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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Violence makes sense if you look closely enough at the perpetrator, says expert

Accused mass-murderer Sgt. Robert Bales’s lawyer says the U.S. soldier may have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury when he killed 16 civilians, including 9 children and 3 women, in Kandahar while they slept, but CNN’s mental health expert says that’s unlikely.  Apparently, in reality, there is rarely a medical or psychiatric explanation for bad behavior, including male violence and extreme male violence, and indeed, when the perpetrator in the current case is examined closely, things start to fall into place.

From the article:

In the case of Bales, if he is guilty of the massacre, his actions may eventually be found to be related to a clearly causative organic factor. But my clinical experience tells me not to bet on this. It happens, but pretty rarely.

When people behave in unexpected ways for no good reason, it often turns out that when the full story of their lives is understood, the behavior no longer appears as unexpected. That which is neither clearly linked to either a medical or psychiatric illness is very likely intertwined in a person’s longstanding personality.

So, I suspect that if 100 psychiatrists were told that a previously normal service person massacred 16 civilians and was neither medically impaired nor psychotic, the majority of them would immediately suspect that the person in question might not have been as normal across his life as initial reports suggested.

So even though the majority of psychiatrists would automatically suspect that the perpetrator was not sick and would recommend that the details of his life and previous behavior be examined for predictive indicators, we are always confronted with the montage of confused neighbors who say how great a guy he was and how all of this atrocious male violence came as such a shock.  Why does this meme persist in the face of evidence that it is simply not reality-based, and people who study this for a living know this?  Unsurprisingly, this case is no different, although weirdly, the doctor seems to buy into it himself:

It now appears that he was involved in fraudulent business dealings. What makes the case so strange, however, are the multiple contrasting reports of his remarkably caring and selfless behavior on numerous occasions and his status as something of a small town hero.

The confused-neighbors montage is “strange” now?  I thought you just implied that this kind of stuff shouldn’t confuse you because you know better?  What this doctor appears to be saying, when he says that this is “strange” even though it is actually extremely common, is that it doesn’t make any “psychiatric sense” meaning that where the perpetrator is “neither medically impaired nor psychotic,” it is simply out of his area of expertise — as a psychiatrist — to comment on.

In other words, there wasn’t anything wrong with Bales, and it was simply consistent with his history to commit mass murder .  So why all the mealy-mouth in this article?  Why not just come out and say it: that there is nothing that unusual about most men who commit extreme violence, that there is probably nothing unusual about this one either, and in fact it could’ve probably been predicted beforehand, if not just easily explained afterwards, if we only knew (or paid at attention to) how Bales and indeed all men behave every day?

The doctor himself seems apologetic for his mealy-mouthedness, and ends with a pretty revealing question:

I seem to end many of my CNNhealth pieces with some type of comment about how unsatisfying our current level of psychiatric understanding is. This pieces, [sic] alas, is no different in this regard. Frankly, at this point nothing in Bales’ actions makes psychiatric sense. On the other hand, how many highly admired, hard-working, patriotic, caring small-town heroes are embroiled in financial fraud or may have other dark behaviors in their backgrounds?

An observer who was actually invested in preventing male violence might conclude that therefore, men need to be monitored closely and punished severely or deterred by whatever means for all transgressions and “dark behaviors” because they are predictive of future violence, including extreme violence.

But yes, it is an excellent question, however it is phrased: how many allegedly “good men” really aren’t?  Taking it a step further, one might reasonably wonder whether there are any men out there who don’t have “dark behaviors” in their pasts and presents, including behaviors which average people generally regard as “dark” but also including other things that only radical feminists would see as particularly harmful, such as putting girls and women at extreme physical and psychological risk through dangerous male-centric sexuality, or doing this by-proxy by using porn?  In other words, doesn’t all male violence make perfect sense, and particularly men’s known propensity to commit violence as opposed to women’s, if we are going to use previous instances of putting people in harm’s way as a predictive indicator of future violence, where essentially all men put people in harm’s way all the time, particularly through dangerous male sexuality?

And this excellent question is coupled with a revealing point: psychiatry is simply not implicated in very many cases of male violence or extreme male violence because male violence and extreme male violence are not medically or psychiatrically abnormal (for men).  Read: it’s normal, or “typical” if you prefer; medically and psychiatrically healthy men do this.  Even though people clearly wish the reverse were true, and keep asking psychiatrists for psychiatric explanations and excuses when the facts do not warrant it.  Indeed, in reality, it seems like asking a psychiatrist to explain male violence is like getting a plumber to help you hang wallpaper.  They just aren’t that helpful.

Of course, he very obviously does not address whether banking fraud and other “dark behaviors” when women do it, would be predictive of future female violence, especially mass murder.

There is nothing wrong with these men, they just do it, and it’s completely predictable too.  This appears to be what this doctor is saying, albeit hesitantly.  Being a man himself, perhaps he is particularly compromised here to tell the truth about men and what men do and what men are, and CNN itself is a tool of the patriarchy, hence the mealiness.

But the thing is, we can all read, and we can read between the lines too.

No wonder men love their “privacy” and the separate spheres so much: because that’s where they can behave “darkly” and where no one ever knows about it except their wives and children, who very often are economically coerced into not turning their husbands and fathers in on the spot, and where no one would believe them anyway if they told the truth about what a male “upstanding citizen” acts like when he thinks that no one that matters is watching.

But also, how nice it must be for all men that almost everyone regards the most common expression of disdain for girls and women, and an obvious manifestation of men’s “darkness” where they place others in harm’s way — men, sticking their dicks into other people, particularly female-bodied people — as essentially harmless, or even an act of love?  Cue the confused-neighbors montage.  “He was such a great guy, a family man.”  When in reality, the man placed his wife in harm’s way repeatedly, and the numerous ambivalent or unwanted children are the proof.

Judge sentences abuser to ‘date night’ with his victim following DV arrest

A Florida judge recently thought it was in the interest of justice, in the best interest of the victim, and consistent with public policy to “sentence” a violent offender to take his wife out for Red Lobster and bowling, and then sending the couple to “marriage counseling” after the man had brutalized her in her home, reports The Florida Sun Sentinel.

From the article:

“It was a minor incident, in the court’s opinion,” he said. “The court would not normally do that if the court felt there was some violence but this is very, very minor and the court felt that that was a better resolution than other alternatives.”

Reading from an arrest affidavit, Hurley said Bray pushed his wife onto their couch and put his hand on her neck. He held up his fist to hit her, but never struck her, Hurley said.

A woman who identified herself as Bray’s wife attended the hearing and explained that the couple’s argument started on Monday after her husband didn’t acknowledge her birthday.

Hurley asked her is she was hurt or in any fear of her husband. After she said she wasn’t, and Hurley confirmed that Bray had no prior arrests, the judge continued his questioning with a lighter tone.

“Do you have something you like to go to?” he asked. “Is there a restaurant you like to go to?”

The woman answered that she enjoyed bowling and eating at Red Lobster. And so the judge made his decision accordingly.

“Flowers, birthday card, Red Lobster, bowling,” Hurley said. He also ordered that the couple begin seeing a marriage counselor within a week.

It’s interesting how the facts can always, always be spun to support male-supremacy, isn’t it?  Specifically, in this case, to support the narrative that men’s domestic violence against women doesn’t hurt women or make them afraid, it’s not really that bad, and even if it does hurt women and even if it is that bad, who cares?

In this version of it, the abuser “put his hand on her neck.”  In another version, he is said to have “grabbed her by the neck.”  So which one is it?  And just for clarity’s sake, are we talking about the back of the neck, or the front?  You know, where the throat is?  I’m thinking it was the front, but hey, what do I know about attempting to disable someone during a violent altercation, or even about a colloquialism like “going for the throat,” I’m just a laydee.

In the Sun Sentinel’s version, we are expected to put on blinders the size of toboggans and believe that a man in the midst of a violent attack on his wife, in between pushing her and lifting his fist to strike her, placed his hand upon her neck (not her throat!) gently as a silk scarf, without intending to harm her, and indeed without harming her at all.   Look, she said so herself!  The judge asked her whether she was hurt or afraid as a result of being violently attacked by her husband in their shared home, a very vague question and without defining his terms, in an intimidating environment, giving her the opportunity to make her husband even madder than he already was hate her more than he already did, and making herself look like a drama queen and a complete bitch at the same time, and she declined.

But why wasn’t it just assumed that the wife was both hurt and afraid in this instance?  I mean, wouldn’t you be?  Why would anyone even have to ask?  Oh yeah, because asking the question under these circumstances results in more positive outcomes (for men) than we would otherwise get, if we used common sense, and regarded female victims of male violence as human beings with predictable human responses to being terrorized and attacked.

Red Lobster it is, then!

And in HLNtv.com’s version, where the man “grabbed her by the neck” we are all not only told but shown too how a violent man who engages in an act that is reasonably likely to result in serious bodily harm or death, which grabbing by the neck (or throat) most certainly is, can do so with impunity, where the victim was a woman and/or his wife.  In case anyone wasn’t sure about that, they have even more evidence than they did before, so we can all adjust our behaviors accordingly.  Abusers and potential abusers can adjust their behaviors accordingly, and victims and potential victims can adjust their behaviors accordingly.  This is male-supremacy, y’all, let’s get with the program mkay?  Great.

And the part about marriage counseling was a nice touch: involve yet another male-supremacist institution in domestic violence cases (in this case, psychiatry/psychology) so they can all work together in tandem to help this woman “get over her issues” of mistakenly thinking that she’s a human being, and calling the cops when men attack her.

The Sun Sentinel reporter, Danielle Alvarez, can be reached here:

daalvarez@tribune.com or 965-356-4543.

The Judge, John “Jay” Hurley can be reached here:

HURLEY, JOHN
Judicial Asst. Marjorie McClain
(954) 831-7615

Wartime rapes happen because gender, says liberal activist Gloria Steinem

Today, liberal feminist activist Gloria Steinem co-writes for CNN that the use of sexualized violence against women by men during wartime is because gender.

In an article that is very difficult to criticize, because it addresses wartime rapes of women by men and this is hardly ever addressed by anyone, and it’s almost unprecedented to have anyone self-identifying as an actual feminist address sexualized violence (or anything) in the popular media, Steinem reports that she and another woman have started a project at the Women’s Media Center called “Women Under Siege”, an initiative on sexualized violence in conflict.  They don’t say by whom these women are taken under siege, it’s just implied.

And because everyone knows that the only ones committing sexualized violence in conflict are men, the authors let everyone come to the correct conclusion on their own, but without ever having to actually say it.  Now that’s good liberal-feminist politicking.

From the article:

We ran through a dozen [stories of raped women], and finally realized that it would be too difficult to find the right one — the tale that would express exactly how and in what ways sexualized violence is being used as a weapon of war to devastate women and tear apart communities around the world, conflict by conflict, from Libya to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Used as a weapon of war by whom?  Again, they don’t say.

It is because of this complexity that we must understand how sexualized violence is being used. We must understand in order to stop it — just as, when seeking to defuse a bomb, it is crucial to know its components. Both the World Health Organization and the U.N. Security Council have recognized that there is a lack of research on the nature and extent of sexualized violence in conflict, even as there is increasing demand from U.N. bodies, donors, and others for better analysis to work toward prevention and healing.

All of this is why we have begun a new project at the Women’s Media Center that breaks down the specifics of sexualized violence into areas such as its motives and patterns, its fallout, and the gender and cultural attitudes that may have led to it. We’re calling our project Women Under Siege, because with four women being raped every five minutes in Congo alone, we can say it is nothing less than that — an ongoing siege. And it’s time we began to put an end to it.

And that’s commendable, it really is, and I know I’m going to hell for addressing the problems with this article.  I know it!  And if my criticism costs this project one penny of financial support, or one ounce of political support I will probably kill myself.

But they still haven’t named men as the agent of harm here, not one single time.  In fact, this article uses the word “women” 17 times, and uses the word “men” 3 times.  And check out the context of it, where the word “men” is used:

Sexualized violence may be the only form of violence in which the victim is blamed or is even said to have invited it. In war, rape shames women, men, children, entire societies. The stigma imposed on all who are touched by this violence makes this weapon incredibly effective as a means of destroying the enemy.

It’s okay to say “men” in the context of wartime rape if it’s necessary to convey how rape hurts men too.

Here’s another one:

But it is crucial to remember that it wasn’t always like this, nor does it have to be. Sexualized violence isn’t a “natural” part of conflict. For the first 90% or more of human history, females and males had roles that were balanced and porous. Our societal positions weren’t based on the domination of females by males. Humans and nature, women and men, were linked rather than ranked. The circle, not the hierarchy, was the organizing principle of our thinking.

It’s okay to say “men” in the context of wartime rape if it’s romanticising an unsourced account of pre-history where women and men were equals, and men didn’t rape women.  And a footnote or two would be nice!

Here’s the third and last time the word “men” is used in this article:

Naming sexualized violence as a weapon of war makes it visible — and once visible, prosecutable. What happened to men in the past was political, but what happened to women was cultural. The political was public and could be changed; the other was private — even sacred — and could not or even should not be changed.

It’s okay to use the word “men” in the context of wartime rape if it’s calling attention to the problem of separate spheres, and where men are hurt too, but what happens to men is visible, whereas what happens to women is not.  Again, who is causing all this harm to both women and men, and who ultimately benefits from separate spheres whereby men can damage women behind closed doors with impunity and they have been doing this for a long time, is never explicitly stated.  And again, we can all get there on our own, and we are right, but Steinem never has to actually say it, and so never draws the ire of the men and male-identifed women she has pledged allegiance to, and depends on for support.

Steinem finishes the piece by stating unequivocally that wartime rapes happen because gender, and still doesn’t say it’s because sex, or because men, or because men rape women, and conspicuously ignores that men rape women in peacetime too, even though in the beginning of the article she describes the story of one woman who was repeatedly raped, shot, and left for dead, only to survive and return home 5 months pregnant.  And even though the article specifically calls attention to the use of rape as a tool of genocide, where men use it to intentionally cause pregnancy in their victims.

She concludes,

Making clear that sexualized violence is political and public breaks down that wall. It acknowledges that sexualized violence does not need to happen. When masculinity is no longer defined by the possession and domination of women, when femininity is no longer about the absence of sexual experience or being owned, then we will have begun.

What the fuck is she talking about?  “Femininity” isn’t what’s implicated here, when we are talking about women being owned by men.  No, that’s what it means to be a woman under male supremacy.  A Woman.  A female-bodied person, not a feminine-gendered person.  The way you can tell is that un-feminine women are owned and raped by men too.  Jeebus.

A bit of liberal-feminist politicking, brought to you by liberal feminism’s Queen.  She has started a worthy project here that deserves support, but the way she panders to men and men’s feelings, and toes the line of male-supremacist politicking and journalism is really pretty gross.  And ultimately, and this is really the point, it’s very difficult to support male-supremacy and to effectively undermine it, at the same time.  The laws of physics, among other things, prevent that from happening.