Lady Gaga cancels show following threats of misogynistic violence, CNN ignores both the misogyny and the violence

Today, CNN.com reports that Lady Gaga has been forced to cancel a scheduled performance in Indonesia, “citing security concerns after Islamic hardliners denounced her costumes and dance moves as too risqué.”

Security concerns?  Why might there be concerns for Lady Gaga’s security, (and the security of her crew, and the security of the concert attendees) just because someone has a problem with her or with what she’s doing, or expected to do?

Oh that’s right, it’s because men always, always back up their “concerns” with credible threats of violence.  Or rather, they cloak their threats in the rhetoric of “concern” in order invisiblize the context of constant, baseless — but for to support male power and male-centric institutions — and egregious male violence in which we all exist every day.

The “negotiation” aspect of it, where the intended target is given the opportunity to avoid negative outcomes by exercising their “agency” gives the appearance of a quid pro quo, as if the impending violence — if it occurs — will be in response to an individual occurrence devoid of context, rather than a longstanding political policy and practice of violent enforcement of patriarchal mores, whatever those mores happen to be.

And of course, both the mores and the violent enforcement of them are specifically designed to support patriarchal institutions and male power both locally and globally. Male violence, and violent enforcement of patriarchal mores is never a one-off, even though it’s always made to seem as if it is; and it’s made to seem as if it’s “regional” or cultural when in fact it’s global, and patriarchal.

Here, we see that the connection between male “concerns” and male violence is taken so completely for granted that CNN doesn’t feel the need to explain or even acknowledge the connection at all — “concerns” and “threats of violence” are used as synonyms here — so the relationship between the two is never addressed, as if violence naturally flows from emotion, politics, or religion when really there’s nothing “natural” or inevitable about it at all — in fact, it’s a decidedly male, not a human response.

CNN also conveniently ignores the obvious misogyny and the political implications of threatening specifically women with decidedly male violence, and violent patriarchal enforcement, when those women fail to conform to whatever patriarchal mores are in vogue in a particular time and place.  Of course, since patriarchal mores are somewhat inconsistent globally, all women are in danger of violent retribution all the time; here, all Lady Gaga has to do is announce her intention to travel, and suddenly it becomes very obvious that even she is subject to violent patriarchal controls (as if there was ever any doubt) where that might not have been obvious otherwise.  Of course, it was always true.  And it’s true for her in the United States too.

And the patriarchal media and their own policies and practices in reporting on men’s implicit threats of violence, and the pervasiveness and homogeny of media images and tactics employed in these instances furthers the patriarchal agenda and violent enforcement of it by normalizing and invisiblizing both.

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SPLC follows up on MRA concerns, finds them ‘ridiculous’ and ‘willfully obtuse’

Today, in what might best be described as a hilariously disinterested gnat-swatting aimed at the tirelessly annoying MRAs generally and Paul Elam specifically, the Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a followup to its earlier expose of the violent Men’s Rights Movement.

Journalist Arthur Goldwag writes for the SPLC’s Hatewatch blog that the inclusion of the MRA movement in the most recent edition of the SPLC’s quarterly publication “The Year in Hate and Extremism” (Issue 45, Spring 2012) “provoked a tremendous response among men’s rights activists (MRAs) and their sympathizers.”

MRAs around the world apparently whined, complained and flooded the SPLC with letters demanding that the SPLC retract its statements, or alternatively, that it also investigate radical feminists as a hate group.  How either action — particularly the latter one — would prove that the MRAs were innocent, legitimate, nonviolent politickers (and didn’t hate women) was not made clear, but one is certainly left with the impression that the MRAs aren’t that smart, or alternatively, that they are well-versed in the political arts of misdirection and sleight of hand.

Or possibly both.

For his followup piece, an investigation into whether the MRAs’ accusations against radical feminists are true — specifically, that there exists a global radical feminist criminal conspiracy to commit worldwide violence against boys and men (all 3.5 billion of them) — Goldwag interviewed Baltimore lesbian activist Cathy Brennan, apparently asking her whether she personally hated men, and what she thought of Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto.

Of course, even if true, individual admissions of man-hating, and what anyone personally believes about one 40-page booklet — even if it’s positive — are not highly probative of radical feminists’ political position, or indicative of radical feminists’ political power and standing to carry out acts of global violence, including gendercide against boys and men.  (Hint: we have no such power or standing.  Because patriarchy.)

Goldwag’s investigation did reveal that some feminists “say hurtful things about men,” and that some feminists do “hate men,” but he ultimately concludes that there is no feminist conspiracy to commit any crime against men, let alone a global conspiracy to commit widespread acts of violence against males — all 3.5 billion of them — as the MRAs had reported in their letters to the SPLC.

Goldwag also noted — correctly — that while the MRAs are fantasizing about imagined or future acts of gendered violence against boys and men, there is a current, existing, real-life war being waged by men against girls and women, or what the Economist has dubbed a “Worldwide War on Baby Girls.”  Global acts of gendercide do exist, but they are perpetrated against girls and women to further patriarchal interests, not against boys and men to further women’s interests.

In the end, Goldwag correctly concludes that to characterize radical feminist dialog — even our private conversations where, presumably, the worst of the worst uncensored man-hating might be found — “as a well-developed plan, as Elam and his colleagues do, is not only ridiculous, it is willfully obtuse.”

Indeed, ridiculous and willfully obtuse would seem to be a fair representation of the MRAs claims about women and feminists, and, surely to the chagrin of the MRAs, the SPLC’s previous statements made about the Men’s Rights Movement were not retracted.

Interestingly, this investigation, such as it was, into the aims of radical feminism and various unrelated radical feminist forums doesn’t even appear to have been important — or revealing — enough of anything to warrant inclusion in the SPLC’s upcoming quarterly publication.  Instead, the article was published on the SPLC’s blog, and will presumably move further and further down the page until it disappears entirely.

Meanwhile, the MRAs have earned what they ultimately received — a prominent expose of their virulent misogyny and acts of egregious violence perpetrated in the name of their movement, permanently documented in an esteemed, real-life publication that will be around forever, which the SPLC expressly stands behind, and which has not been and will not be retracted.

And that, as they say, is that.

Footnote to “teeth-pulling bitch” story: much like the concept of ‘misandry’ itself, the story is false

Revealing what appears to have been an example of global journalistic malpractice — and misogyny — involving some of the world’s most esteemed mainstream news outlets, msnbc.com reported Tuesday that its own basic investigation into the “teeth-pulling ex-girlfriend” story has revealed the story was a hoax.

Apparently, Britain’s Daily Male first printed the story without bothering to perform even cursory fact-checking; regardless, the story was picked up and circulated by Fox News, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, MSN, the New York Post, and The New York Daily News and Australia’s Herald Sun and New Zealand Herald among others.

Msnbc.com reports,

when msnbc.com contacted police in Wroclaw, Poland, about the supposed criminal case, a spokesman said they had no record of such an incident.

“Lower Silesia Police Department has not been notified about such an event and is not investigating such a case,” Pawel Petrykowski of the Provincial Police Headquarters in Wroclaw said in an email that was translated into English.

A legal adviser for Poland’s Chamber of Physicians and Dentists, which handles disciplinary matters, said the organization is not investigating and has never investigated any such case, and added that there is no dental practitioner named Anna Maćkowiak listed in Poland’s central register of dentists.

“No information about this kind of misconduct has been provided to the Supreme Chamber,” the legal advisor, Marek Szewczyński, said in an email. “The Supreme Chamber is also not aware of any actions of this kind being taken by the Regional Chamber of Physicians and Dentists in Wroclaw, which would be the competent authority in case of a possible professional misconduct committed by a dental practitioner from Wroclaw.”

[…]

The American Dental Association’s national spokesperson, David Johnson Jr., said the story of Maćkowiak’s revenge was highly improbable — not just as an unprecedented abuse of the doctor-patient relationship but because most dentists are equipped to administer drugs only for conscious sedation dentistry. That would mean the ex-boyfriend would know his teeth were being extracted as it was happening, rather than realizing it after he arrived home.

Why wasn’t this most cursory of fact checking and referencing performed before the story was printed?  Well, when asked that very question, the Daily Male staff writer under whose byline the story was originally written, Simon Tomlinson, said

he does not know where the story came from and distanced himself from it when questioned about its origins.  “I’ve drawn a bit of a blank,” he said in an email. “The (Daily) Mail Foreign Service, which did the piece for the paper, is really just an umbrella term for copy put together from agencies. My news desk isn’t sure where exactly it came from.”

This, after the story was shared more than 75,000 times on Facebook since it was first published on April 27, and after having spawned thousands of misogynistic comments on online news sites none of which have been removed, although most of the online news sources who reported this story have since issued retractions.  Gee, how civil of them.

Interestingly enough, the link to the original story at the Daily Male is now a dead link: they have removed the article entirely rather than print a retraction in the header and leaving the article — and comments — intact, like the other outlets did.  Comments like this from Huff Po:

Women + MAN = LOVE
Women + MAN – Love = Heartache and Pain for you Buddy , because we all know women are some unstable CREATURES .

More-so if I was the judge I would make it a condition of her parole or probation that she must have all of her teeth removed. As well as consficate (sic) ever last thing she owned to pay his multimillion lawsuit and her license removed.

The tone of this article is massively inappropriate. To imply sympathy with this kind of behavior strikes me as incredibly misandric and offensive as a man.  If a male dentist had done this you would be rightfully indignant. Have some class Huffington Post.

That last part made me laugh and laugh.  The tone of the article wasn’t sympathetic enough to the man: the fake, hypothetical man to whom this never happened wasn’t treated kindly enough by Huff Po, demonstrating misandry.  And if the sexes were reversed, the result would have been different.

Indeed, the result probably would have been different: in reality, if a male dentist had allegedly abused a woman this way, it might not have been reported at all.  What news outlet has either the space or a single crap to give to reporting on every egregious abuse, breach of professional ethics, act of sexual violence or human rights violation men perpetrate on women every day?  It never would’ve been reported at all, and would never have had the chance to be picked up and circulated globally.

Even if it were true, it never even would have been reported, let alone circulated globally.  Because there is too much male violence against women to even report.  See how that works?

And of course, if the sexes were reversed, it would have been assumed from the beginning to be a hoax.  If after being fact-checked thoroughly the story checked out and it wasn’t technically a hoax of the journalistic kind, it would’ve still been scrutinized and assumed to be a hoax of the lying-bitch kind, perpetrated by the woman herself, who would have been assumed to have been lying about all of it, including who had done that to her, under what circumstances, and why.

In reality, Huff Po — and the entire global mainstream news industry — demonstrates egregious misogyny here, not misandry, not to mention revealing for the entire world to see that its journalistic ethics are of the bankrupt kind: without demonstrating even the most basic care regarding whether this story was even true, it printed it anyway, and let the entire world believe that a woman had terribly abused a man in a way that was sure to draw the most vile woman-hatred imaginable, and condemnation of women as a sexual class.

In fact, one is left with the impression that this was the goal the entire time.  If it wasn’t “intentional-intentional,” the result — a global orgy of misogynistic woman-bashing and condemnation of women as a sexual class — was foreseeable enough that intent can and should be presumed.

This was intentional.  Which is to be expected, of course, considering that mainstream news reporting is, in actuality, the thinnest of covers for a global misogynistic pro-patriarchal propaganda machine.

If the world were a safe and sane place for women, the global news industry would never recover its credibility after this, but of course it’s not, and it will.  Because credible and male are synonyms, you see.  The global, male-centric mainstream news industry’s “credibility” was never lost and it never will be, any more than an apple can lose its appleness, or a tangerine can cease being tangerine-y.  They will recover.  But we mustn’t ever forget what we are dealing with, when it comes to the global media, and its treatment of us.

As if most of us even could.

Also reported at Radfem-ological Images.

‘Men acting more depraved will cause men to act less depraved,’ say sex robot advocates

Today, msnbc.com reports on the emergence of robotic sex-dolls that are allegedly poised to take over the human prostitution industry and alleviate the harms to women of the global rape-trade.

Did I say “reports”?  Sorry, I meant acts as a stenographer for the gum-flapping of a sexologist and a “futurist with an interest in tourism” who recently co-authored a paper entitled “Robots, Men and Sex Tourism” for the current issue of Futures.  In that paper, the authors

envision a future where robotic prostitutes are the solution to the sex industry’s most glaring problems, such as human trafficking, human degradation and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

They literally envision it, and make us envision it too, by presenting a vivid scenario of Amsterdam’s red-light district in a futuristic, post-sex-robot sci-fi/porn fantasy circa 2050, “playing off the Yab-Yum, once one of Amsterdam’s most exclusive brothels before its closure in 2008”:

The Yub-Yum is Amsterdam’s top sex club for business travelers located beside a 17th century canal house on the Singel. It is modern and gleaming with about 100 scantily clad blondes and brunettes parading around in exotic G-strings and lingerie. Entry costs $10,000 for an all inclusive service. The club offers a full range of sexual services from massages, lap dancing and intercourse in plush surroundings. The Yub-Yum is a unique bordello licensed by the city council, staffed not by humans but by androids. This situation came about due to an increase in human trafficking in the sex industry in the 2040s which was becoming unsustainable, combined with an increase in incurable STI’s in the city especially HIV which over the last decade has mutated and is resistant to many vaccines and preventive medicines. Amsterdam’s tourist industry is built on an image of sex and drugs. The council was worried that if the red light district were to close, it would have a detrimental effect on the city’s brand and tourism industry, as it seemed unimaginable for the city not to have a sex industry. Sex tourism is a key driver for stag parties and the convention industry.

The Yub-Yum offers a range of sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features. The club is often rated highly by punters on http://www.punternet.com and for the fifth year in a row, in 2049 was voted the world’s best massage parlor by the UN World Tourism Organization. The club has won numerous technology and innovation awards including the prestigious ISO iRobotSEX award. The most popular model is Irina, a tall, blonde, Russian exotic species who is popular with Middle Eastern businessmen. The tourists who use the services of Yub-Yum are guaranteed a wonderful and thrilling experience, as all the androids are programmed to perform every service and satisfy every desire.

All androids are made of bacteria resistant fiber and are flushed for human fluids, therefore guaranteeing no Sexual Transmitted Disease’s are transferred between consumers. The impact of Yub-Yum club and similar establishments in Amsterdam has transformed the sex industry alleviating all health and human trafficking problems. The only social issues surrounding the club is the resistance from human sex workers who say they can’t compete on price and quality, therefore forcing many of them to close their shop windows. All in all, the regeneration of Amsterdam’s sex industry has been about the success of the new breed of sex worker. Even clients feel guilt free as they actually haven’t had sex with a real person and therefore don’t have to lie to their partner.

It’s difficult to digest all this depravity in one sitting, but one is left wondering about the details: how is this supposed to “transform[] the sex industry alleviating all health and human trafficking problems”?  Some specificity would be nice, as well as some actual data to back up the claim which appears to be, essentially, that “letting men act more depraved will cause them to (somehow) act less depraved.”  Adding in what we do know, the proposition could be illustrated thusly:

1.  Design and build female-human-looking robots for men to stick their dicks into;

2.  Further normalize and perpetuate the current working definitions of “sex” and “sexual” which appear to be “a man sticking his dick into any object under any circumstances” and “whatever sensations a man might experience while sticking his dick into any object under any circumstances” respectively;

3.  ??

4.  Helps women.

What?  The discerning non-misogynist reader is left reeling, wondering and concerned, and with a multitude of unanswered questions, the first of which perhaps being “Is there somewhere we can view this ‘paper’ — and its footnotes — without having to pay for it?”

But instead of asking any of the dozens of obvious questions that immediately spring to mind, the stenographer writing msnbc.com’s tech beat leaves us with this to ponder: (of course they aren’t even the reporter I mean stenographer‘s own questions, but the questions fed to him by the paper’s authors)

Robot sex is safer sex, free from the constraints, precautions and uncertainties of the real deal, but regardless of how good the sex is, will we always continue to think of it as something less than fully human?

Are they suggesting we would be wrong if we did?

Men literally ‘front and center’ at Columbia University’s Take Back the Night

Because if men aren’t front and center, that means it’s not important.

Yesterday, the editorial board of Columbia University’s student newspaper announced that it supports the “gender-neutral approach” being implemented this year at Columbia’s annual Take Back the Night march.  Previously, the march organizers had a policy of allowing only women at the front of the march, acknowledging that women-only space for rape victims was important because of the traumatic nature of rape and the fact that almost all rapes are perpetrated by men on female victims.  TBTN organizers had previously stated that

[t]he women’s space was created to ensure that female survivors, co-survivors, and allies could participate without feeling afraid, intimidated, or triggered in a co-gendered environment.

And indeed, the editorial board of the Spectator acknowledges that this reasoning is sound:

the presence of men at the front could possibly be traumatic and be a barrier in creating a safe space for the rape survivors.

We understand the reasoning behind this approach. As TBTN’s recent press release stated, a significantly higher percentage of perpetrators of sexual assault are male. Having women at the front of the march can be a visual symbol for rape’s gendered status. Moreover, while we cannot claim to fully grasp the psychology of rape, we understand that the trauma of some female rape survivors with male perpetrators—who constitute the majority of rape victims—can lead them to feeling threatened and emotionally unsafe in the presence of men.

Could they be more patronizing at the end there?  I don’t think so.  As academented, overly educated babies, none of which have apparently been raped themselves, they cannot fully grasp the psychology of rape — psychology is important, you see.  As a patriarchal, pseudo-medical academic field, psychology is key to our understanding of the world, and key to our understanding of rape — not listening to rape survivors, who say that having men at the front of the march is triggering and intimidating.  The editorial board at the Spectator might easily avail themselves of some learning on the issue however, if they wanted to, being at a major university and all.  Lots of books there, although who knows what those books would actually say.  About the psychology.  Of rape.

And while the editorial board of the Spectator understand why female rape victims might feel threatened and emotionally unsafe in the presence of men, they simply don’t care.

Why?

Because gender.  Yes!  The editorial board at the Spectator apparently cannot tell the difference between sex and gender:

sexual assault is not just a women’s issue. Gender identity does not define who rapes or is raped. Men can be rape survivors, women can be perpetrators—and wherever oppression exists, sexual or otherwise, it is everyone’s issue. Having men at the front of the march can help illustrate that this issue transcends gender. Additionally, when some of the students who will be a valuable part of the march identify as transgender or reject gender identifications, it can become problematic to enforce a rule among gender lines. A gender-neutral approach is the only way for the march to be all-inclusive. By including more than just women at the front, TBTN is showing the many faces of rape survivors and allies in the community. As a show of inclusivity and solidarity, it can only strengthen the cause.

Rape is an issue that transcends gender alright: trans men are in danger of being raped and impregnated by men, and this is due entirely to their sex — they are female — and nothing to do with their gender at all.  So opening up the front of the march to all FAABs including trans men would indeed show that rape transcends gender — but of course, this is not what the Columbia Spectator or the organizers of this year’s TBTN have in mind.

No, the Columbia Spectator and the organizers of TBTN are trying to tell us that rape — and specifically stranger rape —  transcends sex, but of course that is not true.  In fact, TBTN was specifically created to address the problem of male-on-female stranger rape, and women’s reasonable fear of that, where women were and are not free to walk the streets at night without fearing for their safety and their lives.

From the TBTN history page:

Why Take Back the Night?

A woman walks alone down a dark, deserted street. With every shadow she sees, and every sound she hears, her pounding heart flutters and skips a beat. She hurries her pace as she sees her destination become closer. She is almost there. She reaches the front door, goes inside, collects herself, and moves on forgetting, at least for tonight, the gripping fear that momentarily enveloped her life. This scene could have occurred anywhere last night, last year, or even 100 years ago. Historically, women faced the anxiety of walking alone at night and that is why Take Back the Night began.

That is the history of TBTN.  TBTN was never meant to address the problem of “unwanted sex” as such, it was specifically designed to combat rape, that overtly political, interpersonal, biological and social oppression that male-bodied persons routinely visit on female-bodied persons cross-culturally and around the globe.  Rape, where the victim often feels — and is given every reason in the world to believe — that she will be killed after her rapist penetrates her with his penis and ejaculates into her vagina.  That she will never see her family again.  That her children will be left without a mother, because she was raped and murdered by a man.

And where female rape victims are left to agonize for weeks — if they survive — whether they have been impregnated against their wills; and where they must live with the knowing that it could happen again.  Because women are members of the rapeable class, and being raped once does not mean that it won’t happen again, and again, and again.

Men never have to deal with these consequences in their own lives, no matter what has happened to them, or who did it and why.  No.  These are the realities of rape, for female-bodied persons.  And men deliver these consequences onto women by raping us.

Placing men and men’s concerns literally front and center at TBTN is ahistorical, acontextual, and the organizers know it will be damaging to women — and the editorial board of the Spectator and the organizers of this year’s TBTN are demonstrating that they do not care.  That it will be damaging to women alone should be reason enough to not do it, but the truth is that there are other options that are apparently not even being explored; damaging women and disrupting women-only space is the first resort here, when it could be made the last resort — it could, if anyone cared even that much.  But they don’t.

Whoever believes there is a need, could encourage male crime victims to start their own movement, instead of leaching off of the women who started and continued TBTN for themselves and for other women because men can’t seem to stop raping us.  Let male victims start their own movement if it’s so important to them: let them amass their numbers in public and demand the kinds of change they want and need.

But do not let men — overwhelmingly the perpetrators of rape against both male and female victims — march in the front of, or take over, Take Back the Night.  And definitely don’t do it because gender.  That argument simply and obviously doesn’t hold any water at all.

Rape does not transcend sex.  Rape is the use of sex and its attendant reproductive consequences as a tool of political oppression by men against women.  Putting men literally front and center at this year’s TBTN is wrong.