Monthly Archives: August 2012

Penny Red vs patriarchy

There’s some stuff I tend not to blog about it, even though it’s pretty heavy stuff that people need to hear, examine and think about. Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard about Todd Akin‘s statement that the female body could naturally abort pregnancy when “legitimate rape” had taken place. I didn’t cover this, despite it being a blatant feminist issue, partly because the rest of the internet seemed to have it covered, and partly because I felt that as a guy I wouldn’t be able to sum up what is just about the worst thing one human being could do to another.  Obviously guys can be victims of rape too, but this was not the context of Akin’s statement.

Despite being a guy blogging about gender issues, Feminism is a movement best led by women otherwise it risks being undermined. However where I do think plenty of dudes out there can easily help it to call “bullshit” when you hear someone say something dodgy, sexist or just despicable. I kinda felt others were doing it better than I could ever do. I suggest you read Penny Red‘s blog instead, which is about as thought-provoking and moving a blog as you’re likely to read.

In a completely opposite vein, Heather McRobie has written for Open Democracy on how Feminism is currently caught up with the female body and wider social issues are not being examined. I don’t like writing about patriarchy, mainly cos I’m part of it (my gender), but her argument seems to fall flat to me as the language seems to me to be dictated by patriarchal forces.

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Highs and lows of Feminism – Armpits for August and Pussy Riot

As someone who grew a very dodgy moustache for Movember, I stumbled across the Armpits for August campaign after reading this great article by Aisha Mirza. I take part in Movember every year because it’s a very clever and well designed campaign that encourages discussion around prostate cancer. The Armpits for August campaign does all this (raises money for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) with an added political dimension that questions how we’re encouraged to buy in to looking a certain way – awesome! Fair play to the women who are taking part, I got some random mock-mocking about it, but it’s a bold step to challenge what society considers acceptable – good work!

Also just heard that Pussy Riot have been jailed for their protest song against Putin in a Russian church. Previously blogged about it and put the video here. All I can add is dark times. Thought that Russia may have its hand forced due to the high-profile nature of the people who’ve spoken out against the charge, but turns out that’s wishful thinking .  It’s the sign of a powerful state that is willing to clamp down on civil liberties despite the scale of the outcry, and convict on it. Hope some appeal can be put in place soon.

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The Olympics and gender, plus marriage and the Police

Andrew Collins has blogged about how the Olympics coverage has dipped into moments of sexism and racism. In terms of sexism, he points out Gary Lineker’s casual sexism when interviewing Nicola Adams, by remarking on her beautiful smile when she’d just won gold when boxing at the Olympics. He reckons that Lineker wouldn’t close an interview that way with a male competitor, which seems about right, but I hope he’s wrong and that Lineker undertakes some mild flirting when interviewing Wayne Rooney on Match of the Day next year – go on Gary, tell him he’s sexy!

Mark Perryman has also written about Nicola Adams and other female Olympians for Compass – he looks at how the Olympics have provided a break to the male hegemony that is sport in the UK.

Womankind have written about their campaign to get information to athletes about violence against women. An interesting counterpoint to this is the campaign that Welsh Women’s Aid and the Welsh Government put in place as violence against women rises as sport’s fans as they drink themselves silly.

The Olympics are of course now officially over (hello Paralympics!), finished by a dubious closing ceremony by all accounts. Must admit I didn’t watch it (heard the Spice Girls and One Direction – that was enough to put me off). Chris T.T. has blogged about it under the headline “Not just shit but dangerous”. He says:

Kim gave a similar bashing to gender, sensitivity perhaps heightened by how the past three weeks has been an extraordinary Olympic Games for women; with significant, real steps taken. The ‘fashion biz’ segment in the Closing Ceremony was an unfathomably regressive bit of choreographed objectification. It felt deliberate, as if designed to rein in any aspiration or hopes that briefly glimpsed light this past month. 

Well worth a read on how culture influences experience.

Following my blog last week on the lack of female candidates for the roles of Police and Crime Commissioners, Theresa May has come under fire for not encouraging more women to stand. I agree with the article’s general thrust, but most of the points made do seem to be reliant on gender stereotypes, which doesn’t help its case.

Last but not least, a Feminist husband has written for Vagenda about how it’s expected that his wife should take his surname. He sounds like a thoroughly switched on guy!

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