song and video, I’m not even saying he can’t publish his song and video – what we have to stand up to are the companies like YouTube who give them a platform to spread their dangerous perspectives – like ADVERTISING PORN – regardless of their Community Standards. Facebook falls deeply into this category too.

Today, another example.
I viewed a YouTube video that is linked in a petition (which has since been won) – written by three survivors of male violence – to ‘family’ store, Target Australia, (which is advertising the R Rated 18+ video game, Grand Theft Auto 5, in their brochure for Christmas next to Peppa Pig) to take the product down.
Regardless of this rating, kids in Primary School often engage in talk about the prices for sex and blow jobs within the game because they play it; I hear this from first-hand accounts from various schools. I also know of a family whose 8 year old son had a lap dance performed on him, playing this ‘game’, witnessed by his 12 year old brother.

On offer with this version of the ‘game’, one can have ‘first person’ sex with prostitutes – and then kill them horrifically afterwards, if it pleases one.

(*TRIGGER WARNING* with this video. It is quite disturbing.)

If you don’t want to watch, I will tell you that there is a commentator going through this particular part of the game he’s playing and tells us that we’re going to see ‘Michael’ have sex. Some quotes from the commentary include:
“Michael is a married man but hey, a man has his needs”
“We are getting all three services from the prostitute. I don’t know her name, who cares what her name is, she has a job to do.”
The commentator then goes quiet as we watch – from a first person perspective – the sexual services performed. She – of course – acts like it’s the best sex she’s ever had in a car, in an alley, and even says to him in the end – “I feel like I can really talk to you, come back and see me?”
Finally the commentator says, as the prostitute walks off:
“Now in classic GTA 5 style – you can’t let her get away with your money, so we’re going to go ahead and back this bad-boy up” referring to his car as he runs her over twice – then sets her on fire, listening to her screams and finally shoots her with an automatic weapon. You may also choose a number of weapons to kill her with, including an axe.

My reason for this post is simple – just these two examples are proven to be embedded in too many young children’s social and pop-world lives – and they are on YouTube.
If the images and issues I’ve included here are shocking to you – then don’t you think something has to be done?

This is becoming the foundation of who we are as the human race because they’re the lessons that are truly getting through to our developing minds.

Why do companies like YouTube have Community Standards in the first place, if they’re not upheld? What’s the point of them?

It’s all slipping through the cracks and many kids in Primary and High School are being well and truly desensitised to the depravity they’re watching. These children will one day want to shape relationships and simply won’t know how because it’s been modelled for them in this toxic manner that surrounds them; it’s the common narrative.

Please sign my petition to YouTube. Maybe this isn’t the answer, but simply the start where we ask companies to have our back first and we’ll have theirs.

Question #217: Do you have any other suggestions on how we can have companies stand by their own standards?
[also MASSIVELY; Facebook]

Deep Breath…

COOO-EEEEE !!

>> Sign Petition to YouTube Here <<

Due to the overwhelming amount of media attention that Redfoo has gained for creating such a sexist and degrading video – Literally, I can’t – this very important part of the video has been overlooked in the media’s conversations. This video promotes a porn site.

This would mean that Redfoo (as the video has been published under his own label) has received payment for using product placement to advertise and condone its exploration. In an on-air radio rant today (blaming bloggers and feminists for this ‘negative attention’ (that’s obviously come out of nowhere, right?), Redfoo was quoted as saying:

I have kids from everywhere, not just Australia, and they want to be like Redfoo. They love Redfoo and I love them. I love the families, I love everybody.

If this were true then he would want the kids to emulate – what – his love of porn? It’s. In. The. Video. Nothing can be argued against that.

Question #215: Should this video be taken down from YouTube?

I remember in the late 80s, Madonna’s video ‘Justify my Love’ was banned from being played on MTV. Does that mean that ‘Freedom of Expression’ was different then? I think not. Obviously, it was deemed inappropriate enough to censor it from the TV.

The Internet, however, has no limits or boundaries and as a parent and teacher, I feel an ever-growing despair at the dangerous sites that will surely cross paths with our developing youth. That’s just chance – this video, however, has advertised porn in a video that not only has a limitless audience on the Internet, it will be aired on normal music TV shows. In an article titled Internet Porn: an entirely new child’s game, it states:

Quite likely porn – internet porn – is the problem, not the solution. It likely originates a decade back, in childhood, and is likely a dysfunction not of the penis, but of the brain. Putting such a boy in front of porn is like giving your drug-addled kid heroin. We’re so messed up about children and sex. On the surface, an adult can barely photograph a child without suspicion of paedophilia and if children’s literature even mentions flirting or nudity it will face school-and-parent lockout. Yet in the real world every bus ad and TV soap is awash with meaningless sex and many children, especially boys, are hardcore internet porn regulars by third grade.

If you feel as I feel; that we need to make a statement about this particular betrayal on Redfoo’s part – and it IS a betrayal on so many levels, knowing how many young fans he has – then please sign my petition. If the general community feels that a moral and ethical (if not legal) line has not been crossed – so be it. I, on the other hand, will feel complete disillusionment with the direction we’re collectively taking as human beings. Please help me raise awareness of this white elephant that seems to have been massively overlooked.

>>> Sign Here <<<

Deep Breath. redfoo_31896

Facebook is evil

June 2, 2014

*** Warning – pornographic images from Facebook are used in this post.

I know – we all know – that Facebook is evil, but I feel a line has been crossed with their ‘Community Standards’ practices and I’ve just about had a gut-full.

Before one starts typing the tired, clichéd counter argument of, ‘If you don’t like it, don’t use it’, let me just say that:

1) I think Facebook is a fantastic tool for staying connected with loved ones (esp overseas) and equally awesome for things like blogs, businesses etc.

2) if I were to stop using it, myself and many other amazing warriors out there, would not be there to fight (ultimately) for the rest because ignorance, naivety or turning away never changed anything…. although I’m starting to think we should just about roll over on just about everything because nothing changes; in fact things are actually being made more difficult to fight and I have grown weary.

I am livid with Facebook.
Last week I (along with so many others) continually sent complaints about the Elliot Rodger is an American hero page, petitioning it be taken down every time it popped up….over and over. Every single time I was told it was dandy for general viewing – as the screenshot below shows. Eventually, with so much pressure, Facebook took down all the pages glorifying Elliot Rodgers – and finally informed me that it was taken down.

But this begs the question: So why were all the other protests rejected to start with?

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 6.06.47 pm   One of Facebook’s suggestions is that one can complain about a particular photo or post, rather than the whole page. OK, I thought, I’ll try that. As you can see above, I reported posts, such as the following, for hate speech:

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Facebook thought it wasn’t hate speech against gender. It’s dandy for general viewing.

Last night I stumbled across an ad for…well, let’s see if you can guess. What do you think this is for?

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Coffee. It’s for coffee.

I complained about the above image and the following one (for nudity or pornography); one which degrades a woman to the floor of a toilet cubicle, to give a male ‘head’ and couples it with a disgusting tag line:

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You guessed it. Dandy.

There are more images like these on the page – sexualising and objectifying females on different levels.

Funnily enough, the only photo using a male with a sexually implied text, is this:

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An ordinary man – who is showing his face; an honour the sexualised females aren’t afforded as they’re merely objects – doing something stupid. And is that a coy arm covering himself up a bit?

The thing is: females don’t rape males for being represented as stupid; in the way males rape females for being represented as hyper-sexualised.

Question #207: Can people not see the danger in this sort of ‘advertising’ about women?

Yes, it’s just one ad. But there a millions – billions – of images like the females above; shaping our psyche.

So why does the world then reel in shock when atrocities happen? I mean, REALLY? We are smack bang in the middle of an insidious culture which now confidently drives forward this misogyny and females are ultimately paying the price.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Complain.

Write on this corrupt Perth coffee brand’s Facebook page here (or any other Facebook page promoting misogyny)

Write to the Advertising Standards Board here as the above images are ads for coffee.

Now, what about Facebook?

Facebook is dictating what pornography is and according to them, the above isn’t. I decided to look at the wording of their ‘standards’ and we’re ultimately screwed:

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Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content.

So a woman with her had on her clitoris, between her spread legs, in heels, on a bed, with bare breasts (except for little boxes with the brand name covering the nipples) with a head seductively thrown back with the word ‘Ecstasy’, is not pornographic?

Well what is?

The worst part is that Facebook has taken away the chance, one used to have, to write a response to their ruling. Now they just say no and that’s that.

I feel that that is so very wrong.

Question #208: Can anything legal be done about this?

I’m shouting out to any ‘legal eagles’ because with every fibre in my being, I feel this needs action and we have to start somewhere.

Otherwise how?

If you have complained about a page or a post/photo on Facebook and have been knocked back – keep a screenshot of the page or copy the photo. I think we need to start collecting evidence.

Deep Breath.

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*Serious Trigger Warning*

April 13, 2014

This post contains my 200th question; an important moment.

I have been avoiding writing it, to be honest – finding justifiable reasons why I should leave it till later. This question is a big deal and a hard one to articulate; but it needs to be heard.
It must be heard.

I’ve chosen this post to lay it all down, the best way I can, and hope it resonates in some – any – way…maybe even cause an awakening in some.

My question is:

Question #200: Who is looking after females? 

The attitudes, perceptions and (worst of all) laws revolving around females have worsened worldwide. Actually worsened.
The people who make up the largest chunk of the Bell Curve, however, don’t see it – they choose to watch the sensationalist, fear-inducing ‘Big Brother’ news on the TV; news that’s especially selected for viewing conditioning.
However, on a daily basis there are countless more examples of atrocities occurring to females in developing nations, war-torn nations as well as in the so-called ‘developed’ world.

Developed.
Now there’s a word that brings with it a whopping case of irony when used to describe nations with wealth. I don’t see we’re developed at all, especially when it comes to the equality of half the human race.
Seeing as wealthy nations are only about making a buck – and is ultimately the SOLE thing that’s respected in the mainstream mindset (something in which we all participate, to varying degrees) – females in this realm of enlightened living *cough cough*, are an urgently needed commodity; who are represented as being available ‘on-tap’.

The so-called ‘Beauty Industry’ is the developed world’s teat, off which a huge bulk of consumerism suckles. Of course there’s also the destruction of the planet and the cruelty to animals, such as factory farming, to add to the mix.
We consume, destroy and discard rubbish to within an inch of oblivion; all with a mindless privilege that sickens the soul.

The environment, animals and females – the merchandise for the making of money. Check.
That’s the ‘developed’ world.
Congratulations.

But what about something that unites us all?
In what way do we link hands, as a species, in a common practice around the world?

Porn and prostitution.
(Porn –> prostitution with a camera; Prostitution –> the raping of females)

Anyone who argues that the use of female bodies for the purpose of ejaculation (yes, as it is ultimately the only purpose it serves) is a-okay, is contributing to this insidious modern-day emergency – through direct participation, indifference or both.

Our ‘humanity’ is flailing in quicksand, as the toxicity of this violent and hateful underbelly spreads.

This is a small snippet of Gail Dines on Q & A, discussing porn and counteracting the usual, exhausting and typical argument – “I haven’t seen it, so the problem doesn’t exist.”

Gonzo Porn – as Gail mentions – is violent and hateful and constitutes most of the type of porn that is made and accessed today.
In the following tumblr post titled Porn Statistics – amongst the harrowing statistics, female sex workers describe their horrific circumstances:

The first shoot I did was with a man who was probably 40 and he was as thick as a soda can. He held me down and shoved it in me with no lube tearing my vagina. When I started to tear up and cry he flipped me over and continued from behind be so they wouldn’t get me crying on film. He pulled my hair and choked me over and over again even when I told him it hurt and I could barely breathe.”

While the pornographers say this:

“My whole reason for being in this Industry is to satisfy the desire of the men in the world who basically don’t much care for women and want to see the men in my Industry getting even with the women they couldn’t have when they were growing up. I strongly believe this… so we come on a woman’s face or somewhat brutalize her sexually.”

Recently, I read the most succinct and powerful piece by Fire Womon called:

Prostitution, Pornography and the Illusion of ‘Choice’

This piece echoes my exact sentiments about Pornography and Prostitution.

“My problem – and the problem for all prostituted women – is that there are feminists who claim to be ‘pro-sex work’, which basically just means you agree to women being paid fuckholes. Some of these same feminists claim radical feminists such as myself are ‘anti-sex workers’. I hereby state emphatically that not to be the case. I am anti-sex work. There is a huge difference.”

The face of prostitution and porn has changed since the Internet graced us with its presence.
It is more violent. It is more degrading. It is hateful.
It lusts for younger and younger girls.
(My most common search engine term on this blog is ’12 year old slut’. That doesn’t include the variety of ages like 10 year old slut that I receive, as well as more horrific searches such as, ‘put your dick in my 12 year old pussy daddy video’ {word for word})

The most frightening part? The consumer is insatiable.

Males.

From Prostitution; An Abolitionist Perspective, come the following harrowing statistics:

“In prostitution the conditions that make consent genuinely possible are absent: physical safety, equal power with customers and real alternatives.”

A 2004 study of prostituted women in nine countries (Canada, Columbia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Zambia)  89% of the women surveyed reported wanting to exit prostitution but did not believe they had any real alternatives. A 2005 study of prostituted women in Vancouver found that 82% were sexually abused as a child, while 72% endured physical abuse. 54% of the participants reported entering prostitution while under the age of consent. In addition 86% were currently or previously homeless. 95% of participants wished to exit prostitution but did not feel as though they had any other viable option.

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Choice?

There is little choice bar a small percentage of women. It’s not ‘Pretty Woman’. Those women are a microscopic minority and we simply cannot use them as an argument against the statistics of female, human misery at the hands of males and their drive to ejaculate inside them.

The following comes from an Open Letter to the UN asking for prostitution to be abolished:

You need only read or hear the testimony of women who have been bought for prostitution to find that, day in and day out, what men do when they buy women is “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Men pay to ejaculate and urinate on women’s faces, to hurt and humiliate them with any other kind of sexual perversion they had in mind, to not wear condoms.

As no human being should ever be treated that way, it follows then that PROSTITUTION IS A CORNERSTONE OF ALL SUBORDINATION OF WOMEN AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN WORLDWIDE. It supports sexual exploitation which is what customers buy. It is a reserve labor force that allows the economy to not have to fully employ all women seeking paid work. Prostitution structures families differentiating between wife and whore, pitting women against each other in ways that protect male dominance in the family as well as on the streets and in brothels. The list is as endless as is male domination and patriarchy. It is based on the recognition that women are a class hence what affects women in prostitution affects all women. To that end, to see that prostitution is recognized as a universal violation of human rights is to assert the right to human dignity in all of its meaning….. whether or not it is chosen or coerced, whether or not it is trafficked or pimped or is self-imposed by women themselves.

Now for the difficult part.
The following is the link to a site that publishes the opinions of male consumers (‘Punters’ slang) of prostitution in the UK. It outlines how much they paid for their female vessel and discuss their rating of the sex-worker’s performance.

** I must warn you that this may upset some people – but at the same time, I think it’s imperatively important to read the reality of this situation – straight from the horses’ mouths.

The site is called The Invisible Men – Let’s talk about his choices.
The image below is an example of what appears on this site – some are worse. Please read.

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That poor wife.
Porn and prostitution always affect marriages and relationships – in a multitude of varying ways – but always none-the-less.

If one puts Internet porn aside for a moment (a beast that is completely out of control),  the ‘ground-zero’ for us is the popular culture that supports this soul-destroying industry; through consumption by the pedestrian masses – lads’ mags, ads, TV shows and movies that use hyper-sexualised females to support physically, intellectually and/or monetarily heroic males and a pop culture which dictates a fashion that pushes for a look that is sculpted from porn – labiaplasty (of all things!) and plastic surgery are sadly still on the increase.
The worst part for females is the abhorrent rape culture that now exists; as the realities of porn violence seep into the minds of males and are enacted upon the bodies and minds of girls and women everywhere.

Some of these factors are fantastically explored by Gail Dines (again) and Julia Long in the article, Moral panic? We are resisting the pornification of women. It reads:

But feminists who organise against pornification are not arguing that sexualised images of women cause moral decay; rather that they perpetuate myths of women’s unconditional sexual availability and object status, and thus undermine women’s rights to sexual autonomy, physical safety and economic and social equality. The harm done to women is not a moral harm but a political one, and any analysis must be grounded in a critique of the corporate control of our visual landscape.

So I repeat – WHO is looking after females?

I don’t fight for me – I fight for a balanced and equal existence for all.
I fight for my daughters – that they not suffer – and I fight for yours.

I also fight for your sons.

Deep Breath.

I have grappled with the issue of pitting and comparing the actions and/or adversities of one gender by using the other to illustrate, for a long time – but it simply does not sit right with me.

It is like comparing apples with oranges.

For the most part, I believe the intention is generally a positive one (which is a refreshing step toward good), but when perceptions and customs related to gender are so profoundly entrenched, it falls short of accurately addressing the deep-seeded issues of gender disparity.

Exhibit A:

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This is a familiar visual representation that now seems to be common practice in highlighting gender-label ridiculousness – namely, a female’s.

There are two issues I have with this sort of juxtaposition:

1. Females have always been represented in this way – used as (sexual) ornaments. Males never have. So when we look at the females in the images, we see ‘normal’ and when we scan across to the males in similar poses, we see humour.

Steve Carell, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert recently did a photo shoot, emphasising the ludicrous poses females are encouraged to do:

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Its intentions are admirable but – it’s not the same. It’s just funny.
That humour can (ultimately) also work negatively for the females they’re trying to help, by making them look stupid for participating in their own exploitation; for posing that way in the first place.

I recently saw a snippet of reality TV the other day – one that does renovations on houses. There was a moment where all the contestants had an impromptu dance-off, which lead to the inevitable circle where they strut their stuff in the middle. One of the women chose to be semi-provocative by doing some fetching grinding moves against her partner.
Next was a male. He also did a bit of a provocative dance. It was funny. Everyone laughed.

2. The biggest issue, however, is vulnerability.
When a female is posing sexually, she is vulnerable – her breasts may be practically exposed; she may be bending over something with a short skirt; she may be wearing impossible-to-walk-in-heels (not easy to escape anyone in high heels btw) – you follow my drift.
The males in these representations, however, are not vulnerable.
Their only place of vulnerability is their penis and that is (as always in this current paradigm) *fully* covered.

Everywhere; every time.

How ironic that we seem to find comfort in the male gender – dipped head high in privilege – outlining the woes of the ‘lesser’ gender. Double irony? In most cases it’s statistically males pushing females to pose this way in the first place.

OK, let’s turn the tables; in format as well as gender reversal.

Let’s look at how men are represented and doing the switch.

Exhibit B:

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The image above is from the show, Beauty and the Geek. Never before have I witnessed such a blatantly sexist prime-time show; super-gluing more gender stereotypes to an already fragile equation.
Female = sexy, hot and DUMB;
Male = be who you want to be, you can still get a ‘hot’ female.

Can you imagine a show – heck, a REALITY – where we see females who are daggy/geeky/nerds of various body shapes, together with ‘hot’ males?

I can – but know it’s a concept that is (for the most part) a flash in the pan.
I remember through ads that Glee had a moment where an overweight girl was coupled with the hot football player.

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I wonder how many people were genuinely comfortable watching that visual?
I say visual because that’s all ANY of this is based on.
It’s irrelevant whether personalities gel or if people have a profound connection, because ultimately that’s not the message that wants to get taught; there’s no money to be made, if females are secure within themselves, after all.

I intensely wish for a more equal and balanced playing field for females and the bottom line is that females are more than just being the packaging for males’ sexual fantasies.

Question #199: Isn’t this world ready – YET – to unlock the wonderful array of possibilities – just by getting past that horrifically limiting idea of females?

I’ll leave you to think.

My next post is my 200th Question.
Bring your thinking caps along.

Deep Breath.

x

Quick question #1

November 19, 2013

It’s mid-week and crazy busy, but I just wanted to put forth a quick question.

Some of the discussions I’ve had over the years – about gender specific behaviours (for both men and women) in particular – have invoked a common response:

‘It’s always been that way’.

or

‘The core of human nature has never changed’.

I agree. I do. I’ve written that on this blog many times.

BUT…

When I was a kid growing up (in the days of yore: AKA late ’70s / early ’80s), my sister and I spent a substantial portion of our time, playing on the street –  generally venturing to the end of our large street block on push bikes.

Sweet.

Question #191: So – if people haven’t inherently changed, why don’t we let our kids play on the street anymore?

I don’t know anyone who does – including myself.

Actually, I saw a report recently about a possible future rule where parents may be fined for leaving children alone  – like walking home from school.

On one hand, it’s staunchly argued that people need to just ‘relax’ and ‘move on’ about certain issues because it’s always been like that.

On the other hand, we know – statistically – that it’s actually worse out there.

Or is it?

If you agree it is worse out there – the question that must be asked, is:
WHY? What’s changed?

Therein lies the possibility of a path toward some solutions – don’t you think?

What say you?

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Deep breath

x

Here in Australia we have a t-shirt company named Nena & Pasadena.

The t-shirts they sell show degrading images of women – generally with their faces cut out of the image so that their value only lies in their breasts, buttocks and the all-important pose.

Example:

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You get the idea.

A few months ago, this company started an all-ages ’Casting Call’ on Instagram #npcasting – calling out for men and women (boys and girls) to post photos of themselves, to then be judged by a group of privileged lads – deeming them the ‘hottest’.

To the truly tiresome argument that men are objectifying themselves too, I reply with the obvious – it’s not the same. Men have their shirts off, flexing chest muscles. Strength. That’s it. They’re not sexually posing with their legs spread or bending over with their butts in a g-string (thong).

Simply – the males are not vulnerable. And that’s the glaring difference.

There is also the fact that there are far more females posting up their ‘selfies’.
I’m sure you don’t need to go over to the site to verify you’ll see predominantly women and teen girls in hyper-sexualised, or sexy-kitten, or innocent-young-girl-ready-to-be-deflowered etc., looks and poses.

I took the following images off the actual competition page:

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So here is my perspective on this pandemic:

Yes, women are doing it.
But WHY?

This is not empowerment.

And there’s a very simple reason for it – it’s done for validation from a vulnerable position, not one of power. Once someone seeks validation, they are in a submissive position to the person they’re awaiting judgement from.

Period.
And this obviously gives the ‘judge’ ultimate power and places them in a dominant position.

This is not what we want for our girls and we don’t want our sons to see and judge girls and women this way. And yet…

What we also seem to forget – but shouldn’t – is how these girls and women will be spoken about.
It won’t be about their sunny disposition, it will be crass, degrading, demeaning and more – calling them bitches, sluts, whores, gangas (girls who like gang rape; a term used by teens) and so on.

We know that.

Question #190: So, why do we continue to act so blind and ‘unaware’ of the effect this is having on our psyche?

  • That women are being collectively objectified and seen as submissive (by BOTH sexes), in everyday life;
  • That our youth’s perspective on gender is becoming alarmingly skewed and toxic;
  • That there is no equal modelling on what healthy and loving relationships look like.

All of this is for the male gaze – one that’s becoming insatiable.

As a tiny example, this ‘casting call’ is evidence of that.

Why does Nena & Pasadena need to incite this behaviour?
It’s a win/win for them – they get the benefit of seeing to what levels women will go to be validated in this way and get wonderful material for men everywhere (including predators) to masturbate over.

Simple truth.

Sadly the images are posted up by a large contingent of girls and women who have been brainwashed to think their value lies only in the collective sum of their body features; although the differentiation in their ‘hottness’ is miniscule – they all look the same. The fact that women’s faces are absent (like on many N & P t-shirts) just confirms this.

Why doesn’t that annoy women enough to stick two big fingers up at it all?

These t-shirts are just a cog in the machine; the machine that includes porn magazines in newsagencies and petrol stations all the way through to the infinite collection of violent and degrading porn on the Internet.

I recently featured in the article  Too much, too soon –  in the Sydney Morning Herald magazine, Sunday Life. This is a succinct and illuminating piece by Melissa Jacob, about the toxic relationship our kids are having with Internet porn.

This is an emergency.

These women are the supply; Men are the demand.

And we all know that when demand is strong – and supply is waning – extreme measures, like trafficking, are taken to keep the demand happy. That road leads to a desensitised world – one that will stoop to anything, while the rest turn a blind eye.

Are we there yet?

Deep Breath…and make a stand!!

x

PS Want to take action?
1. Nena & Pasadena is owned by AFL player Buddy Franklin (who joined the Sydney Swans in 2014). The AFL has a policy regarding respect for women that this ‘business’ does not comply with. You can write to the AFL or the Sydney Swans and let them know your thoughts – especially from you good males.

2. With some friends and the gals from Collective Shout, we’ve been posting our own memes on the competition page.
Why not do your own? It’s as easy as writing a sign, taking a photo of it and posting it on #npcasting on Instagram.

I put up the following one:

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and this one:

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GO FOR IT!!