Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Kiss my ass

The cover of NME put a big old smile on my face when I saw it on the shelves in Kings Cross station yesterday. Even with Perez Hilton's scrawl all over it here and, y'know, it being the sodding NME, it gave me a little thrill to see Beth Ditto getting it on and kicking some ass.

It seems odd, really, that Missy Elliot was doing it ten years ago. I was watching some music videos on youtube and it struck me how much more female r&b and hiphop videos seem aimed at the female gaze. The idea that you can get it on AND kick some ass at the same time doesn't seem that radical to me, but it seems the world of white indie music with its videos of anorexic white girls wearing too much eyeliner, pouting and preening and being delicately kissed (who resemble their fans, to be honest. There are few things that rile me more than insipid and repetitive 'The' bands and their followers/groupies who think they're radical because they're wearing some dodgy 80s rave leggings), has taken a rather long time to catch up.

The fact that a queer, overtly feminist, politically driven, overweight singer from the deep south was voted 'coolest person of the year' (always won previously by men) in the NME is just awesome. Radical, even.

And here's an interview with Ms Ditto in DIVA magazine, on fat, fame and feminism.

It's as bad as LJ...


Blogger lied about the new draft autosave. I just lost what turned into a 1500 word post.

I'm sulking too much now to even attempt a re-write, but just go and look at this ridiculous article in the Daily Male today. I'm sure the rant that proceeded was pretty predictable...

Monday, 28 May 2007

Some plugging...

Love that some of my favourite bloggers from elsewhere are signing up to blogger to write about Ze Issues and that sm-feminist is already making waves in the bloggersphere....

So here are a couple of plugs:

thene, who is one of my all time favourite people EVAH is now writing at aaru-tuesday, and has already written an awesome, very personal blog about the nuclear family.

northern_phoenix, who I've known through the BDSM community since 2004, has just set up era vulgaris, and is one of the sharpest people I've come across on the scene. Excited about this blog and what he eventually might submit to the Beyond Masculinity project.

More later..

Monday, 7 May 2007

A feminised society now produces campus killers

I've been catching up on some reading and stumbled across this joyous article:

American Psycho

I've been following the press on Virginia Tech with some interest, watching to see where commentators will point the finger of blame.

And here's the latest wacky notion. The feminisation of society. I suppose it was only a matter of time before women 'as a (w)hole' were going to be blamed. If in doubt, blame women, even if you are a woman -- specifically, blame women who enjoy sex.

Camille Paglia came up on a thread on pornography recently and I mentioned her contradictions. Here she's just putting her foot in it spectacularly, as I suppose she is wont to do:

“Young women now seem to want to behave like men and have sex without commitment. The signals they are giving are very confusing, and rage and humiliation build up in boys who are spurned again and again.”

Why is having sex without commitment 'having sex like men'? Women have, as far as I'm aware, been doing this for quite some time, even when gender expectations were more polarised. It's not an attempt to gain ground. It's not 'the feminisation of society'. It's a sign of equality. It's women wanting sex, dammit. Wanting it on our terms, too. Should we reclaim and promote chastity lest we are randomly gunned down? Camille Paglia is generally perceived as the ultimate traitor, the biggest sexbot and sparklepony in all of feminism. And now even she's telling us we're behaving like men because some of us want to get laid as frequently? I am feeling a little dismayed.

Gender politics on campus? I can only speak from my own experience, and the experiences of those I know, but there is a lot of misogyny on campus, no doubt about it. There was the incident at Leeds where the entire rugby team dressed up as rape victims to go on a pub crawl. I suspect I'm just a humourless old man-hater for not thinking this is particularly big and clever, least of all HILARIOUS, but I didn't. Fortunately, neither did most of the university. But there is in student halls the kind of behaviour that I can see probably leads to woman hating. Girls sometimes enjoy sexually rejecting boys if they're arrogant tossers, I'm afraid, no matter how nice we are about it. It usually reminds us of being the gawky teenager boys laughed at and called ugly. Taking just a little personal ground back. It's terrible to take pleasure in it, I know, but we sort of do.

Personally, though, I saw a lot MORE men-baiting coming from other boys. Teasing about cocksize, virgin status, lack of 'conquests', even the fact that they were sometimes coupled. I detest the sexual one-up-manship of lad culture and think it's pretty destructive for other men.

The problem with college shootings in the USA lies primarily with the easy availability of guns and a failure in mental health services, and possibly also lack of support for autistic students who find it hard to fit in. He was also racially abused growing up. Cho stalked two girls and, unsurprisingly, they rejected his advances. That is NOT the feminisation of society. It's a woman's right to say no. Want to take that away, Camille?

Back to black

I decided to keep my head down for a week. I think I just needed to get my head out of the feminist blogosphere for a bit. And instead I ended up defending myself on the BDSM forums. Why do I fear this is likely to be a trend? Hussle and tussle from one side or the other? I started wondering whether feminism is really compatible with SM activism. And then I thought: hang on, acceptance of our sexual practices relies a lot on society allowing women the right to make informed choices it doesn't like without portraying us as victims, saying we can't consent, etcetera. It's important to have feminist activists in there; it's just tricky for us to get on with people who do dislike women, or talk down to us because we are women, or, especially, talk down to us because we are submissive-identified women. But unless you alienate the feminists, what can you do? I suggested a while back that 'other solutions' in response to the extreme porn censorship legislation might be an important part of our campaign. But was told I was smearing wider collective efforts with my own agenda. Well, whatever. Personally, I still can't help but feel an MRA-centric campaign is not likely to be effective when the reasons originally cited in the Longhurst petition were to prevent violence against women. Not that this could be helped.

But anyway.

Given the quoting out of context taster this blog already had, it's time to set out a few rules and guidelines for reading burn the witches, especially for the kinky folks who've taken time out to read (thanks). In the words of a namesake:

"Now let's get things nice and sparkling clear..."

1. This is a feminist blog. Despite my involvement with the BDSM community, and the fact that you may have found this post through a BDSM community, this is a feminist blog. You may have a problem with all feminists. If so, we're probably not going to get along.

2. If you have found this blog through the BDSM community, it's likely I'll write some things you won't agree with. I may write some things you thoroughly dislike. I am not anti-BDSM. I am not anti any behaviour between consenting adults. I am, however, against sexism and against misogyny. Unfortunately, I have come across some sexists and some woman-haters in my BDSM travels. Even some abusers. If you are none of these things, you have no reason to think I am talking about you. I do, however, take issue with many of the perceptions of women, particularly, in the BDSM community from the world outside it. If this blog in any way changes someone's perception of female subs, or female dommes, or informs someone that we aren't victims, abusers, brainwashed or have Stockholm Syndrome, that what we do is an informed choice, well, it's a good use of my time.

3. Don't quote me out of context. If you have an issue with something I've said on this blog, I'd really prefer you take the issue up with me here, in context, or in private. I don't want to censor comments, even the anonymous ones.

4. This blog is not solely about BDSM, honest!

5. Respectful dissent is always welcome. Personal attacks on me or other commentators are not.

That's it!

Time to get on and set up SM-feminist properly...