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On Misogyny in Industrial Music

And speaking of deflecting criticism through irony, Nadya Lev has written a long, thoughtful piece on misogyny in industrial music:

The “cinematic reference” argument seems to be a common tactic in deflecting criticism. Thomas Rainer has used the filmic term “sexploitation” to describe Nachtmahr, and Throat Full of Glass music video director, Chad Michael Ward, wrote to Coilhouse stating that “the video, conceived by both the band and myself, is a send-up of 1970s grindhouse/exploitation films, where men were thugs and women were whores; in other words caricatures, not entirely unlike the noir films of the 1930s that I also love dearly.” In reality, the “it’s an homage to grindhouse” defense is so common that it’s becoming a cliche. Here’s the thing: when Tarantino revived the grindhouse genre, it was with clever, self-aware, satirical, intelligent scripts that actually told new stories that were relevant to our time. The Bride is one of the most celebrated bad-ass film icons out there. Similarly, today’s burlesque movement revives the noir glamour of the 30s with a DIY, feminist sensibility. Contrasted to that, what collective story does the combination of these industrial music videos tell?

Full Story: On Misogyny in Industrial Music

Here’s the comment I left:

“If satire isn’t interpreted as satire, but as a sincere expression of belief, doesn’t mean that the artist has to condescend to explain it and hold the listener’s hand.”

The question of the artist’s responsibility for people not getting a piece of work is a sticky one. People completely missing the point of satire has been a thing for a long, long time. The movie Joe [1] comes to mind, but it was hardly the first.

Similarly, to what degree can an artist be criticized for utterly failing at satire? If Combachrist has been at this for as long as he has, and no one gets the joke, is that a failure as an artist on his part? (joblowcritic’s point about Laichach is particularly relevant here).

There has been a rash of movies over the past few years that claim to be satire or criticism of media violence, violence against women, etc. but simply devolve into being an embodiment of what they intended to satirize — to such a degree that it’s questionable whether the film makers ever really intended to do satire or whether that was all just a cover (Sucker Punch for example).

Combachrist and Nachtmahr have fallen into the same realm. Is this stuff *really* earnest parody, or cover for the opportunity to do whatever they want without criticism? Did it start out as parody, but at some point start feeling a bit too comfortable?

One big difference between these guys and Laibach is that, to the best of my knowledge, Laibach never used their aesthetics of fascism schtick as an excuse to, say, make a video about torturing Jews or beating women or whatever. That’s the problem I have with films like Sucker Punch, Crank and that whole family of neo-grindhouse films as well. There just isn’t a big enough difference between the real thing and the satire.

[1] http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3013/

Being An Atheist Is A Hassle, But Being A Lady Atheist Can Be The Pits

Vice interviews “Boobquake” founder Jennifer McCreight:

Is it fair to say that, on the whole, atheists aren’t that crazy about feminism?

I think, for some people, atheism is the one minority identity they have. They’re not gay, they’re not black, they live in the United States, and a lot of them are middle-class or higher. Being an “atheist” is the one thing that they take on as their cause, and they think it’s the most important because it’s the only one that affects them. It puts their priorities out of order a little bit. Once you’ve figured out God doesn’t exist, that’s great! But there are other irrational things you might believe in, like sexism.

Full Story: Vice: ATHEISM?-?SEXISM?=?ATHEISM?+

See also: How I Unwittingly Infiltrated The Boys Club And Why It’s Time For a New Wave Of Atheism:

I don’t feel safe as a woman in this community – and I feel less safe than I do as a woman in science, or a woman in gaming, or hell, as a woman walking down the fucking sidewalk. People shat themselves with rage at the suggestion that cons should have anti-sexual harassment policies. DJ Grothe, president of JREF, blamed those evil feminist bloggers for TAM’s female attendance problem instead of trying to fix what’s scaring women away (and then blocked me on Twitter and unfriended me on Facebook for good measure). A 15 year old girl posted a photo of herself holding a Carl Sagan book to r/atheism and got a flood of rape jokes in return. The Amazing Atheist purposefully tried to trigger a rape survivor. Paula Kirby decided we’re all feminazis and femistasis. I’ve become used to being called a cunt or having people threaten to contact my employers because a feminist can’t be a good scientist. Rebecca Watson is still receiving constant rape and death threats a year after she said “Guys, don’t do that.” And mentioning her name is a Beetlejuice-like trigger for a new torrent of hate mail.

Previously: How An Anti-Feminist Screed Ended Up In a Physics Journal

Ada Lovelace Day vs. Marie Curie Day

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a dedicated to celebrating women in science, technology, engineering and math and encouraging more women and girls to become get involved in those areas.

But John Graham Cumming writes:

Every year when Ada Lovelace Day comes along I find myself disappointed that Lovelace has been chosen as the symbolic ‘woman in science’ because her contribution is minimal, the claims about her are overblown and there’s a much better role model who really contributed a lot: Marie Curie.

Full Story: John Graham Cumming: Marie Curie Day

Interesting thoughts though I hope this doesn’t lead to a pointless rivalry — the important thing is to encourage is to get more people involved in STEM, not to fight about which women were more important.

This Week In Anonymity And Sexualization Of Strangers

A 15 year old girl committed suicide after months of harassment following topless photos of her circulating on the internet

A Tumblr was created to publish the identities of men who post “creepshots” to Reddit

Reddit finally shut the Creepshots subreddit down

Gawker unmasked Violentacrez, a Creepshots moderator who also started or moderated various other, shall we say “distasteful” subreddits.

Hardwired to Nurture: What the New Testosterone Study Really Says About Men

Still playing catchup:

An intriguing new long-term study of Filipino men has discovered that becoming a father lowers a man’s testosterone level. More specifically, what really drops male testosterone is the amount of time spent caring for children; men who spent three hours or more per day caring for a child had significantly less testosterone than those dads who were less involved with their children. It’s not that men with lower testosterone were “naturally” more inclined to be caregivers in the first place; based on the voluminous longitudinal data, it’s the act of caring itself that reduced testosterone significantly.

An otherwise reasonable New York Times piece on the study begins with the somber warning, “This is probably not the news most fathers want to hear.” But as several researchers in the article point out, this is actually great news for dads—and for all men. One of our great enduring myths about males is that we are biologically hardwired for violence and promiscuity, and that any attempt to encourage us to take on a nurturing, tender role is destined to end in failure. The “Caveman Cult” crowd, which includes a great many popular writers on gender, suggests that female physiology is optimized for caregiving while male physiology is optimized for conquest. And when pressed to cite the chief factor in this supposed male inability to care for children, these defenders of traditional gender roles almost invariably cite the overarching influence of testosterone.

Full Story: The Good Men Project: Hardwired to Nurture: What the New Testosterone Study Really Says About Men

Count

Quinn Norton writes:

For many years when I walked into a room I instantly counted the women. It told me a lot about what to expect from that room. One day, having lost my best friend over racial politics out of my control, I began to count people of color. That too was for safety, for understanding how my views would be taken. That too told me a lot I needed to know about the room. But it also hinted to me about a whole realm of experience I wasn’t having. […]

Full Story: Quinn Says: Count

The Problem With Men Explaining Things

Rebecca Solnit for Mother Jones:

Yes, guys like this pick on other men’s books too, and people of both genders pop up at events to hold forth on irrelevant things and conspiracy theories, but the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered. Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they’re talking about. Some men.

Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.

I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the trajectory of American politics since 2001 was shaped by, say, the inability to hear Coleen Rowley, the FBI woman who issued those early warnings about Al Qaeda, and it was certainly shaped by a Bush administration to which you couldn’t tell anything, including that Iraq had no links to Al Qaeda and no WMD, or that the war was not going to be a “cakewalk.” (Even male experts couldn’t penetrate the fortress of their smugness.)

Mother Jones: The Problem With Men Explaining Things

I’ve definitely been “that guy” before. I try not to be. (And yes, as Solnit writes, men do this to each other too — we should stop.)

5 Essays I Wish I’d Read as a Young(er) Man

Why Women Aren’t Crazy

You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling—that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

Full Story: The Good Men Project: Why Women Aren’t Crazy

Why I Resigned from The Good Men Project

One day, Kevin came to class with a duffle bag. I thought little of it, until – in the midst of a discussion about men and feminism – he reached into the duffle and pulled out a football helmet. “I know I’m gonna get killed for what I’m about to say”, he announced dramatically; “I brought some protection.” Kevin then strapped the helmet on as his classmates and I stared in shock. I told him to cut out the cheap theatrics, but not before he’d made a powerful point, though I’m confident it wasn’t the one he intended to make.

Kevin’s gag with the football helmet was designed to send a signal about women and anger. The message he wanted to send was, as he told me later, that “feminists take things too seriously and get too aggressive.” The message he actually sent was that men will go to great lengths to try and short-circuit women’s attempts at serious conversation. The helmet was an effort to label those attempts as “male-bashing” or “man-hating.” The hope was that it would shame uppity feminists into biting back their anger; of course, Kevin only ended up inflaming the situation. In less dramatic ways, I’ve seen men use this same tactic again and again.

Full Story: Hugo Schwyzer: Why I Resigned from The Good Men Project

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Feminism But Were Afraid to Ask

Although we can all agree on the most basic dictionary definition of feminism (the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes), it is rarely ever that simple or straightforward. Despite 150 years of activism in pursuit of women’s rights, and nearly 40 years of modern feminism, “feminism” is still considered by many to be a dirty word. In the mainstream media, when feminism is discussed at all, it’s most often talked about in negative or pessimistic terms: Time’s “Is Feminism Dead?” cover stories; the recent series of New York Times articles detailing how feminism has “failed” because upper-middle-class white women are still struggling with the work/family dilemma; any number of hand-wringing articles about why young women aren’t embracing the label; and so forth. Movie and tv starlets who portray assertive, confident, feminist-leaning characters routinely reject the word—Sarah Michelle Gellar, Drew Barrymore, I’m lookin’ at you—as do female musicians whose work is infused with gender play (Polly Jean Harvey, Patti Smith, Bjork). It’s not that these women aren’t into equality: It’s because they, like many people, are afraid of what the word implies to the rest of the world. Like the current slanderous usage of “liberal,” “feminist” has long been wielded as an epithet—hence many women’s discomfort in adopting it.

You wouldn’t know it from the blanket terms used to talk about feminism, but the movement’s rich history (and current practice) encompasses a slew of ideologies, offshoots, and internal disagreements: radical feminism, cultural feminism, liberal feminism, antiporn feminism, pro-sex feminism, third-wave feminism, womanism—but what does it all mean? A brief primer on the etiology of feminism is sorely needed. The following is hardly exhaustive, and only barely objective, and I must mention that many of the nuances and linguistic turns are still up for debate by and among feminists. So leave your preconceptions behind and join me in this exciting exploration of one of life’s most basic urges: feminism.

Full Story: Bitch: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Feminism But Were Afraid to Ask

Fucking and Feminism

There’s a world of difference between being branded a sex object and choosing to be one under certain circumstances. Recall Tad Friend’s classic 1994 “do-me feminism” Esquire article, in which Lisa Palac said, “Degrade me when I ask you to” (emphasis mine). Women’s true desires may not make for perfect propaganda, but sex is justifiably complex. I may like to get spanked until I scream, but I still deserve to be treated as an intelligent human being. Submitting sexually doesn’t equal becoming a doormat outside the bedroom.

Full Story: Village Voice: Fucking and Feminism

Rise of Raunch

Ariel Levy’s 2005 book Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture argued that, in fact, women themselves were turning to self-objectification in shocking numbers, noting that the signifiers of what she called “raunch culture” — strip aerobics classes, T-shirts printed with the words porn star, Girls Gone Wild, and more — had been adopted by women themselves. But rather than leading to real freedom, women’s adoption of “raunch culture” simply duplicated patterns of disdain for and objectification of women. Levy’s quest to find out how the new sexual liberation differed from early-model sexploitation involved talking to everyone from the HBO executives responsible for the likes of G-String Divas to the producers of Girls Gone Wild to high-school and college women who have felt pressure to make out with other girls in bars “because boys like it.” Ultimately, Female Chauvinist Pigs yielded far more questions than it answered, and the main one was this: If the standards and stereotypes by which girls and women are judged haven’t changed, could it really be called empowerment at all?

Pamela Paul struggled with a similar question in her 2005 book Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families; a year later, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting took it on in Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women. Along with Female Chauvinist Pigs, these books pointed out the distinction that lay at the heart of many feminists’ discomfort with raunch culture: Liking sex and performing sex are two very different things. And as Levy put it, “If we’re going to have sexual role models, it should be the women who enjoy sex the most, not the women who get paid the most to enact it.”

Full Story: Alternet: “Do-Me” Feminism and the Rise of Raunch

Male Writer Tries to Imitate Male and Female Fantasy Novel Poses

Jim C. Hines as Conan

Fantasy author Jim C. Hine tries posing as both male and female characters from fantasy novel covers. His conclusions:

  1. Men on book covers are indeed posed shirtless in ways that show off their musculature. However…
  2. Male poses do not generally emphasize sexuality at the expense of all other considerations.
  3. Male poses do emphasize the character’s power and strength in a way many (most?) female cover poses don’t.
  4. When posed with a woman, the man will usually be in the dominant, more powerful posture.
  5. Male poses do not generally require a visit to the chiropractor afterward.

Jim C. Hine: Striking a Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers)

Jim C. Hine: Posing Like a Man

See also:

A contortionist/martial artist says he can’t imitate that female fighting pose from comic books

Escher Girls: Redrawing Embarrassing Comic Book Women

Instruments for Operating on Mutant Women

The Criterion collection has a bunch of David Cronenberg memorabilia on display, including a photo gallery of these props from Dead Ringers: the so called “Instruments for Operating on Mutant Women.”

Also check out this feedback card from a test screening for Videodrome.

(via Justin)

See also: David Cronenberg on Gender

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