The Letter ‘T’

Disturbingly, a petition online of about 600 signatures has been circled around the internet by gay men and women calling for the T in LGBT to be erased from all media concerning them, might not sound like much but in the same year we’ve had Germaine Greer say trans women are just demented cockless men, announcements of a thriller action movie using gender reassignment as a gimmick and the movie Stonewall turned a black trans character into a white gay character. Basically then, this petition is summing up the increasingly dark treatment we as a species are giving the trans community – urging them to disappear.

Straight off the bat, let’s make it clear that even within feminism and LGBT movements there are poisonous individuals, spoiler alert, defending equal marriage rights doesn’t exempt one from being a total asshat. Germaine Greer, case in point, equated being trans as having ear extensions and fur added to your body and calling yourself a dog – because you know, one of those experiences is a harrowing journey of self-exploration and the other is a hilariously misguided use of medical resources, please don’t make me point out which is which. There is apparently no malice intended by this petition, it isn’t saying they want the trans community to be brutally killed off but apparently these individuals feel that the T in LGBT is what is holding them back from achieving fair treatment. Funny, I remember the issue being a modern society objecting to the concept of love being love because of a book written two-thousand years ago but whaddaya know, it was those darn transitioning twatmonkeys holding back the human race, go figure.

So what other criticisms do we have of the trans community here? Oh, this old gem, the “I can pretend to be a trans woman and still be a straight cis male and thus get free looks at boobs!”. I have many qualms with this transphobic trope – one being there are zero recorded incidents of that happening and whilst that doesn’t mean it has never happened, it certainly doesn’t happen as often as other invasions of privacy such as men molesting women on trains or inappropriate same-gender interaction in a changing room (I’ve been in a changing room and had other men comment on my underwear/penis, it is not just banter, it is fucking terrifying and weird and unless I invite you to look at my dick, do not discuss it). Secondly, it’s pretty fucking noticeable when someone is sexually aroused in a changing room, if this is someone’s master plan to watch women undress, please take this person and introduce them to porn, I beg of you, it will make their life so much easier. Trans people want to use the changing room or toilet they ask to use because that is what feels right to them, they aren’t there for a cheeky nose around in the same sense you aren’t. If you see someone wanting to use a different changing room and your first response is “Ohhhh so you can stare at other people getting changed?” then what does that say about you? Is that what you’d do? Heck, stick me in a women’s changing room, I’d just get changed, I’m waaaaaaaaay too self-conscious to spend my time oggling (That and y’know, I fucking respect their right to not be stared at)

The petitioners fear a promotion of trans equality alongside gay equality gives them a bad name, like they had an easy ride to begin with, the only difference between your struggles is one group got called sinners and abominations and then became popular and trendy on television in bit parts of stereotyped characters, the other got all that plus being used as a comedic trope and being confused with drag queens and psychotic perverts by even the people supposedly looking out for them. Apparently teaching children as young as four its okay to be trans will encourage them to be trans is another issue, to which I say “Why is that an issue?” and also “Kids experiment, that’s part of growing up, they will decide who they are when they’re done undressing their dolls and poking parts of the anatomy curiously”. Seriously, we need to get over this idea that this stuff is too complex for children when kids are actually pretty on the ball, why do we treat our children like impressionable morons? If your child is going to do something dumb, that is your problem, not the media’s, parent your goddamn child but love that child whatever they want to be – be that straight, gay, asexual, pansexual, genderqueer, gender re-assignment surgery – and if they ask a question, answer it, because if you don’t then it will eat away at your child and confuse them for years on end until they get the wrong idea from a film or a reddit post or whatever. All children experiment with their gender and sexual identity in some way, we have to allow for that and realise they will decide what is right in their own time and we have to show them love and support, not shame and resentment. I had ‘girly’ interests at different stages in life – Powerpuff Girls, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, some of my imaginary roles I played were female – I’m ‘fine’, I’m not a deviant, the same is true of so many others, I merely use myself because I know myself best for an example but experimentation leads to the discovery of a true inner identity, without that chance to learn we repress ourselves and THAT creates deviants.

Lastly, tieing in with Stonewall, the petitioners felt the film appropriated their culture and tried to pander to trans audiences by including trans characters arbitrarily, which is odd because y’know, I’m fairly sure trans people were there (Miss Major-Griffin Gracy ringing bells anyone? Google it). The film is a terrible whitewashing of an event at which only a third of the people there were gay/lesbian white folk, the rest were drag queens, genderqueer, trans and a veritable assortment of ethnic origins, Stonewall was the definitive bar for that community, it was not just a gay bar but a secret sanctuary for anyone who didn’t fit the straight-white guideline. The film, if anything, did too much to make it white and gay, to make a friendlier and less diverse portrayal of the events, possibly for fear of being too far out there to attract an audience or get a positive response in the media. To want less trans people and people of colour in the film and in the media portrayal of the community in general suggests a fundamental lack of understanding of what the community is – a genderfluid asexual black woman deserves as much media attention as a cisgender gay man because both of those people are being denied fair treatment in some sense or another, both are called abominations and both of them, as if this needed pointing out, are human beings.

Division within the LGBT+ community only serves to harm those within it and whilst there are some issues in which you can’t lump the L,G,B and T in the same discussion (For starters, T isn’t a sexual orientation, it’s a gender identity) the problems faced are shared and are best faced united. I’m certain that the overwhelming majority of the community won’t buckle to this transphobic way of thinking but if you have, I urge you to take up your beef with someone else because it is not the fight for trans equality you need to be worried about ruining your life and your chances of being respected by your peers – it is the crackpot zealots in government jobs saying you cause floods and plagues, it is the misconceptions that AIDS was the fault of people like you, it is the educational system that refuses to teach children why you are not a freak – those are the problems the LGBT+ movement have to face and they must face them together because a house divided is a house that falls! Trans people are human, just like you and they deserve to be fought for, why are you exempt from that fight?

Advertisements

What Evil Looks Like

This isn’t going to be a fun read but it is an important one and perhaps that should motivate you to read this article, especially if you are a man. Forewarning, the content ahead is about sexual abuse so if that will upset you, look away, but I encourage you to look on – these topics need to be discussed. By now this is old news but the point is no less valid and needs to be reinforced wherever and whenever appropriate. George Lawlor, student of Warwick University, opted not to attend the optional consent classes offered at his university on the grounds he does not, and I quote ‘look like a rapist’, apparently feeling unfairly judged as such and believing his own conduct above reproach. The said student put up his own blog post of why he didn’t go and I’d link you but I don’t want to sully this blog by offering traffic to such a vile corner of the internet but I’m here to offer a firm rebuttal and to explain why rape culture is a thing and why we need to work on it.

George’s primary point is that consent classes are condescending and patronising insults to men, accusing them all of being potential rapists. Consent classes, incidentally, are classes in which university students are educated on how to have healthy sexual relationships and how to correctly interpret real life scenarios. For example, if a girl comes over to a guy’s place with the intention of having sex with him but upon arrival, changes her mind, if that guys persists – that is rape. She wanted it, she changed her mind, coaxing her into it or pressuring her is rape. The classes focus on ambiguous situations, things that you might not be aware are unhealthy or unfair on your partner and how to behave more responsibly, ensuring each sexual relationship you have is completely consensual and legal if nothing else! Great idea if you ask me, I’ll go into it a bit more in a little while but I’d gladly go to such a class, not because I fear I lack the knowledge but because it sounds like a healthy environment in which to learn more about safe and satisfying sex lives. George though argues these classes are patronising, treating men like potential criminals, but this isn’t the case. Think about it this way – you’re required to attend Fire Safety meetings and Fire Drills in the world of work, does that mean they need to dissuade potential arsonists and pyromaniacs? Maybe, but for the most part it is the benefit of all involved, it promotes safety, knowledge and equips those present with the correct attitude as it reaffirms what they know to be right. We ALL know what to do in a fire, it’s ingrained in us – leave your possessions, leave in an orderly fashion, assemble outside at the safe point – imagine if the rules of consent were as ingrained in us as the rules of fire safety or crossing the road. Kids aren’t stupid, they know a car hitting them will hurt, we teach them so as to make sure they have all the knowledge they need to be safe.

Furthermore, taking these consent classes as a personal insult George, it tells me volumes about you as a person. You take ‘men being potential rapists’ as meaning you? If you know you have a healthy attitude towards sex, why is this so offensive to you? Men who get upset when feminism call out the patriarchy on sexism or transphobia by responding “But that’s not me!” need to realise it is not them specifically being challenged, unless they are actually doing those things in that moment, but the societal norm as a whole. You’re not exempt from that, as I’m not, we have to accept we’re a part of a culture that perpetuates violence and sexism and rape, what matters is what we as individuals strive to be and preach to others. We can’t be let off the hook as nice guys or knowing enough about feminist views to think that’s okay, we have to constantly work to be better, to do more – we might be a part of a negative culture George, but we enjoy the privilege of being straight white men, we get listened to, so don’t complain about someone maybe possibly implying you’re a rapist, shouldn’t the bigger issues be things like the prevalence of rape culture and the rising statistics over the years? Complain about that for a bit.

George put up a photo saying “This is not what a rapist looks like”, which I have two immediate responses to. One, what does a rapist look like? A January report in The Telegraph suggested one in every three women in the UK has been the victim of unwanted advances or sexual assault at least once in life so either there are a shit ton of similar looking dudes all with the same criminal attitudes or, more plausibly, there isn’t a singular rapist stereotype women should be taught to avoid. You want a disturbing fact? 80% of rape survivors KNEW the attacker, when we hear of rape we picture lonely women walking down an alley and getting mugged by a goon with a knife – this happens, let’s not overlook that, it’s terrible – but rape can be so much more subtle and dark. Rape can be a kiss that came with an unwanted hand in the front of a girl’s skirt, rape can be a drunken husband letting off steam on his unwilling wife, rape can be guys ganging up to take advantage of a girl they’re friends with. A rapist isn’t always some hooded delinquent in the shadows with the face of a killer, it can be that ‘friendzoned’ douche, a potential boyfriend, a study buddy, a one-time thing looking to make you his new habit. We like to think we can spot evil from a glance but we can’t, nobody has that ability, you can’t actually judge people that fast and before you know it, that nice guy you invited over one night to help you cram for an exam has turned up with other motives. If 80% of survivors knew the attacker and one in three women have at least said they felt like they were harassed, then one thing is certain – a rapist can look like anyone. You included George, no matter how nice or friendly or safe you think you look, I’ve known women who have been attacked by guys half your height and twice as jovial. I’m not calling George a rapist but just so he knows, he could look like one. I could too, get over it.

Lawlor stands at a position of privileged ignorance then, likely never having been a victim of sexual abuse himself, he can look down his nose at these classes that are just as much about empowering victims as educating potential aggressors into being better people. By disrespecting these classes, you disrespect every single victim of sexual abuse, you tell them that men aren’t responsible or accountable for what happened to them, it was their own stupid fault for getting too close to those nasty rapey men and not cosying up to nice guys like him. The outrageous tenacity of that viewpoint and level of stupidity makes my blood burn with rage. If you believe all rapists are bush-lurking cretins, you exempt yourself from being a rapist, you justify everything you do as not being an assault from the bushes. You also condone a certain creed of man to the harmful stereotype of looking like someone that deserves to be alone. Face it George, what you mean is handsome white heterosexual men aren’t rapists, but ugly ones or minorities are? I’ve had the misfortune of exploring your blog, from what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was your secret philosophy on the matter.

We need to break away from stereotypes, especially ones that belittle a serious crime like rape as being a horror story trope and not much else. Rapists aren’t a particular breed of men, some are but some are otherwise perfectly well-respected members of society. George, maybe you aren’t all that bad a guy and maybe I’m being hard on you but your contempt of consent classes is a privilege you can enjoy as a handsome white straight man, the most well-off of well-off demographics. We can’t let ‘nice guys’ off the hook by perpetuating the idea of all rapists being obviously creepy – it insults women, it degrades men and the facts don’t support it. Women’s safety is a massive issue, it’s one we aren’t doing enough about and these classes are an effort to address that imbalance, respect that.

Not Special Treatment, Human Treatment

Trigger Warnings – Abuse, violence, misogyny (No, not from me)

First of all, a big cheer for the blooming popularity of this blog after a period of relative quietness on the stats, this last week has seen the view counter soar and I’ve just had news from WordPress themselves that my blog’s average view stat is going up and up so thanks to everyone for that, makes me very happy. Anyway, today’s subject is feminism, yes the accursed word returns, even though it’s not a bad thing in itself despite what some might say and I’m here to take down some stupid arguments with a machine gun of intellectual assault so lock and load bitches, I’m going in red hot

I promise I won’t do that ever again…

1. So girls are equal to guys now? Does this mean I can hit them?

Whoa whoa whoa there sonny Jim, gender equality is a thing and the first thing is can you hit them now? What the heck is wrong with you that made that the first question? You aren’t a poof for hitting a girl because punching anything with a vagina is a cowardly thing to do, you’re a violent assailant for picking fights with people much shorter and less muscular than you, like women often are compared with men. By all means, if she’s six foot seven and carrying a crowbar, punch her lights out if she comes onto you but it’s not special treatment to not hit someone who is a foot shorter than you and in possession of less muscle mass than you, regardless of gender – if you do do that, that’s called bullying or you know, assault

2. Surely you’re sexist for thinking women need defending? Are you implying women can’t cope with harassment like the rest of us?

No, I’m not, women can cope, they’ve coped for centuries, it’s a matter of should they have to? I’m a white straight cisgender English-speaking male, I got it pretty sweet on that deal, I can walk down alleys without worrying who wants to attack me, I don’t get followed down the street, people don’t yell things at me and insult me for not responding. Add ‘fe’ to the start of that male bit and it’s a whole other ball game. Feminists are not sexist for thinking women have had enough of being treated like objects by their peers, it’s just human decency and anyone who disagrees should really try harder to empathise. I’ve met women who get things yelled at them as compliments and it just makes them feel awkward and cheap. Sure, some embrace it and take it in their stride to empower themselves, kudos to them, but not everyone can and the solution is not a thicker skin, it’s about challenging society

3. If women don’t want to be objectified by men, why do they go out of their way to attract them in the first place?

Because I go out of my way to look attractive as a guy, thus the suits and constant fuss over weight gain and hair loss, but truth be told I’m not looking to go on the pull every single time I leave the house. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you don’t dress for other people, you dress for yourself, for what you feel good in and if that’s a little showy then really, what does it matter? Avert your gaze or grow up, it’s terribly vain to think everyone around you is set on looking their best for your attention, maybe she just thinks she has a great looking butt and wants to strut it a bit? You’re not obliged to grab it to confirm that she is indeed correct, just turning your head was proof enough really. By the same token, maybe she just likes wearing corsets or sleeveless tops because they’re pretty and nice to wear, one reason I like wearing suits so much is they just look smarter and nicer than turning up in hoodies everywhere, makes me feel like I made an effort to be a human being

4. Men are objectified too! Look at guys in films, they’re unrealistically charming and handsome!

Ok, I’ll admit unrealistic standards of beauty exist for both genders in age of star power and photoshopping but the difference is that men are idealised in media, not objectified. If you look at the attention drawn to women in media like magazines and games, it’s about their appearance, their figure, their cuteness or sexual sensuality and if they’re smart or strong then it’s usually pitched as some sort of shocker like “Emma Watson isn’t just a pretty face, she talks too, about stuff, hot!”. Men, whilst depicted as handsome in many films, they are idealised as courageous, clever, thoughtful, strong – traits that are aspirational standards much loftier than a certain bust size or hair style. Looking at the success of men and women in the workplace, women are much more likely to attribute success to their support network and luck whereas men are more inclined to self-promote or ┬ásay their success was a result of their own hard work. Men, as a general standard, are the ideal – the best thing to be is a rich white straight guy, that is a patriarchy, true equality would be if you got to ask God before you were born
“What’s the best way to start life? Boy or girl? Gay or straight? Mexican or European?”
“Whatever dude, just go out there and make something of yourself!”
Aside from a surfer dude God, that sounds great right? However, as it is, if you got to ask what you would be born as to ensure your success in life, you’re best of going for a straight white guy from the West

5. Ugh, you’re such a smart arse. Ok, explain this then – why are women allowed to not like certain types of men and not be called shallow but if a guy says he doesn’t like fat/thin/tall/short girls then he’s a jerk?

Good question, it is a bit unfair and some of our standards are still drawn from the media when we choose partners, the whole taller guy and shorter girl for example, hard to list ten films in which the female lead is tall or tubby or the male romantic hero is four foot tall. However, this is one that is a big problem we all need to get over but maybe it’s just people don’t find certain factors attractive and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, though it’s nothing to parade about either. I find women are generally a softer touch with saying why a guy isn’t their type as opposed to the “No fat chicks” slogan of many old men’s shirts. You find some things attractive, some things you don’t, but maybe everyone should look around that at what matters more and maybe we should accept the reality we won’t be attractive to every person we meet or we would all get on so much better. Could you imagine a world like that? Jeez, everyone finds everyone attractive, not sure if that’d be awesome or awkward… or you know, one massive long orgy across the planet

6. Hey… you didn’t shout me down or avoid the subject… you’re not all bad. I didn’t realise men could be feminists…

Of course, feminism is often mistaken for some sort of raging hate group commanded by a council of evil lesbians hellbent on castrating every man alive but the truth is a feminist is anyone who believes your genitals don’t determine your worth in society. Men’s Rights Activism is the hate group here, they don’t represent men very well beyond a bunch of whiney white guys wanting their female friends to sleep with them already and stop complaining so much when the men who need representation are overlooked (Gay men as an effeminate stereotype/ black men being judged as poor fathers despite that making no sense/ the male kind being misunderstood as the majority of them being horny arrogant sods/ trans* men being seen as ‘fakers’ or men being forced into masculinity stereotypes against their will). If you think we all deserve a fair chance, you’re a feminist, there you go. Men can be feminists because men are capable of realising the flaws in our society and wanting them to be worked on so as not to see their female friends and family members lose out just because they have boobs

I hope this clears up a few things about feminism as a cause, it’s misunderstood by many of us, even myself once upon a time. Feminism sounds like it’s all about women because of the ‘fem’ but considering women have had laundry and dishes to do for centuries on end, only to be repaid with degrading butt slaps and cat calls, I think it’s fair to put a hand up and say “Uh hey, we’re not 100% cool with that, can we maybe not assume every girl likes to be manhandled and we’ll let you know if we do want a spanking? Thanks”. I’d certainly say so anyway. So get the word out, the Feminazis are actually Feminiceys… just don’t put it like that