Professional pounder of the patriarchy.

Archive for January, 2016

Ellen Murray

You may remember me mentioning the Northern Irish trans advocate Ellen Murray in my Five Awesome Women on the Internet post. She’s an activist and the chair of GenderJam NI, campaigning for better access to healthcare for transgender youth. Recently, her work has risen to a more widespread public level – she is also a consultant on trans issues for several statutory sectors and she’s passionate about sustainable transport (or, as she puts it, “gay for bikes”).

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Loves bikes, this lass does.

But now, as a member of the Green Party of Northern Ireland, she’s the very first trans election candidate in Northern Irish history. I am RIDICULOUSLY excited and proud on her behalf; she’s a wonderful woman. I’ve submitted questions anonymously on her Tumblr blog from time to time, and she’s never been anything less than kind, compassionate and candid.

If you’re eligible to vote in the Northern Irish Assembly Poll, I’d urge you to check out her work and see for yourself the kind of things she stands for. This is her official blog and the GenderJam website.

Best of luck, Ellen! Keep reppin’!

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Apologies

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few weeks – it’s mostly been sharing videos and short recommendations, rather than proper content! People seemed to respond well to that though, so I’ll probably continue to feature YouTube videos and links that I consider important or interesting.

I’ve been busy at the moment – or, more accurately, I feel as though I’m more busy. There’s not necessarily “more” going on in my life than there was last year; I’m perhaps just more invested in the things that I am doing. I’m the kind of individual who wants to excel in every area of my life, and that’s not always feasible. I sometimes have unreasonable expectations of myself (and of other people, which is something I’m working on). I want to keep this blog at a high standard with content you all enjoy, I want to do as well at college as possible, I want to find time to write. I’ve also recently joined a project by a group of young creatives from Cheltenham, who are currently rebooting Doctor Who (you can find out about them here). I obviously want the work I do for them to be the absolute best it can be.

If my posting from now on is a little intermittent, I’m very very sorry. I’m going to strive to keep all these aspects balanced.

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Have faith, Bianca!

Lots of love,

Dolly x

“A rabid feminist writes…”

A rabid feminist writes… – http://wp.me/p6cBF3-am
From the brilliant language: a feminist guide

Laci Green – “Abortion Under Attack”

Laci Green on the history of abortion legislation and the current controversy:

This is a really serious issue. Personally, I’m pro-choice. I think everybody has the right to access an abortion when they need it, and I firmly believe it’s a violation of human rights to have that opportunity denied.

Just Something That Made Me Smile

My Classics teacher offered us all a trigger warning before we started our next source (it was Livy’s “The Rape of the Sabine Women”, and it’s extremely icky). He was so non-judgmental and accepting about it, and he said that if anyone felt uncomfortable they were welcome to step outside for a little while. You might say it’s just education policy, but I did the same text – albeit in much less detail – at GCSE and there weren’t any warnings of that kind then. And you’d think they’d be much more careful with 15-year-olds than with 17-year-olds. I’m waiting in anticipation of the day when this is the norm and I don’t have to applaud men – and people generally – who are socially conscious, but sadly we’re not at that point yet.

Anyway, he is a tiny Irish feminist, a nerd on an epic scale and an absolute gem in general, so shoutout to him for being so great.

moral support

Matthew Santoro – “My Abuse Story”

Matthew Santoro is a Youtuber, active since 2010, who makes educational and informational videos. He has over 5 million subscribers and over 500 million views, and – as of writing this – he has posted 248 videos.

On 11th January, he did an incredibly brave thing by publishing a video in which he discusses an abusive relationship which ended recently. I won’t name the woman involved, as he chooses not to, although if you’re a Santorian (like me) you probably know her name anyway.

Matt is unlikely to ever see this, but I’d like to express how proud this makes me. He makes videos to spread a little sunshine, to brighten up other people’s lives. Sharing an immensely personal experience opens him up to such vulnerability, so there’s really no greater act of courage for a Youtube entertainer than this.

The points he makes are very valid, though. This isn’t just a starkly emotive video; it’s actually a poignant and topical one too. He’s right – we don’t talk about male abuse victims enough. We don’t fully discuss the sheer range of people who can be affected by IPV (intimate partner violence) or domestic abuse. Cis women aren’t always the victims; cis men aren’t always the perpetrators. Anybody of any gender can fit into either of those categories, but stigma still surrounds men who report abuse. You only have to look at some of the comments on the video (“Man up”, “You’re pathetic”, “Fight back”) in order to see the scale of the problem.

So, please, work your absolute hardest to be the most approachable and compassionate person you can. You never know who might need to confide in you one day.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, then that’s a viable reason to call the police (on whichever number is relevant in your country). I’m including a list of helplines.

English National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247

Welsh Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 80 10 800

Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327

Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland): 0800 917 1414

Scottish Women’s Aid: 0800 027 1234

Broken Rainbow (for LGBTQ+): 0800 999 5428

These are all 0800 numbers, so they should be free of charge in the UK.

“Girl DESTROYS Feminism in 3 minutes”

Warning: this is a long’un.

Stumbled across this absolute gem today. I was drawn in by the idea that this young Canadian woman – a Political Science student, libertarian and Youtuber by the name of Lauren Southern – might be about to shatter my illusions, that she would “destroy” feminism. Did she? No, not really. Is it even remotely convincing? Absolutely not.

Firstly, some early observations from me – it’s interesting that the original copy of this video that I saw (this one is from Rebel Media) was posted by a channel named after that giant of gender equality Playboy. I have no idea if the channel is officially endorsed by Playboy, but, judging by the channel art of a busty woman and the description “Watch this hot blonde girl explain why third wave feminism is a load of horse shit”, I’m going to assume it has much the same motivations. That is, the objectification and systematic dehumanisation of women. How nice for those viewers. Hey, here’s a pretty girl to tell you why you shouldn’t feel bad about all the shitty things society does to women. Keep it classy, gentlemen. Maybe she didn’t anticipate that her video would end up on the channel, but potentially she knowingly allowed them to use the footage. The patriarchy might be benefiting you now, my dear. It’s not doing a lot for the rest of us.

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This is the sign she referred to.

Her first point is that she believes in “equality, not entitlement or supremacy”. Not to sound like Bianca del Rio, but really, queen? Ms Southern just happens to be a writer for the right-wing media outlet Rebel Media, and she’s suggesting she doesn’t tolerate supremacy? I’m sure she’s worked out by now that “right-wing” means “accepting of social inequality”. Besides, the people coming from a privileged position –  in which they think they are entitled to something – are men: entitlement to women’s bodies, entitlement to spaces where women should feel safe, entitlement to women’s opinions and voices and autonomy. Perhaps what you mean , ma’am, is “deserving”, not “entitled”. Every feminist in the world thinks women deserve the same opportunities and the same rights as their male counterparts. I don’t think that’s a negative thing at all.

She later states that “… third wave feminism is NOT, in fact, a movement for equality”. This always baffles me. Does she think people like me just call ourselves “feminists” for the banter? Everybody who says “I’m a feminist” does it because the word means something to them. They’re dissatisfied with the current state of society and they want to do something to change it. How can a movement in which every participant wants a better and fairer world not be “for equality”? Utterly bizarre.

She then asks (what I accept as) a valid question: “If feminism is a movement for equality, why do we not see equal representation of both genders’ issues?” (For someone who’s so interested in social equality, she invalidates trans people in spectacular fashion.) The answer is, my dear Lauren, that there is fair representation of men within the feminist movement – you just choose not to see it. Feminists are aware that men experience violence and rape, and that their traumatic experiences are ignored. The people who believe that men cannot be raped or refuse to allow men to show emotions very rarely identify as feminists. She also states that “feminists remain silent on the issue (of sexual assault against males)”, which is patently untrue. The stigma surrounding men speaking up about rape and sexual assault comes from patriarchal ideas about femininity. To show emotion is to be feminine; to be feminine is to be weak. Feminism is all about challenging those ideas.

I find it particularly interesting that she was also embroiled in controversy for holding up a sign that said: “There is no rape culture in the West.” This took place at a SlutWalk in Vancouver, a protest against victim-blaming in rape trials. She was also seen holding a microphone up to the faces of victims and openly harassing them. Contrary to what Lauren seems to think, comparatively few rape cases, even involving women, actually result in a trial and a subsequent conviction. I wrote a speech about the issue for an English Language exam, condemning the inadequacy of the law in rape trials. Women are still stigmatised even when they are the victim; if they were dressed “provocatively”, then the rapist could not control himself. This is something feminists firmly disagree with – we don’t think men are unable to control their urges. We don’t believe that “boys will be boys”.

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There is room for men in feminism; they’re just not the focus. Meninists, MRAs and anti-feminists have one stance and one stance only – that they hate feminists. They don’t really care about men’s issues, they don’t campaign to raise awareness of violence against men or of high suicide rates among young males.

I’m not saying men don’t face struggles or every man has an easy life. But it’s undeniable that, historically, men have held power over women. I will never perceive someone preventing women from reclaiming that power as anything but a sexist.

Lauren Southern’s fallacy here is to blame the lack of social support for men on feminists, as though we are the governing body. That is the fault of our society. Personally, I care very much about men’s issues. I want my three younger brothers to grow into healthy, happy young men who are comfortable talking about how they feel. We lost three grandparents this year and I am immeasurably proud of how the boys handled such a terrible situation. All three showed sensitivity and a willingness to talk about how the sad passing of our grandparents made them feel, even the youngest who is only five.

Lauren doesn’t really take issue with feminism- at least, I don’t think she does. Having looked at her work on Rebel Media, she’s concerned about a “politically correct” society. She just doesn’t want to get called out for being bigoted. Guess who can spot a bigot a mile off? Ooh yeah, us feminists. Her bibliography includes: “Be offensive in the defence of free speech on university campuses“, “”#GamerGate: is sexist games marketing a real problem- or feminist propaganda?” and “Is diversity really our strength?” (in which she argues that a diverse society is useless because it doesn’t have an economic benefit). She’s just privileged and reactionary, as most right-wing politicians are.

Lauren Southern hasn’t “destroyed” third wave feminism, not by a long shot. Every example she gave was an issue that I have heard countless feminists bring up. So to summarise: feminists know that boys do cry and that it’s healthy and normal for them to do so. Sorry, Lauren. Try again another time.