glitzfrau: (jesusgun)
How to win friends and influence people:

On 19 Jun 2012, at 09:56, A Man wrote:

My good lady works at the City Centre and has just been sent this by their security so thought I should pass it on:
“It has been brought to my attention that there were two attempted rape incidents this weekend along the canal in the city centre. In both cases the victims were female joggers. One of these attacks was at 4.00 pm on Sunday afternoon in broad daylight. The culprit/s have not been caught.

It would therefore be advisable until further notice to not go running in those areas and not to run alone at all.

Please let as many runners as you know as possible (please forward on!!!) including guys, as they can pass the message on to more people too.”

Dear A Man,

Thank you for your mail. It might be more advisable for you to pass on the following advice to men at the university:

* Do not rape female joggers
* If you see a female jogger, do not act threateningly towards her
* If a female jogger appears alarmed at your presence, leave the canal area
* If one of your friends says he has raped a female jogger, report him to the police

I fail to see why we women are being called upon to change our behaviour when it is men who are committing this crime.

Best wishes,

Angry Glitz
glitzfrau: (linke emanze)
On my holidays, I finished Eichmann in Jerusalem and moved on to How to Be a Woman. Oh, it's so tempting to say, from the sublime to the ridiculous, but unfair too. While I was reading Arendt, a sense of awe built up in me at her absolutely perfect prose, the flawless construction of her sentences and paragraphs and arguments; how every sentence answered the one before and raised a question for the next one to answer; how subtle themes ran through and were never dropped; how the level of argument was intellectually rigorous and yet completely transparent; how her incandescent anger was at no time in doubt but at no time overcame her prose. And that in her second language!

It is a perfect book, if you ask me. She considers and deals with difficulties for just the right length of time for the reader to understand and follow them, such as her elegant dismissal of the 'anyone else would have done the same' defence - you are not put on trial for hypothetical crimes that others may or may not have committed, you are being put on trial for these specific crimes to which you have confessed (so there, Bernhard Schlink). Others have been furious with the book, and I can see why: she's unstinting on the sarcasm, and considerably more scathing about the State of Israel than I expected, though she most definitely supports the legal basis of Eichmann's trial and execution. And her savage indictment of the Jewish councils of Nazi-occuppied countries makes difficult reading, and I don't know enough history to know whether she is right to accuse elders such as the esteemed Leo Baeck of complicity in genocide. But oh, so beautifully written, and a wonderfully clear introduction into the world of 1960s Holocaust philosophy that I need to dive into. Harrowing, obviously, but (and this is in no way a noble thing to be saying) I've read worse.

And so to Caitlin Moran's pop-feminist bible for our generation. Moran is funny, and smart, and bang-on my age, and is defending feminism in an accessible and lovable fashion, so it is mean to criticise too much. But oh, from the poised and pointed perfection of Arendt's prose to the jolly wobbly waffle of Moran's is a bit of a lurch. And, well. As I've said before, I'm becoming less interested in the cultural aspects of white Western feminism that she takes on, depilation and It bags and Jordan. It all seems a bit teenage, and it seems a bit too easy to bracket out, as Moran does, issues of violence and equal pay and serious discrimination from the start of her book.

It's not that I disagree with what she says, nor that I suspect she would take much umbrage were I to say (for instance) that actually, I don't think strippers are betraying the sisterhood, nor that fashion is a sinister sniper lurking ready to shoot feminism down. Moreover, she makes some very good points - she makes my point about Women's Work is Worthless, for one, namely that non-parenting work done by women might actually have some inherent value for the world at large, something I very rarely hear said elsewhere. I also liked her robust defence of paying cleaners against the anti-feminist sneerers (because why should a woman feel guilty that she is paying a woman to do her cleaning? why is it her responsibility to feel the guilt rather than a man's?) Her tales of motherhood and abortion are direct and more honest and moving than almost anything I've read.

But it's still chewing-gummish prose, ephemeral meanderings pumped out to pad a few simple arguments which are a bit difficult to pick out of the fluff. Moran rather artlessly dismisses all academic feminists as more or less irrelevant, and then goes on to hero-worship Germaine Greer and Zoe Williams, both of whom, besides being very funny journalists when they try, have a pretty damned good acquaintance with difficult but important French feminism and later gender theories. What's more, the book does read somewhat as a straight It Gets Better video. Oppressed by the Beauty Myth as a teenager? Sexually harassed at the office? Treated like rubbish by self-obsessed men in your early twenties? Don't worry! Get married to a lovely man and you'll be grand! Her husband really does sound lovely, and Moran is very talented, not at all privileged and has made her own happiness - but still, her story is hardly representative. There's absolutely nothing there about lesbian life, apart from a fig-leaf 'I'm not cool enough to be a lesbian, honestly' throwaway statement. I don't mean to sound like an earnest 1930s sociologist demanding a treatise on The Lesbian Problem, but an acknowledgment that we're feminists battling our own battles too might be nice. Equally, nothing on women of colour, nothing on women who stay desperately poor. And while I've come to most of Moran's own conclusions about high heels, shaving, porn and the rest, not all women and not all feminists will, but we all need to fight the real battles together, including, f'rinstance, this terrifying new abortion bill in the UK.

In short: Caitlin, I'll get drunk with you and Lady Gaga in a Berlin sex club any time, but I'll turn to Arendt for my hero worship, if that's OK.
glitzfrau: (executive lesbian from sinsense)
Brenda Power, interviewed on Liveline (roughly paraphrased, but not by much): "We have a huge problem with abortion in this country, and it doesn't help when young single mothers that were being encouraged to give their child up for adoption rather than have an abortion would think twice if they thought the baby might end up with Miss Panti and her boyfriend".

Question: That crazy hatefilled logic, weaving together homophobia and anti-choice thinking and patronising misogyny into a toxic parcel, was all about when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s. (In fact, those of you who have known me long enough will know I got sucked into it for a while.) But now? Is Power a lone offensive voice, trying to carve out a shock-jock niche in the Irish media? Or do people really still think like her? [livejournal.com profile] ideealisme, I know you would say that Power is more widely representative of the New Ireland than I think, but is she really that representative?

On the good side, the Irish queer community really seem galvanised by this. I'm still not about to thank Power, though.
glitzfrau: (executive lesbian from sinsense)
Brenda Power, interviewed on Liveline (roughly paraphrased, but not by much): "We have a huge problem with abortion in this country, and it doesn't help when young single mothers that were being encouraged to give their child up for adoption rather than have an abortion would think twice if they thought the baby might end up with Miss Panti and her boyfriend".

Question: That crazy hatefilled logic, weaving together homophobia and anti-choice thinking and patronising misogyny into a toxic parcel, was all about when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s. (In fact, those of you who have known me long enough will know I got sucked into it for a while.) But now? Is Power a lone offensive voice, trying to carve out a shock-jock niche in the Irish media? Or do people really still think like her? [livejournal.com profile] ideealisme, I know you would say that Power is more widely representative of the New Ireland than I think, but is she really that representative?

On the good side, the Irish queer community really seem galvanised by this. I'm still not about to thank Power, though.
glitzfrau: (executive lesbian from sinsense)
Annoyed at 1., Brenda Power's hatefilled article in the Sunday Times. But more, actually, annoyed with the Times for publishing it. Brenda Power and the Iona institute churn out ignorant, homophobic bile to order, bile of a low quality and with a gratingly sickly sauce of Christian tolerance poured on top. They don't represent anyone except themselves. And yet, the Irish media constantly turn to them to provide 'balance' in their Punch and Judy idea of a debate on gay marriage. Publishing Power's article just gives the homophobic arguments she peddles legitimacy. The Irish media should know better.

Annoyed also at 2., an illadvised viewing session of a puff documentary on Sacha Baron Cohen on Channel 4 on Saturday night. This showed a brief clip from Brüno, in which Baron Cohen performs a camp cheerleader dance in front of a vast crowd of American sports fans. The crowd, faces twisted in hate, roar "Faggot!" at him, as he beams beatifically and cartwheels on. The clip can't have lasted more than thirty seconds, but it was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. I'm trying to figure out how to read it:

  • According to Baron Cohen's adoring friends and admirers, featured on the programme, Baron Cohen is a passionate liberal trying to unmask prejudice. If so, then he thinks that this stunt is revealing the true extent and ugly face of homophobia to a world that would prefer to think that it doesn't really exist, while simultaneously celebrating joyfully silly high camp and unabashed gay sex. That's a noble aim, and I completely support it.

  • But. This film is made in a context, and that context is a homophobic one. I don't know how many of you read the lengthy Guardian article by gay journalist Philip Hensher, trying to prove that the film really wasn't homophobic and that he, Hensher, was in on the joke, but it was a profoundly disturbing read.
    Brüno describes, with great care, what may be termed the "homosexual body", and describes what may be called envisaged homosexual sex. Neither of these, it seems to me, are intended to have anything at all to do with the bodies, or the real sexual habits, of homosexual men. They are delirious external fantasies.
    So Hensher is suggesting that it's OK to laugh at Brüno, because he's a parody of heterosexual fears. Real gay men, as he goes on to say, are mostly straight-acting and bourgeois and dull. But that's not quite OK, because Power's article shows that part of the homophobic case against gay rights is built on fear of the shrill and the camp:
    Homosexuals insist that their nature is an inherent, essential reality, and not a lifestyle choice. But if we were to judge by the get-up and carry-on of some of those in the Pride march last week, that’s hard to believe. Some are definitely choosing to pursue a way of life that is quite alien to the majority of married heterosexual parents in this country, indeed deliberately and defiantly so.
    Power suggests that if we want our demands for marriage to be taken seriously, we shouldn't have an outrageous tranny like Panti as our spokesperson. Now, Baron Cohen may well be on Panti's side. He may be a fan of genderqueer performance and of viciously funny, bitingly intelligent activism. But if a gay reporter can argue that the film is saying that it's OK to poke fun at high camp and transgressive behaviour, a pro-Panti messsage is not the message viewers of the film are necessarily going to hear. And the final paragraph of Hensher's article was heartbreaking:
    And yet there is the audience. Towards the end of the film, Brüno tries to marry his faithful assistant, Lutz, who turns up in a wedding dress. The audience laughed as if they had never seen anything so funny in their lives. As it happens, I married a man last month.
    I found this desperately sad, and again, terrifying: I cannot imagine how scary it would be to sit in a cinema, next to my civil partner, with that homophobic laughter baying around me. (Which is why I don't think I'm going to see the film.) This paragraph suggests that poor Hensher is trying so hard to prove that he gets the joke and isn't a humourless bitter old queen that he's swallowing his fear and anger. Baron Cohen may well be meaning to satirise heterosexual fears about homosexuality. But if his satire is effectively granting the public permission to mock gay marriage, Baron Cohen might want to rethink his strategy. The joke may be on the audience, but they don't seem to give a toss. The message I am hearing from Hensher's report is that Brüno says that it's OK to dismiss and hate campness, and demand that queer people conform in order to be accepted; and that it's OK to laugh at queer marriage, because sure don't we have all the rights now. That's a pretty dangerous idea to promulgate.

  • Or, alternatively, Brüno will simply publicise homophobic acts and provide lots of useful incitements and models for bullying and hating gay people. (Just as Walliams's Lucas's "the only gay in the village" sketch provides a good stick to beat gay people with, because the joke's on the silly pink-rubber-clad self-obsessed gayer, isn't it, now stop whinging.) In which case, Baron Cohen has made a fortune by endangering the safety of queers in schoolyards and streets and families across the world, and he can fuck right off, so.

I'm not sure what to think. I know that Baron Cohen's humour is that tiresome thing, 'edgy', which sits between cringe and 'political incorrectness' and the boundaries of acceptability, and that it's designed to provoke exactly this kind of uncomfortable reaction in bourgeois prissy me. Even if 'edgy' comedy isn't homophobic (which it so frequently is), I don't enjoy it. With Brüno, though, it seems to me that Baron Cohen might be ramping up the stakes to a scary degree. But I do know I'm not paying Baron Cohen £7 in cinema ticket fees to find out exactly how subversive the film is, if finding out means sitting in the midst of a cinema filled with homophobic hilarity.
glitzfrau: (executive lesbian from sinsense)
Annoyed at 1., Brenda Power's hatefilled article in the Sunday Times. But more, actually, annoyed with the Times for publishing it. Brenda Power and the Iona institute churn out ignorant, homophobic bile to order, bile of a low quality and with a gratingly sickly sauce of Christian tolerance poured on top. They don't represent anyone except themselves. And yet, the Irish media constantly turn to them to provide 'balance' in their Punch and Judy idea of a debate on gay marriage. Publishing Power's article just gives the homophobic arguments she peddles legitimacy. The Irish media should know better.

Annoyed also at 2., an illadvised viewing session of a puff documentary on Sacha Baron Cohen on Channel 4 on Saturday night. This showed a brief clip from Brüno, in which Baron Cohen performs a camp cheerleader dance in front of a vast crowd of American sports fans. The crowd, faces twisted in hate, roar "Faggot!" at him, as he beams beatifically and cartwheels on. The clip can't have lasted more than thirty seconds, but it was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. I'm trying to figure out how to read it:

  • According to Baron Cohen's adoring friends and admirers, featured on the programme, Baron Cohen is a passionate liberal trying to unmask prejudice. If so, then he thinks that this stunt is revealing the true extent and ugly face of homophobia to a world that would prefer to think that it doesn't really exist, while simultaneously celebrating joyfully silly high camp and unabashed gay sex. That's a noble aim, and I completely support it.

  • But. This film is made in a context, and that context is a homophobic one. I don't know how many of you read the lengthy Guardian article by gay journalist Philip Hensher, trying to prove that the film really wasn't homophobic and that he, Hensher, was in on the joke, but it was a profoundly disturbing read.
    Brüno describes, with great care, what may be termed the "homosexual body", and describes what may be called envisaged homosexual sex. Neither of these, it seems to me, are intended to have anything at all to do with the bodies, or the real sexual habits, of homosexual men. They are delirious external fantasies.
    So Hensher is suggesting that it's OK to laugh at Brüno, because he's a parody of heterosexual fears. Real gay men, as he goes on to say, are mostly straight-acting and bourgeois and dull. But that's not quite OK, because Power's article shows that part of the homophobic case against gay rights is built on fear of the shrill and the camp:
    Homosexuals insist that their nature is an inherent, essential reality, and not a lifestyle choice. But if we were to judge by the get-up and carry-on of some of those in the Pride march last week, that’s hard to believe. Some are definitely choosing to pursue a way of life that is quite alien to the majority of married heterosexual parents in this country, indeed deliberately and defiantly so.
    Power suggests that if we want our demands for marriage to be taken seriously, we shouldn't have an outrageous tranny like Panti as our spokesperson. Now, Baron Cohen may well be on Panti's side. He may be a fan of genderqueer performance and of viciously funny, bitingly intelligent activism. But if a gay reporter can argue that the film is saying that it's OK to poke fun at high camp and transgressive behaviour, a pro-Panti messsage is not the message viewers of the film are necessarily going to hear. And the final paragraph of Hensher's article was heartbreaking:
    And yet there is the audience. Towards the end of the film, Brüno tries to marry his faithful assistant, Lutz, who turns up in a wedding dress. The audience laughed as if they had never seen anything so funny in their lives. As it happens, I married a man last month.
    I found this desperately sad, and again, terrifying: I cannot imagine how scary it would be to sit in a cinema, next to my civil partner, with that homophobic laughter baying around me. (Which is why I don't think I'm going to see the film.) This paragraph suggests that poor Hensher is trying so hard to prove that he gets the joke and isn't a humourless bitter old queen that he's swallowing his fear and anger. Baron Cohen may well be meaning to satirise heterosexual fears about homosexuality. But if his satire is effectively granting the public permission to mock gay marriage, Baron Cohen might want to rethink his strategy. The joke may be on the audience, but they don't seem to give a toss. The message I am hearing from Hensher's report is that Brüno says that it's OK to dismiss and hate campness, and demand that queer people conform in order to be accepted; and that it's OK to laugh at queer marriage, because sure don't we have all the rights now. That's a pretty dangerous idea to promulgate.

  • Or, alternatively, Brüno will simply publicise homophobic acts and provide lots of useful incitements and models for bullying and hating gay people. (Just as Walliams's Lucas's "the only gay in the village" sketch provides a good stick to beat gay people with, because the joke's on the silly pink-rubber-clad self-obsessed gayer, isn't it, now stop whinging.) In which case, Baron Cohen has made a fortune by endangering the safety of queers in schoolyards and streets and families across the world, and he can fuck right off, so.

I'm not sure what to think. I know that Baron Cohen's humour is that tiresome thing, 'edgy', which sits between cringe and 'political incorrectness' and the boundaries of acceptability, and that it's designed to provoke exactly this kind of uncomfortable reaction in bourgeois prissy me. Even if 'edgy' comedy isn't homophobic (which it so frequently is), I don't enjoy it. With Brüno, though, it seems to me that Baron Cohen might be ramping up the stakes to a scary degree. But I do know I'm not paying Baron Cohen £7 in cinema ticket fees to find out exactly how subversive the film is, if finding out means sitting in the midst of a cinema filled with homophobic hilarity.
glitzfrau: (executive lesbian from sinsense)
Hello! I posted this to Facebook, but still feel enraged, so thought I could share my ire with you lot too. From the Grauniad 'Family' supplement yesterday, also, of course, known as the Grauniad 'Smug Middle-Class Heterosexual' supplement, the first article in years that I can remember that actually deals with a queer issue:

Gay godfathers rule

"David Waters is a godfather four times over. Why is he so popular? Well, he makes a mean fruit crumble, he's got great taste (for presents), has plenty of money (for the inheritance) - and no kids of his own
...
Dave is solvent. He's in a stable relationship with Jaye, who's also great. They have two homes - a neat flat in central London, for educational museum and gallery jaunts, plus a picture-book cottage by the sea - the perfect bolt hole for part of the summer holidays. And Dave works in the fashion industry so he has good taste, ensuring that all his gifts are likely to be a) expensive, though he will have bought them with a discount card, so we won't need to feel guilty, and b) tasteful, so it won't be a quick dash to Baby Gap but something unique and special, perhaps even from Tiffany. Also, Dave isn't likely to be distracted by his own children as - brilliant! - he doesn't have any and nor is he likely to at his highly advanced age. I bet he's barely fertile."

This written without a trace of irony. Who is this self-hating gay man? Two points: one, contrary to the gay yuppie cliché, recent research in America shows that in general, people in same-sex relationships are far less socio-economically privileged than people in opposite-sex ones.
After adjusting for a range of family characteristics that help explain poverty, gay and lesbian couple families are significantly more likely to be poor than are heterosexual married couple families.
- Notably, lesbian couples and their families are much more likely to be poor than heterosexual couples and their families.
- Children in gay and lesbian couple households have poverty rates twice those of children in heterosexual married couple households.
- Within the LGB population, several groups are much more likely to be poor than others. African American people in same-sex couples and same-sex couples who live in rural areas are much more likely to be poor than white or urban same-sex couples.

And secondly, even if we queer people are not rolling in pink cash, not in stable relationships, don't own chic property portfolios, don't have fabulous jobs, are not arbiters of taste and do have children, we are still valuable members of society and still can be loving godparents to children. Rather than being patronised as 'add-ons', tolerated on account of our slightly excessive wealth (so unlike the worthy poverty of hard-working families, another New Labour phrase I loathe, detest and wish to scorch from the lexicon. It makes me think of austere Victorian prelates preaching to ragged Victorian families that they should be poor but honest, let the three-year-old handle the child care and the six year old go up the chimneys. Or of a smug heterosexual middle-class New Labour viewpoint that refuses to imagine people as dignified citizens and valuable human beings if they are not married, procreating and engaged in taxable labour.)

So yes. Thanks for the toxic clichés, Guardian! Way to fulfil your progressive mandate!
glitzfrau: (executive lesbian from sinsense)
Hello! I posted this to Facebook, but still feel enraged, so thought I could share my ire with you lot too. From the Grauniad 'Family' supplement yesterday, also, of course, known as the Grauniad 'Smug Middle-Class Heterosexual' supplement, the first article in years that I can remember that actually deals with a queer issue:

Gay godfathers rule

"David Waters is a godfather four times over. Why is he so popular? Well, he makes a mean fruit crumble, he's got great taste (for presents), has plenty of money (for the inheritance) - and no kids of his own
...
Dave is solvent. He's in a stable relationship with Jaye, who's also great. They have two homes - a neat flat in central London, for educational museum and gallery jaunts, plus a picture-book cottage by the sea - the perfect bolt hole for part of the summer holidays. And Dave works in the fashion industry so he has good taste, ensuring that all his gifts are likely to be a) expensive, though he will have bought them with a discount card, so we won't need to feel guilty, and b) tasteful, so it won't be a quick dash to Baby Gap but something unique and special, perhaps even from Tiffany. Also, Dave isn't likely to be distracted by his own children as - brilliant! - he doesn't have any and nor is he likely to at his highly advanced age. I bet he's barely fertile."

This written without a trace of irony. Who is this self-hating gay man? Two points: one, contrary to the gay yuppie cliché, recent research in America shows that in general, people in same-sex relationships are far less socio-economically privileged than people in opposite-sex ones.
After adjusting for a range of family characteristics that help explain poverty, gay and lesbian couple families are significantly more likely to be poor than are heterosexual married couple families.
- Notably, lesbian couples and their families are much more likely to be poor than heterosexual couples and their families.
- Children in gay and lesbian couple households have poverty rates twice those of children in heterosexual married couple households.
- Within the LGB population, several groups are much more likely to be poor than others. African American people in same-sex couples and same-sex couples who live in rural areas are much more likely to be poor than white or urban same-sex couples.

And secondly, even if we queer people are not rolling in pink cash, not in stable relationships, don't own chic property portfolios, don't have fabulous jobs, are not arbiters of taste and do have children, we are still valuable members of society and still can be loving godparents to children. Rather than being patronised as 'add-ons', tolerated on account of our slightly excessive wealth (so unlike the worthy poverty of hard-working families, another New Labour phrase I loathe, detest and wish to scorch from the lexicon. It makes me think of austere Victorian prelates preaching to ragged Victorian families that they should be poor but honest, let the three-year-old handle the child care and the six year old go up the chimneys. Or of a smug heterosexual middle-class New Labour viewpoint that refuses to imagine people as dignified citizens and valuable human beings if they are not married, procreating and engaged in taxable labour.)

So yes. Thanks for the toxic clichés, Guardian! Way to fulfil your progressive mandate!