21 May 2011

Abuse and Taking Advantage

I don't normally wade in on thieving Tory gobshite-in-residence Nadine Dorries, but this quote reminded me of something even worser.
A lot of girls, when sex abuse takes place, don’t realise until later that that was a wrong thing to do … Society is so over-sexualised that I don’t think people realise that if we did empower this message into girls, imbued this message in schools, we’d probably have less sex abuse.
Why us boys don't need to be "empowered" a bit too also confuses me - we're also under a wee bit of pressure to get laid whether we want to or not, and we don't even have the crippling terror of being called a slut to balance that out. I for one would have liked to be told I wasn't a failure for not having all the exciting teenage sex I imagined my peers were having. But what could be worse than Nadine Dorries, you wonder. Why, Westlife of course. And what could be worse than that? The one with the annoying face going solo.
I like you just the way you are
Drunk as shit dancing at the bar.
I like it,
and I can't wait to get you home,
so I can do some damage.
I like you just the way you are.
Jump in the back seat of my car,
cos I like it
and I can't wait to get you home
so I can take advantage.

Cath Elliot was quick to call this a "date-rape ditty". Obviously "do some damage" is, at best, a pretty fucked-up way to describe sex. But "take advantage" is ambiguous. Even if we assume it's taking advantage of the woman and not the situation, is he taking advantage of her because she's too drunk to consent, or because she's drunk enough to consent? He says "your imagination takes full flight" and "even if you go too far", and she quite specifically "jumps" into the back of his car, so the woman (meant to be his wife I think) seems to be an active and enthusiastic participant. At what point is your mental capacity reduced, by alcohol or anything else, that you forfeit your ability to consent? This is why "taking advantage" is such a sticky concept. It could be raping someone in a vulnerable state, or it could be in the more rakish, Victorian sense of persuading a woman to have sex when her cross-legged, Angel-in-the-House decorum is somehow lowered. Either makes sense, as long as there is advantage to be had.

In the same way, Nadine Dorries is fairly cagey about what "abuse" actually is. Stavvers' raises an important point:
On Planet Dorries, sex abuse is caused by girls not saying no.

There is a curious logical somersault here, the idea that rape can be prevented entirely by saying “no”, although it plays in perfect harmony with the popular notion that rape is only rape when the victim (always a woman, apparently) says “no”. No no, no rape. Dorries has taken this to its logical extreme: that uttering the n-word will magically vanquish all rape.
I'd take this further and say that anyone even vaguely feminist should stop saying "you can say no" and start saying "you don't have to say yes", what with rape being based on consent not refusal and all. But Nadine Dorries isn't particularly interested in rape here. Her "abuse" still has this strange implication of getting girls to consent to sex. Yes, two people fucking too young because they think that's what they are meant to do is a bad thing, but it's rather condescending to pretend that a 15-year-old boy isn't going to be just as confused about what he wants as his girlfriend.

Both the concept of "taking advantage" of an inebriated or enamoured woman and Nadine Dorries' idea of "sex abuse" are based on the assumption that there is sex women and girls shouldn't be having, regardless of whether they want it. Fierce moralisation over women's sexuality, policing their bodies, and the hangovers these leave in our language confuse the issue of consent. Not only does this mean soft-headed religious conservatives can pull off the deft backflip of invoking rape so as to tell girls not to consent, it makes it possible for predatory fratboy shitehawks like McFadden to bypass the distinction between horny-drunk and non-consenting. These concepts don't draw a line between willing and unwilling participants, but between good girls and sluts, between women who are fucked and women who aren't. Consent is sort of irrelevant.

15 May 2011

The A-Z of Political Correctness

By James Delingpole, aged 12¼.

A is for Alphabetised Lists
Of course, as I found out writing for the Telegraph AND Mail, you're not allowed to say a WORD against so-called Political Correctness unless you do it in the form of an alphabetised list. Political Correctness gone mad!

B is for Blacking Up
Call me racist but I really don't see the problem with this.

C is for Cunts
Though I suppose we have to call them “feminists” these days. Listen love, you've got the vote, now sit down and stop trying to influence politics.

D is for David Attenborough
Compare his earlier series in the sixties to his work now. See how Politically Correct tyranny has aged him.

E is for European Union
Even the name sounds positively Orwellian.

F is for Facial Cumshots
When I was but a priapic young adolescent passing round a sticky VHS tape, the actors would spend their wad in her mouth, on her vadge or up her arse like normal. Why do the likes of Bonnie Greer and Trevor Phillips feel they have to force this bukkake nonsense on us?

G is for Gryffindor
I think I hate the sanctimonious little do-gooders more than the pseuds in Ravenclaw and those Hufflepuff morons combined.

H is for Hitler, Adolf
Would have loved Political Correctness. Enough said, you'd think, except the PC Brigade will call “Godwin's Law” on you if you dare to point this fact out.

I is for Incorrect, Politically
I am one of the few courageous journalists who can honestly claim to be COMPLETELY incorrect in every column I have ever written.

J is for Jif
You have to call it Cif now. WHERE WILL IT END?

K is for Kestrel
You can't say “windfucker” any more. Pathetic.

L is for Lost
What the fuck was going on with this whole series? It made no fucking SENSE! And don't get me started on the ending of Inception.

M is for Magnets
Science has yet to produce a satisfactory explanation for how these work. Explain that.

N is for Niggers
You have to spell it 'niggaz' now or else they get offended.

O is for Old Rope
Is it just me or has the price really plummeted on this stuff?

P is for Political Correctness
You need only read this excellent article to understand how insidious the creep of Political Correctness is. It affects so many disparate aspects of our lives you'd think it was completely made up by right-wing fantasists to embody their worst, most vivid visions of what the Left gets up to.

Q is for Quran
It says on page ONE for Christ's sake, “Kill them all and rape their toddlers”, yet the likes of John Snow and Krishnan “Hussein” Guru Murthy just hum and haw and wring their hands.

R is for Russian Roulette
Banned in schools now. They claim for so-called “health and safety” reasons, but it's almost certainly on the say-so of the Ukranians.

S is for Scientists
Islamo-Marxist quislings, to a man.

T is for Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
NEVER got a Leonardo that Christmas, did I? Had to make do with Raphael. Toys R Us had “sold out” of Leonardo, my dad said. Sold out to the EU's pro-red propaganda more like.

U is for Universities
Seems now all you need to get into Oxbridge is three or more A grades at A-Level, a glowing interview, plus genuine skill, dedication and interest in your subject. I hate to imagine the chavs that are now flooding the place.

V is for Vaginas
Have you ever seen one? Terrifying.

W is for Winnie the Pooh
As a bear of very little brain, long words bothered him, and so like your esteemed author he would certainly have little truck with Political Correctness.

What do you mean do I want a tissue? Just fuck off. Yes, you you cunt, fuck off. Leave me alone alright? I'm fine.

Y is for Your Best Porno Mag, Your Mom Threw Away
Too long have we taken this right for granted. I for one am quite willing to fight for it.

Z is for Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
I could never find all the bastard skulltulas. Never. What the fuck, Nanny State?

11 May 2011

Rushing Dehumanisation

A weird aspect of the death of Osama Bin Laden that I've noticed. Naturally, we went all out to dehumanise him. If not pretty, it's fairly unsurprising. Obviously dehumanisation is bad for what it allows us to do to anyone we perceive as less than us. But also if we pretend to ourselves that those who do evil things aren't human, we will only ever underestimate the evil that we as humans are capable of, and so probably won't be that good at preventing it. This is why I don't like dehumanisation: it lets humanity off too lightly.

But that's not what I found weird. The first weird sign was The Sun calling him a "beast". Dehumanising, yes, and ten points to Slytherin for that, but it's dehumanising in the wrong way. "Beast", to my ears at least, is not appropriate for terrorists. It's for dehumanising sex offenders and people that steal Billy Bunter's cake. I doubt Bin Laden had time for either. Plus aside from that, "beast" is a bit of a mild term for a mass-murdering religious fucknut.

Second was the man on Question Time (at around 18m13s, there may still be time to see it on iPlayer), who said
I just wanted to say that I'm very offended by Mr Ashdown's referral to Osama Bin Laden as a "man"
Aside from the fact that he later uses the term himself, this is strange, especially followed up with "let's tell it like it is", which you might expect to be vaguely scientific and take into account his human DNA.

What disturbs and slightly baffles me about both of these is that dehumanisation has become the norm. We've obviously been doing it too long. It's not enough to demonise your defeated enemy, to show him as less than a man. To even refer to him once as a human is offensive (we may have been over how easily ultra-PC right-wingers take offence), while the quality of dehumanisation can go utterly to pot, just so long as nobody has the audacity to call Osama Bin Laden what he was - a (shitty, shitty) human being.

We're no longer at the point where it is acceptable to see our enemies as less than people. We're now not allowed to do anything else.

08 May 2011

Asking For It

What with the Slutwalk, which I reckon looks interesting at least, I thought I'd have a look at an argument I've seen for rape victims bearing responsibility. I'm sure you've seen it before. It goes
"Ok so imagine you park your car in a dodgy area right, and you leave it unlocked yeah, and the keys are in the ignition, and the car's in a really short skirt and stuff. Obviously it gets nicked right, and your reaction is like "awww I'm such an idiot, it's my fault for parking it there, unlocked, drunk, and with a history of promiscuity"
And of course, there are things women can do to avoid getting raped, like staying at home all the time, ideally tied up in a sack with their vaginas removed and kept in a safe. And should they leave the safe unlocked, yes, they are by their own actions, slightly increasing their own chances of being raped.

It's true that there's something icky about using a crime against property as an analogy for a crime against a human, but I don't think that's the problem. After all, we'll justify all kinds of things with an analogy about a bloody omelette. It's also true that only the rapist is to blame for rape - though perhaps the reason this is often ignored is that the criminal's responsibility for the crime is too obvious to bother mentioning. Where this analogy falls down is that it's a little too apt. Say (for the sake of argument, as it's actually bollocks) that excessive drinking puts women at greater risk of rape, in the same way as parking your car in a dodgy area puts it at greater risk of theft.

Would your stupidity in parking your car like that diminish the thief's criminality?
Who's going to say "well, there's no point in pressing charges, as you were asking for your car to get nicked"?
Who's going to say "well, you can hardly blame the joyriders for stealing it, seeing as it was unlocked"?
What counsel for the defence is ever going to argue "my client cannot be held responsible for the theft of said vehicle, given its position, its being unlocked and the presence of the keys in the ignition"?
And don't think you, as the victim of the car theft, will have to answer a single question about what cars you might have owned in the past.

But does blaming the victim actually shift some off the rapist's shoulders? Would rape victims who "asked for it" feel discouraged from pressing charges? Would excuses be made for their attackers based on the victims' dress or behaviour? Would the perceived sluttiness of a rape victim be used to discredit her case and might she, possibly, have to answer a couple of minor questions about her sexual history?

It strikes me that this car-theft analogy works far better as an argument against the victim's responsibility. So much so that it must have been invented by a feminist, and borrowed by victim-blamers who thought it sounded clever. They can't have thought it up themselves, given how much they struggle with figurative speech. Because generally, the idiom "asking for it" - be it theft, murder or a slap in the face - is understood as just that: an idiom. A figure of speech. Yet for some reason, when a woman asks for it by smiling at you while having nice legs, suddenly the metaphor gets taken very, very literally, to the point where it basically counts as consent. Well, I'm afraid it's not how blame works. It's not how analogies work, it's not even how cars work, and it's definitely not how consent works.

PS This song is awesome.