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.
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:
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?
May 10, 2014
The newspaper, The Courier Mail from Queensland, published the following full-page article, this last Sunday 5th May, called:
Pie and Coke No Joke with the sub-heading Supersized Happy Hooker Deal.
(shaking my hanged head)
This abysmal article is actually advertising the idea of ducking out in your lunch break (if you’re male) and having sex with a prostitute as a part of a meal deal:
A pie, a Coke and a POKE! – as they so disgustingly put it.
The most malevolent part of this article, however, is one of the first paragraphs that reads:
‘The midday rendezvous is also discreet, enabling clients to duck out and still be home for the wife and kids in the evening.’
So it seems we have well and truly arrived, people – adultery is now something we are literally endorsing in the paper today.
I’ll come back to that question.
This article encapsulates how the lines of ethical and moral behaviour are ever being erased by the human race for the sole purpose of making money.
On an even more profoundly disturbing level – we are the participants of a world which ensures males have every opportunity to immerse themselves in the sexual and objectified images of females, which in turn forges their perceptions of what females mean to them.
So in this skewed modern-day existence, which sympathises for a small stereotype and dictates we should empathise with the poor male who can’t get any sex with a ‘regular’ girl and needs to purchase a female body to penetrate, I ask this question:
Question #202: Why does ejaculation have to happen inside a female?
(or in her mouth; or in her anus; or on her face etc.)
It’s the sense of entitlement; that’s the problem.
Whether in a relationship or not, males (prominently, as a species) act as though they are owed access to female bodies – and in the way they want; to varying degrees, of course.
If one thinks logically, without emotion, and with use of reason – we know that, commonly, it’s deemed one has ‘had sex’ – when he has orgasmed and, generally, in her.
I find that what we quickly choose to ignore is that female bodies are on the frontline in prostitution; ‘servicing’ male, after male, after male and we ignore those who find themselves trapped in this insidious industry – one that too many have arrived at due to horrible childhood experiences or unimaginable circumstances. And it is insidious, when you see (like in this case) the words ‘fun recreational pursuit’ in the same article that’s promoting adultery.
When the demand (male) is SO high, the supply (female) has to come from somewhere.
Therefore – surely – only logic can deduce, at this point, that female bodies are ultimately being used as commodities for ejaculation. It’s just dressed up in different ways.
This is an ad for a perfume that’s visible at the front of many Myer stores around Australia at the moment.
She is naked. She is painted like a gift. She has a bow-shaped bottle in front of her spread legs – ultimately, the gift. The perfume is even called Bon Bon – how delicious!
This subliminal messaging that every single human being absorbs as they walk past images like these, is palpable.
Adults – so desensitised they don’t even notice; Children – are learning.
Vaginas are for sale. The ultimate prize.
If we step away from prostitution and marketing and look away from our ‘developed’ world, we see that this dogma is sadly and tragically firmly rooted in our species’ psyche.
As I write this, it is highly probable that nearly 300 Nigerian girls are being sold off; making the hundreds of males who purchase them, very happy – some reports say for as little as $12 for each teenage girl.
We all know that once purchased, they’re only going to be treated in horrific ways – and just one of those ways will be to violate them repeatedly with a penis.
Sex: All Female; Race: All Black
So back to the earlier question – why not endorse prostitution and adultery?
Well, it seems that the only ones who take the opportunity of using their free right to speak their thoughts, think it’s all just simply terrific.
Following are some of the comments (just a snapshot) made on the Courier Mail FB page. There were hundreds of comments left and most are like the ones that follow. An interesting observation to note, is that the popular philosophy seems to be shared by both genders, either through ‘humour’ or gender stereotypes.
I find most of these answers disturbing and have highlighted some phrases.
Spelling mistakes are their own.
* People have to pay bills too, and whilst a legal brothel isn’t illegal, what’s wrong with it? If women feel there husband is cheating on them, find out why? Is it because you don’t put out, is it because your hubby is no longer physically attracted to you due to all that chocolate ladies desire so much or do you have just one too many headaches that you really should get attended to by your Dr? (m)
* Chuck in a smoke and you’ve got a deal (m)
* Get a life! Its one of the oldest professions world wide. If it wasnt for brothels allot of people world wide would have to result to there hand forever and would never get some booty staying a virgin till they die lol so chill out and dont be so negative about it. (m)
* It’s one of the oldest trades in history. Been around a lot longer than any other job. It’s going to be there forever so people may as well just accept it. At least they have a job and aren’t on the doll sapping the money from the state (f)
* I think if you make the money work for you by paying bills etc. Why not? It’s clean, and nothing wrong with it (f)
* If the availability of prostitutes can help to reduce the amount of rapes and attacks on women and children, then I’m all for it..! (m)
* I would have thought given the circumstances a sausage roll would be more apt ?? (f)
* Same (f): Munch is on me! + Gives new meaning to the HONEY IM JUST GOING DOWN THE SHOPS TO GET A PIE AND A COKE haha
* What a great marketing tool. Thinking outside the box !!!!! (f)
* Why are people so harsh on hookers, if it’s what they want to do for a living then leave them too it, it’s not like we live in Cambodia or Thailand where children are abused. As long as they’re adults and consenting, leave them alone! (m)
* Oh for god sakes you angry nasty sexually frustrated woman …get over yourselves . These woman are working and pose no threat to your relationships . The skanky home wrecking hoes you are so threatened by are actually at night clubs, pubs and facebook lol…and they give it up for free in the hope of stealing your worthless unfaithful man . Instead of a linch mob …why not host a few lingerie parties and learn how to satisfy and keep your man at home and between your sheets? Or get a man who is satisfied by what he has at home ..some men will never be faithful. (m)
* Gives new meaning to a ‘Happy Meal’ (f)
* Can you get fries with that? (f)
Responses: Do you mean ‘flies’? (m) + Thought lice would be more appropriate (m)
* “Crack” the daytime market. LMAO (m)
* It’s a job bet half those putting these women down gave it out for FREE before they became stiff housewives with self hate issues. IF your hubby is paying for it chances are you can keep him unlike with the tarty women who steal husbands. (f)
* ha ha, two Pies for the price of one (m)
Question #203: So do we still have nothing to worry about?
I don’t think so. I don’t think so.
I’ll leave you with a comment that I saw on FB in regards to this article:
‘While Sweden, Norway, Iceland and France move towards defining gender equality in a way that prohibits men buying women, our country is believing the lie of sex sellers and moving further and further towards normalising men’s entitlement to women’s bodies. It is not a human right to purchase or get sex, prostitution is exploitive and the sex trade is dehumanising.
Have we reduced the act of sex to a product and a woman to the wrapping?’
March 27, 2012
I need to start this post by saying that I’m SO embarrassed. When I checked the number of hits I’d had on Friday night, I failed to realise that it was a few minutes past midnight…hence why there weren’t any hits. FAIL. I must admit, though, that my brain was in the mushy stage by then, especially after the previous 24 hours. So all is good. *smile*
I also want to give an honourable mention to my BFF (who I met 35 years ago and has been a constant in my life ever since), for joining me on my mini-break. It was just the ticket. In just over a day together, we talked, did some shopping in the quaint, antiquey, Blue Mountains shops, saw The Three Sisters, drank, ate, laughed…and talked. We discussed our kids, our strength as mothers – our flaws – and gave each other support. I came away feeling peaceful and blessed. Thank you, Katy.
As I usually do in discussions like this, I’m going to go ‘back in the day’, as it’s the only benchmark I have.
I remember in the 90’s, when I was in my 20’s, I used to buy Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines pretty regularly – it seemed to have everything a young and vibrant girl like me needed to know! *insert ‘wow’ face*
It was also designed to confuse the hell out of us, but hey….what’s new. We went from ads with skinny and gorgeous women modelling clothes, makeup and jewellery – to the harrowing story of the girl with anorexia – to “How to lose your tummy in 10 days!” exercise regime – to some story about loving a star’s new curves. Yep. Mixed message central.
And this was the era of no photoshopping! I know – hard to believe or imagine nowadays. If anything, at least they were selling us real women – unlike today where the women are practically digital.
So, yes, the core of what we’ve been ‘sold’ over the decades, hasn’t changed. What has changed, however, is the saturation of the current ‘look’ and the worst part is that our young girls are LAPPING it up.
What does this have to have sex? I hear you ask….
Well, in the same way that us girls have always been sold an image to conform to, now it’s being used to sell a ‘common’ sexual image – for men.
Back to Cleo and Cosmo for a moment. Along with all the above-mentioned features, there was always a section devoted to how to ‘catch a guy’ or ‘please your man’ – generally with ’10 ways’ to do it. Funny – I’m not sure what magazine is out there for the guys, with tips on how to please their woman…
…oh, that’s right, there isn’t.
Question #26: Why are women perpetuating the sexual image, that’s a male fantasy?
With the introduction of the internet, it seems that (again) there is one predominant image being splashed about in everything we see; young girls and women, dressing like they’re ready to go – and a lot of them are. A friend recently said to me that a young, male relative of hers told her how easy it is for a guy to end up with a girl, “without having to do anything.”
But the word that keeps rearing its head, is young.
You have ads, like the following, where child star Dakota Fanning, is looking a little more grown up, a little less innocent – and giving up her ‘flower’ to sell perfume…that’s sitting in her crotch.
This ad was banned in the UK.
Or there’s this 10-year-old in French Vogue…
It’s obviously not enough to target young women in their 20’s, through to teenagers, to make a buck – now, to feed the insatiable lust for making money, we need to start training our girls in Primary School. What leaves me dumbfounded, however, is that there seem to be A LOT of mothers behind the new trainees.
Please watch the following clip. It features Melinda Tankard Reist, the warrior fighting the sexual exploitation of our young girls. This link contains images of a dance show in America called, “Dancing Moms” and how girls as young as eight are doing a burlesque dance – with the ‘appearance’ of being topless.
Besides the disturbing fact that pedophiles just won – AGAIN – these girls are being trained to express themselves in a sexual manner – aged 8 – for ratings. There is nowhere else for these girls to turn, because as they start to grow and watch music videos and movies, there’s just more of the same:
- Girls looking and acting like they’re naughty girls – because that’s what men like,
- Girls who are willing to give sexual favours AND be good at it – because that’s what men like,
- Girls who ‘don’t want a relationship’, just sex – because that’s what men like.
Ever noticed that if there’s a soundtrack to represent sex – it’s just a female voice you hear moaning and panting? Never a man’s – because men don’t like that.
Deep down, girls don’t know how else to behave because they’ve been fed the same story from the start – your validation comes from your looks.
Girls can’t really get validation from their friends because girls/women secretly (deep down) compete with each other. So they turn to the men and in this competitive market, how else are girls/young women going to catch that boy’s eye, if it’s by not by giving him what he wants?
We’ve always been a confused bunch – navigating our way through everything that was thrust in our face – but now it’s a whole new ball game and it’s up to us, ladies, to start turning things around through education and protest.