Tag Archives: Sexism

Dolce’s Bitter Take on Sexuality

“Rarely will two boys alone engage in a cut fight. But put the same two boys in a group and they often feel compelled to insult each other or another boy in the group. A cut fight requires an audience. At center stage are the higher-status boys; around the periphery are the lower-status boys, and admiring audience who, by their presence, attention, and laughter, validate the higher status of the boys at the center. This dynamic starts as early as first grade and is well established by high school . . .

“They sometimes gathered in a home when parents were away to watch pornographic films and masturbate together. Next they developed a group entertainment called voyeuring, in which one guy at a party would try to convince a girl to go upstairs to a bedroom to have sex. But first his buddies would go up and hide in a closet, under the bed, or behind the door, where they could watch. Sex with a girl, for these guys, was less an intimate encounter with a valued human being than it was the use of a woman’s body as a sexual performance for male buddies, a way to create their own porn movie. . .

“In gang rape, men use female bodies to bond with each other. Anthropologist Peggy Sanday and others who have studied gang rape are careful to argue that, from the point of view of the woman, the rape is not a sexual experience but a violent, degrading, and painful assault. For the perpetrators, however, gang rape certainly is a sexual experience-but it is not about sex with a woman; rather, the males in the group use the violated woman’s body as an object through which to have vicarious sex with each other. Underlying gang rape is male anxiety about status in a hierarchy of power, expressed through denigration of women and erotic bonding among men, and rooted in the misogynist joking culture of athletic teams.
Most heterosexual boys and young men go through a period of insecurity and even discomfort in learning to establish sexual relations with girls and women. Men who were former athletes told me that in high school, and even in college, talking to girls and women made them feel anxious and inadequate. These young men dealt with their feelings of lameness with young women primarily by listening to and watching their male peers deliver a rap to women. This peer pedagogy of heterosexual relations taught them to put on a performance for girls that seemed to work. The success of this learned heterosexual come-on allowed a young man to mask, even overcome, his sense of insecurity and lameness in his own eyes and, just as important, in the eyes of his male teammates. It also deepened his erotic bond with other members of his male peer group by collectively constructing women as objects of conquest.”

~Excerpts from Michael Messner’s essay entitled “The Triad of Violence in Men’s Sports”

“It does not represent rape or violence, but if one had to give an interpretation of the picture, it could recall an erotic dream, a sexual game.“~Response to the criticism by designer Stefano Gabbana

The most common argument against the gang-rape criticism is the fact that the woman is not putting up a fight, but instead remains still with an air of helplessness. I say, this is all the more reason that this promotes gang rape as it depicts a scenario where a woman is objectified and degraded and has no issue with this fact whatsoever. This gives the public and the male population a false sense of complacency when it comes to women and “putting out.” Advertisers constantly depict women as being hyper-sexual beings, ready to pounce and always willing to show you more of her body. This advertisement depicts a woman who, by lying motionless without a care or thought, relays the same message: I’m here, take me, degrade me.

Although Mr. Gabbana tries to take a stab at defending his advertisement, keep in mind that he is a businessman and in the world of selling products, one must stand out from the rest. Usually, advertisers delve into the oh-so tantalizing world of sexuality, illustrating a story of sexuality that plays into fantasy that many of us have been sold to since a very young age. Our minds are being tampered with, our wallet is at stake – all for the sake of a company’s profit. But at whose expense?

written by Elena Gaudino

 

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Filed under Feminism, Mental Environment

America’s Fear of a Woman with Power

Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to politics I don’t consider myself any sort of guru, although I know enough not to believe anything on Fox News. Overall, politics can get sticky and the lines between the bad and the ugly can begin to blur. What I have noticed for the duration of 2007 into 2008 is a prominent bashing against Senator Hillary Clinton. Again, I don’t consider myself a political analyst, but I can’t help but question the validity behind the seemingly shallow hatred. This is mostly because of the fact that when I ask people why they hate her, I’m most often met with the vague, bandwagon response along the lines of “She’s a bitch” or “She’s a femi-nazi.” 

So I looked into Senator Clinton’s policies and compared them to her competitors in order to find any sign leading to “femi-nazism”  Needless to say, the only evidence I found was a policy that supports women’s reproductive health care issues and a stance that desired compromise between the two sides. Clinton has been quoted saying that she strongly believes in Roe vs. Wade, but also believes in taking preventative measures to encourage abortion alternatives, even embracing the possible use of religion and morals to promote abstinence. So this is what a femi-nazi is? 

Now, I hate this term “femi-nazi” and for good reason. I believe it was derived from the far right to connect their female enemies with negative associations. Ask anyone who a femi-nazi is and they’ll refer to a bra-burning, man-hating woman on steroids, even though the notorious bra-burning scenario was a completely false illusion created by sensationalized journalists and almost anyone would have some sort of dissent against someone else who has cheated them out of fair pay and equality for thousands of years.  So why would conservatives want to take power away from women? Easy, because women gaining power means they (our beloved wealthy white men) will be losing power, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep it. 

A recent Op-Ed in The New York Times by Gloria Steinhem was called to my attention today, which brought up the fact that during Clinton and Obama’s two overlapping years in the senate, they have voted the same 90 percent of the time. If you place their view points on reproductive rights, climate change and war side by side, they appear to run parallel to one another, plus or minus a few tweaks. Yet, the Clinton-bashing brigade strengthens, feeding off of any insignificant detail that could be used against her. She remains stern, she’s a robot. She cries, she’s an emotional wreck unfit to run a country. One has to ask, is it really Clinton as a candidate or the fact that she has a vagina that leads ignorant forces to prompt a fight against her? 

Charlotte Whitton once quoted: “Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good,” mostly because there are very black and white definitions that are carried with the label of “woman.” If she is attractive, then certainly, she is a whore. If she is not feminine, then she is a dyke. If she’s emotional, she is a “typical woman” and if she holds back the emotion and runs the show with a firm hand, then she is a bitch.  Any woman who breaks out of the mold is seen as having penis envy, unnatural, etc. and here we have our first front-running female presidential candidate marking U.S. history and low and behold, she is the most ridiculed of them all. 

I applaud Clinton’s efforts and shout loudly “It’s about f-ing time!”  I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that there have been no presidential candidates up until now that were either female or of a different race.  How can citizens tout their tattering American flags out their car windows or claim our country is the greatest when the government, a so-called democracy, does not rightly represent the demographics of the American people? 

What I find even more interesting concerning this issue are our misled citizens’ claims that women in other countries have it a lot worse. But as we all know, the recently assassinated Bhutto, who was the first female prime minister for a Muslim nation, was elected into office in Pakistan, not in this decade, not in the 90’s, but in 1988 – twenty years before we saw a woman candidate. As for sympathized South America; Argentina and Chile already have had a taste of having a woman in power. 

The worst aspect of this situation is hearing these formless claims coming from the mouths of fellow women. Oh, I understand all right. I was raised in a family where abortion was a huge no-no and quite possibly the biggest deciding factor. But women must realize that just because they are women, does not exempt you from feeling the pangs of living in a patriarchal society that has catered towards men in power. Quite frankly, most of us do not realize the basic realities and faults of our current system and find it all normal, because that’s just how it always was. Fortunately, I was saved from the lie that condemning abortion would save our nation. Unfortunately for the rest, believing in a woman receiving hygienic health care versus throwing herself down a flight of stairs or finding a wire hanger simply seems absurd.

I’m not telling you to vote for Hillary.  I’m not running a campaign site here.  I am just plain sick and tired of such uninformed groups of people preemptively judging and blurting false accusations.  All I ask is that you judge each candidate, not by their looks, gender or ethnicity, but by his/her experience, integrity and policies towards what our nation is and what it can and should be.

– written by Elena Gaudino

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Filed under Feminism, Politics