22 November 2010

See the Victims Suffer! Suffer Victims, Suffer!

Not being Jewish, I can't begin to imagine how utterly fucking embarrassing it must be when the Nazi stooges in the EDL decide they want to be your friend, just because a country that's sort of yours even if you've never been is blowing up the right kind of brown people. When the ideological descendants of the people who slaughtered half your family start rubbing themselves against you like an amorous pitbull. So of course this is so unsurprising it almost hurts.

So I thought it might be interesting to look at another leg the fash have started humping, just so we can see what the Jews can expect from their new-found friends*. I am of course talking about the long-suffering women of Islam. They have a hard time, do these poor creatures, which is why we're going to play a game called "Muslimah Martyrs vs Ghastly Bints".

We all know it's terrible how Muslim women are oppressed. One of the worst examples is the brutal capital punishment meted out to those found guilty of adultery. Look at the admirable way the world has rallied round Sakineh Ashtani. Score one for Muslimah Martyrs.

Oh, but then Yasmin Alibhai Brown has to open her big brown mouth. Stone the ghastly bint! One all.

And then, you're poking round facebook watching the EDL go trolling, and just when you thought Muslimah Martyrs could pull ahead again:

POW! Ghastly Bints whips out a deft equaliser!

It's like fucking clockwork. Concerned about women being forced to dress a certain way? Force them to dress another way. It's no use just being weirded out by the symbols of patriarchal oppression. You've got to show some solidarity.

I don't know how they manage it. It must be so hard to stick up for fanny-bearing Muslims when you hate them with such a murderous, hungry vengeance. What I'm trying to say, I suppose, is the bacon test doesn't just cut one way.

You did the right thing Israel. They don't love you. They only want you for your fighter jets.

*Not like, friends-friends. Friends like the weird guy you say hi to by the nibbles and he keeps trying to engage you socially for the rest of the evening while telling really offensive jokes.

05 November 2010

Nice Guys vs Creepy Guys

Saw a great text-your-mercifully-brief-opinion in the Evening Standard the other day. Went a little something like this:
Why do women react so badly if you try to start up a conversation on the train? We're not all creeps, some of us are really nice guys!
I love it. I think it's perfect. I like how the guy imagines "creep" is like a job or something. Or that creepy people are required by law to wear a dirty raincoat on public transport. And that creepy people never, ever, ever incorporate being nice to their prey into their creepy, creepy plans.

But he's hit on the major problem with the Nice Guy. Nice isn't a species. It's something you do, not something you are. Same with creepy. A Nice Guy is someone who habitually does, or is currently doing, nice things for other people. A creepy guy is someone who habitually acts, or is currently acting, in a sexually inappropriate way. A Creepy guy who's being genuinely nice is a Nice Guy. A Nice Guy who's being Nice in a creepy way is a Creepy Guy.

But I don't think it quite stops there. Notice in this guy's scenario, both Nice and Creepy Guys talk to an attractive women on public transport. Since the text didn't mention anything like "when I just fancy a chat about the weather", I'm going to assume both of them are chatting to her because they want to fuck her. Now, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with wanting to fuck someone, any more than there's anything intrinsically wrong with making inane chit-chat with strangers. But isn't it interesting how they're both doing the same thing?

So here's one Nice Guy's theory. Nice Guys and Creepy Guys seem different - a Creepy Guy leers all over you, and you can practically see the reflections of his perverse fantasies in the drool, while a Nice Guy is too timidly respectful to even hold suggestive eye-contact, let alone pluck up the courage to kiss you. But we're both symptoms of the same disease. We can't judge what will be an appropriate balance of sexual forwardness and basic respectful decency. We can't weigh up the woman, the place and the situation and decide what will be pervy and icky, and what will be effectively seductive enough for it not to matter. When we do judge it right, we've often overthought the fuck out of it, and it comes off either stilted or calculating - loserish or pervy, depending. We also ignore women's sexual desire for us. Either we highly doubt such a thing exists, or we treat it as existing solely for our gratification.

Of course, there's no clear dividing line - other than that happy, happy limbo where you do the right thing at the right time and have a passable love-life. Nice Guys become Creepy Guys and visa versa. Creepy Guys, I'm sure, draw the line somewhere, but no-one ever notices when they do because it means they just sit there and text the Evening Standard. With Nice Guys, it's a more observable process. At some point, drunk, despondent or disappointed with ourselves and our own timidity, we decide to be a bit more forward. We worry about being creepy, but, if we're drunk, despondent or disappointed enough, we think "fuck it, it's only other people" and go for it. Trouble is, we've only solved half of our problems. We might no longer be too timid, but we're still clueless. I've done it. I've done it more than once, and I'm really really Nice.

And this is where so many creeps and pervs come from. We start off respectful, timid, Nice. It doesn't work for us, because we don't know how to do human courtship and, probably, because we're thinking "God I'd like to have a girlfriend just once before I die" instead of about how the target will interpret our advances. Eventually, for a variety of reasons and general disappointment being just one, we try being forward. We overshoot. It's awful, and, worse still, it doesn't work any better. But, eventually, we have limited success. A smile, a kiss, an actual shag-plus-long-term-relationship. And when that's over, we've learned a valuable lesson: doing something is more effective than doing nothing. Going too far is more likely to make us happy than not going far enough. Creepiness. Works.

This is how patriarchy functions. There isn't a perv gene attached to the Y chromosome. Misogyny is perpetuated among men wherever erring on the side of respect for women is less effective than erring on the side of getting sex-objects naked. The fact is, where being a shit to women is in any way in men's interest, then when in doubt, we will tend towards it. Societal trends and power structures acting on an individual level. And yes, I am arguing that the Creepy Guy on the tube may just be a Nice Guy who's fallen victim to the System. I'm also arguing that Nice Guys are just Creeps who have yet to grow the balls to do it properly. But mostly I'm staring at my own reflection in a text to the Evening Standard.