Myths about male sexuality and rape

TW: rape

Kudos to Caitlin Bishop who wrote an article on Mamamia male rape victims. This is a topic that is sadly not talked about very often. Too often, female to male rape – especially when the male is in adolescence – is treated like a win, like something a man should want. If it’s a teacher/ student situation, it’s assumed that the victim has a crush on the female teacher anyway. This portrayal is never, if rarely, present when the genders are reversed. Often when men are raped by other men, this can lead men to mistakenly question their sexuality. CASA Forum Fact Sheet puts it:

For heterosexual men, sexual assault can cause confusion or questioning about their sexuality, especially if their body has responded.

Gay victims:

For gay men, sexual assault can lead to feelings of self – blame and self – loathing. attached to their sexuality. There is enough homophobic sentiment in society to make gay men suffer from internal conflicts about their sexuality. Being sexually assaulted may lead a gay man to believe he somehow “deserved it” due to his sexual orientation.

 

I believe that there is one important thing that people need to start realising – men – like women – can refuse sex. They aren’t animals without inhibitions, despite what society says. It’s their right, just as it’s the right of women to refuse sex. Also, the age of consent applies to males as it does females. If a male is underage or when the woman (or man), is in a position of power (teacher, etc), and any sexual contact occurs, then that male has been raped. It’s not a fantasy. It’s not a “dream come true”. It’s not what they “should want”. If a man or teenage boy can’t or won’t give proper consent, then that man has been raped.

For victims who have been raped by other men –  it’s of NO RESEMBLANCE to their sexual orientation. If a man is raped – regardless of sexual orientation – power has been abused. Again, gay men can refuse consent just as straight, bi, asexual, etc men can. They can refuse or withdraw any sexual contact from other men, just like anyone else. This toxic stereotype and over – sexualisation of gay men would not have done gay male victims of rape any justice, and like I quoted above, it exacerbates any internal homophobia that he may have.

The recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse saw a number of men speaking out their own experiences of sexual abuse and its aftermath. Recently in the UK, the Football Association has been rocked with historical allegations of sexual abuse by former players. According to BBC, ex – Crewe defender, Andy Woodward was one of the first to speak out without anonymity in November. He alleged that he’d been abused by former football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell from ages 11 to 15. Other men that have spoken out include: Steve Walters and former England and Totenham footballer, Paul Stewart.

 

Feminists often talk about toxic masculinity and how it affects women. But I think it’s equally toxic for men. Like I said, no, men are not animals. Yes, they should have choice an autonomy over their body and sexuality just like women. And yes, men can – and refuse sex – from people of any gender. If we don’t get rid of these toxic views on masculinity and sexuality, more male victims are going to suffer in silence.

For Australians who need help dealing with sexual abuse here is a list of helpline numbers across the country  

 

 

 

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Am I a feminist?

Lately, I’ve trawled YouTube and have been watching videos on different women and how they view feminism. A number of them classify themselves as “anti – feminist” or neither anti or pro feminist. Here are just some of the videos I’ve watched lately.

Content warning: coarse language

OK, that’s one of the videos I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks. I have seen others, but haven’t found them (note to self – keep titles of YouTube videos in mind or written down!).

Anyway, just trawling through the videos just then (there are MANY both pro and anti feminist videos out there), a question came to me – am I a feminist?

Well, it depends what you mean by “feminist”. These days, I believe the term has been hijacked by social justice warriors that have made women in particular run from the label. When you have “feminists” like Clementine Ford and Van Badham, I, like other Millennials want to run away from the label faster than you can say “I am woman”. Also, there are a lot of myths that have plagued feminism, like the 1 in 5 rape statistic in America that is apparently debunked:

 

Closer to home, feminists have been accused of pursuing trivial causes, while ignoring the suffering of women in the Middle East and Africa under Islamic rule. Feminists have also been accused of ignoring the domestic violence epidemic in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in the Northern Territory. To be fair to feminists, sites like Mamamia have reported on DV in ATSI communities, but it has been few and far in between from what I’ve seen, which, if I’m looking properly, is disappointing. Then again, it’s not hard to do. I’ve only written about the issue once. Then, there’s the whole political correctness overkill, trigger warnings overkill, etc, etc. Yep, it’s turned into a bit of an unfunny joke, really.

 

However, there are feminist blogs I do read and I do agree with some of the sentiments. Sites like Ravishly are very inclusive and do give voice to women of colour, as well as Caucasian women, including many LGBTQ+ women. I do have respect for how they allow women to talk about different struggles such as mental illness. Also, again, closer to home, last week, in light of disability awareness, Mamamia did a great job giving voices to women affected by a physical disability or looking after a grown child with a disability. Despite the criticisms I’ve made toward publisher, Mia Freedman, I do admire her for her advocacy a number of causes, many of which her and the rest of the Mamamia team do very well.

So, feminist publications do a good job in raising awareness about issues. But, am I a feminist?

To be honest, I’m actually not sure. I mean, I do write and care about women’s rights, yet, I’m critical of modern day feminism. Then again, I can see that, without going to the fringes, feminists can do good. I haven’t been actively involved in feminist activism or anything (I used to get quite involved on – line, but not anymore). I think if you take away the blown up statistics, the seeming exclusion of minorities, especially the plight of ATSI women, hypocrisy, etc, then I guess you could say, yeah, I am a feminist. It’s not perfect by any means, and like I said, there are people that give it a bad name, but I don’t think the overall cause in and of itself isn’t bad. If we, including me, as feminist can drop the double – standards, triviality and stand up for all women, then I think feminism can be made even better.

 

What are you? Feminist? Anti – feminist or something else? Who are feminists past or present that you respect?

Enough of mocking Malania Trump

Now that Donald Trump will be the President of the US, apparently, his wife, Malania is fair game.

 

Look, I can understand why people are concerned about Trump. I wrote about this in my post about the #safetypin campaign. But isn’t this racist and sexist? If anyone mocked Hillary like that, or Michelle Obama, there’d be outrage. But because she’s going to be First Lady with Donald Trump as President, it’s OK? I get why Andrew Bolt says “with the Left, it’s not the principle, but the side. If it was any other woman, the chance of this being tolerated would be nil.

 

It makes me think, when it comes to the treatment of women, whether it’s violence, mocking, teasing, etc, I can really see why people treat the Third Wave of Feminism as a complete joke – an unfunny one at that. On one hand, even the slightest offensive thing that’s said about… say Julia Gillard is condemned outright. Now, I argue that some of the treatment she received while she was Prime Minister in 2011 – 2012 –  like broadcaster Alan Jones saying that Gillard’s father “died of shame” only days after he died was appalling. He later apologised. Some of the things Trump said, especially on the tape about women was disgusting. Most people rightly condemned these comments. They were insensitive (on Jones’ part) and downright appalling on President – elect Trump’s part. Yet, there is nothing that I can see on Mamamia or Ravishly – site that’s usually good talking about not just women’s issues but racial diversity as well. Still, nothing. Now I get what Andrew Bolt means when he says: “with so many on the Left, it’s not the principle, but the side”.

 

Women like Mia Freedman try to argue about how important feminism and gender equality is. Well, how about start by treating all women as if they matter? How about condemning all sexism and racism, not just for a few? Otherwise millennials will keep running away from feminism and we’ll just be continued to be painted as nothing more than hypocrites.

Maybe I’m missing something. Have you seen any article, video, etc from a woman’s site condemning the mockery of Melania Trump? If you have, feel free to post the link in the comments section.

 

Unrealistic Images of Weight Loss

Trigger Warning: eating disorders, body dissatisfaction. 

Due to recent events, I’ve put off posting about this, but I decided to go ahead with it since I promised my FB followers that I’d post about this from Mamamia. It’s about an unhealthy attitude toward a “healthy lifestyle”, and how it can become disordered eating and exercising.

Everyone knows that even too much of a good thing can be bad. When I read this, what struck me is how obsessed we are with so – called “health” and weight. . I mean, duh, it’s obvious, I know. But this article made it more… obvious I guess.

We all know that being overweight can harm your health. We know that not enough exercise or not eating healthy aren’t good. But I think the obsession in media and society is gone into overkill. Think of the amount of advertisements you see: Weight Watchers, Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation, Jenny Craig, Lite ‘n’ Easy, you get it. It’s a crowded market. What I realised, is that when you see, say the Lite’n’ easy, the people (usually women), are ALWAYS on the go.

In mainstream media and news outlets, the obsession’s the same. How many times have you seen Michelle Bridges being interviewed and NOT have anyone mention her fitness business or her time at TBL? I can’t think of ONE time. Can anyone else? The weight loss obsession

In fact, obsession over healthy eating is characterised as a type of eating disorder known as orthorexia. It isn’t yet a disorder recognised in the DSM V, but is still harmful. Excessive dieting can cause symptoms such as: irritability, depression and heightened risk of an eating disorder (bulimia, anorexia or binge – eating disorder).

 

We need healthy balance in our lives. Unfortunately, the media seems to make it a bit harder to do.

NOTE: If you suffer an eating disorder, or know someone who does and live in Australia, The Butterfly Foundation can be contacted by their Support Line: 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673 or send an e – mail via here.

Feminism and Age

Women’s site, Ravishly, posted an article arguing against the de- sexualisation of older women. While I agree with the sentiment, what struck me was the fact that it’s the age bracket 18 – 24 who are considered “young enough” for marketers, the media, etc. Someone between the ages 18 – 24 is someone who has just passed adolescence!

I guess I’m getting a bit personal here (since I’m 27), but I just find it disheartening that it’s only the late teens/ early 20’s that are considered “young”, especially in the media. Sure, for most people, 18 – 24 are the ages when you leave school, start working, go to Uni or TAFE, move out of home, have already developed a sense of sexuality and relationships, maybe even in long – term relationships. Looking at my friends on Facebook, 25 – 30 seems to be when people are more solid in their lives. They’re married, engaged, or otherwise in long – term relationships. They are, or have been at Uni. I read about one friend last night who just completed a Masters (not sure in what). She’s a couple months younger than me.

Sure this isn’t every body. but I can see a pattern. 25 – 30 age bracket, for a lot of people, is about getting to the point in your life where you have often lived a little bit and, for most people, it’s the next stage. But is it an expiry date? I hope not! I mean, sure, some industries like modelling, thrive on people (especially women), probably under the age of 25. But for the rest of us, well, at least I hope, those who are between the ages of 25 – 30 can still flourish and have opportunities that we can still grab on to.

 

There is some good news for people between 25 – 30 though. According to Mamamia, a “scientific study” revealed that the best ages to get married is between 28 – 32. So, for women my age, relax ladies, there’s still time.

Feminism For Everyone – Where Are The Voices For Minorities?

I was watching “Studio 10” this morning and they were giving away DVDs to the audience of the movie “The Suffragettes”, which is based on the true story of the Suffragettes that demanded women have the right to vote. The protests started in 1897 when Millicent Fawcett formed the “National Unit for Women’s Suffrage”. Her argument was that women, who could be involved in school boards at the time could be trusted to vote. To read more about it, go here.

It made me think about how far women in Western countries have come. Common focuses for feminists now are things like equal pay, paid parental leave and domestic violence. The problem I have is that the voices that are often heard in the media are those who, apart from being women, if you like, are generally quite privileged.  They are: cis, able – bodied, Caucasian and middle/ upper class. I’m not saying that these women don’t face problems. But, because of a lack of representation, other issues are too often ignored or not properly advocated for by feminists in the mainstream media.

Where are the voices for:

  • Aboriginal women – who are victims of domestic violence at a much higher rate than non – Aboriginal women
  • Disabled women, who again, are much more likely to be victims of domestic violence than the general population
  • Women who can’t get employment and live in impoverished conditions, making them more vulnerable to domestic violence
  • What about women who are abused by other women.
  • In the workplace, where is the demand –  not just a “feel good” charity case here and there – that people with a disability aren’t discriminated against by employers, or potential employers
  • The rights of trans – identified women and other gender minorities.
  • Justice for women who have been subjected to violence based on religion or culture, such as FGM, honour killings, etc.

 

True, feminists, such as those who write for blogs like Mamamia, have addressed issues such as domestic violence in same – sex relationships. What I’m saying is that the fight for the rights of women need to extend beyond us – beyond the “average” or “upper – class” Australian. Let’s fight for ALL women’s rights. Frequently. And without political correctness. Saying that domestic violence is a problem in Aboriginal communities does NOT mean that ALL Aboriginal people should be branded as a domestic abuser. Saying that domestic violence is a problem in many same – sex relationships does NOT tarnish the whole LGBTQ+ community.

It’s time we stood and fought for ALL women. All voices need to be able to be heard. No one deserves to suffer anything in silence, regardless of any labels (gender, sexuality, socio – economic status, etc).

Zoo Weekly Has Stopped Publication After This Month, Playboy to Stop Naked Photos of Women – Win For Feminism?

Last month, it was reported in the media that controversial “lad’s mag” Zoo Weekly was going to stop publication and distribution after this month. This was welcomed by staff at blog Mamamia last month. The reason? Apparently, sales of the controversial lad’s mag has fell steeply. Which makes sense. You don’t continue producing what isn’t selling right?

Is this a win for feminism? The Mamamia staff seem to think so. Historically, ‘lad’s mags’ have always clashed with feminists, including Hugh Hefner’s Playboy back in the 1970’s (talking about playboy, they’ve reportedly stopped publishing photos of naked women).

Win for feminists? Well…

In the comments section of the blog post above, commenters condemned women’s mags such as ‘Women’s Weekly’band ‘Woman’s Day’ (Australia), for focussing on women’s looks and gossip. I do get the critic’s point.

We won’t win the war on sexism and violence against women until feminist of the Labor/ Greens persuasion stop beibg so divisive. As I’ve written before, we need all sides; conservatives and liberals to be united on the cause. Maybe we need to be open to unpopular opinion, and not scream every time Miranda Devine writes a blog post about issues like domestic violence.

In regard to domestic violence, I believe we need to be open to hearing about women from all walks of life, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, who are statistically at higher risk of domestic violence than Anglo – Saxon women. I’m not sure about women of other ethnic backgrounds (and am too slack at the moment to Google for other information).

Which brings me to another point.

Last month, Daily Telegraph columnist and blogger Miranda Devine was condemned by Mamamia’s editor – in – chief Jamila Rizvi for a blog post where Devine strongly argued that women from an impoverished background, where unemployment and welfare dependence was high, along with certain lifestyles of women put them at greater risk of being victimised. After the backlash, she published a post with statistics from NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics that indicated where the higher prevalence of domestic violence occurred. Yet, she was slammed by it. Why? Too politically incorrect? Because Devine is a highly conservative columnist who writes for Newscorp? My guess, it’s a mixture of the two, frankly. But in my opinion, we NEED voices like Miranda Devine and get all data we can to make sure that everyone who is affected by domestic violence can get the help they need, regardless of their ethnicity, Indigenous status or socio – economic background.

So, yeah, I guess for many, the collapse of Zoo Weekly is a victory for women and feminism. But it’s only a small victory in my opinion. If we’re going to make the world, or at least Australia, a better place for women. we need to be holistic about the goal, stop the liberal/ conservative divide and aim to help ALL women, even if doing so puts a stop to the ignorance of data that show any thing we wish that weren’t the case.