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This is what living in a patriarchy is folks. Doesn’t matter you gender, sexual orientation, or your personal feelings. If you belong to the class of women (adult human females), you will be on the short end of the stick. In ‘rainbow spaces’ and in general society did you need to find the lowest on the totem pole? Look for women, you know the ones that produce the large gametes, to be on the bottom rung.

It is terrifying that this level of social malfeasance exists in our society, yet it persists. Why? Because we abide by the status quo, better to look away than to get involved.

More details from the Guardian:

The two women left needing hospital treatment after they were attacked on a bus in a homophobic assault have blamed a rise in rightwing populism for growing hate crime and called on people to stand up for each other.

Melania Geymonat, 28, and her girlfriend, Chris, 29, defiantly announced they would not be intimidated into hiding their sexuality, days after they said they were attacked by several young men when they refused to kiss upon demand.

“I was and still am angry. It was scary, but this is not a novel situation,” said Chris. “I’m not scared about being visibly queer. If anything, you should do it more.

“A lot of people’s rights and basic safety are at risk. I want people to feel emboldened to stand up to the same people who feel emboldened by the rightwing populism that is, I feel, responsible for the escalation in hate crimes,” she told the BBC in a televised interview. “I want people to take away from this that they should stand up for themselves and each other.”

Geymonat added: “The violence is not only because we are women which are dating each other. It’s also because we are women.”

A Metropolitan police statement said: “Four males aged between 15 to 18 have been arrested on Friday 7 June on suspicion of robbery and aggravated GBH. They have been taken to separate London police stations for questioning.”

The attack – in which a phone and a bag were stolen – happened in the early hours of 30 May. A photograph of the couple’s bloodied faces went viral on Friday.

In a Facebook post, Geymonat, a flight attendant originally from Uruguay, said in both English and Spanish that they were subjected to homophobic abuse while being beaten up: “They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions … The next thing I know is that Chris is in the middle of the bus fighting with them.

“The next thing I know is I’m being punched. I got dizzy at the sight of my blood and fell back. I don’t remember whether or not I lost consciousness.”

Politicians roundly condemned the attack.

Theresa May said: “This was a sickening attack and my thoughts are with the couple affected. Nobody should ever have to hide who they are or who they love and we must work together to eradicate unacceptable violence towards the LGBT community.”

The Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said: “We must not, and will not, accept this homophobic and misogynist violence in our society. Solidarity to Melania and Chris, and to all in the LGBT+ community for everything they endure for simply being who they are.”

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, urged witnesses to the “disgusting, misogynistic attack” to come forward. “Hate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London,” he said.

The women and equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, said she was “appalled to see this kind of homophobic violence in the UK, there’s no place for this kind of vile behaviour in our society”.

Popular conception of Mind is still burdened, to a certain extent, with the cloak of Cartesian Dualism.  The notion that our brains are primarily computational/abstraction machines being transported around in a useful bags of flesh is strong heuristic model that, while providing clarity in many areas, often obfuscates our relationship with the environment, and how the environment shapes us.  Sally Davies writes eloquently about our conception of mind and how feminists can break the limitations that the current model imposes on society.

“While philosophers are inordinately fond of comparing humans to entities that are different to ‘us’ – zombies, bats, AIs, octopuses, aliens – they’ve been rather slower to show an interest in the complex lives of certain creatures who already live alongside ‘us’ day to day, who can walk and talk and describe their subjectivity, but who until recently have been shut out of the category of full and proper personhood. Feminist theory, concerned with the operation of patriarchy and the liberation of women, is a powerful tool for revealing the pernicious effects of setting women to the side – including how such exclusion might permit unexamined assumptions and questionable theories to persist.

In her classic text The Second Sex (1949), the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir performed just such a move against the bedrock of Enlightenment philosophy, the knowing human subject. ‘Man is not a natural species: he is a historical idea,’ she said, paraphrasing her fellow philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The very idea of the Human is not some universal given, de Beauvoir claimed, but a byproduct of how societies have systematically degraded women:

The devaluation of woman represents a necessary stage in the history of humanity; for she derived her prestige not from her positive value but from man’s weakness; she incarnated disturbing natural mysteries: man escapes her grasp when he frees himself from nature.Woman, in other words, is humanity’s foil. She is the ‘Other’, bearing the brand of the not-quite-Human, which lets man point at her and whisper: We know what we are, because, thank god, we are not that.

Thus when de Beauvoir makes the oft-quoted point that ‘one is not born, but rather becomes, woman’, she is not just saying that women’s minds and selves are socially constructed. More trenchantly, she is arguing that women become women precisely so that men can become Human. While the Human has access to Cartesian qualities of reason, truth and clarity, the Other is linked to irrationality, emotion and vagueness; where the Human has civilisation and culture, the Other is aligned with nature and matter; and where the Human has a honed and powerful mind, the Other is at the mercy of the body. De Beauvoir writes:

Man vainly forgets that his anatomy also includes hormones and testicles. He grasps his body as a direct and normal link with the world that he believes he apprehends in all objectivity, whereas he considers the woman’s body an obstacle, a prison, burdened by everything that particularises it.The American philosopher Martha Nussbaum extends a version of de Beauvoir’s analysis in her bookPolitical Emotions (2013). Drawing on child and developmental psychology, Nussbaum says that the human condition is framed by an awareness of vulnerability on the one hand, and the desire to change and control our reality on the other. This inescapable bind creates a universal impulse towards narcissism and disgust, she says. We feel disgust at our own mortal and fleshly nature, and at any reminders of our finitude and fragility as creatures. So we subordinate others in order to project onto them all the qualities that we wish to deny in ourselves – that they are base, animal, Other – while we imagine ourselves as transcending to the realm of the mighty, truly Human.”

This is classic analysis of De Beauvoir and a great summary of how women are viewed in society. A different model of Mind, known as embodied cognition, suggests a different framework to view our interactions and behaviour in society.

“Computational thinking remains dominant within cognitive science and philosophy of mind. But new frontiers are opening up that view the body as something more than just a brain-carrying robot. In doing so, they have created the potential for alliances with feminist thinkers influenced by the likes of Fausto-Sterling. Within a broad church that can be called – not uncontentiously – embodied cognition, a growing number of psychologists, scientists and theorists are approaching mental life as something that is not just contingent on, but constituted by, the state of our bodies. In the place of a Cartesian computer, the mind becomes more like a clay pot thrown on a wheel, to use the philosopher Michael Kirchhoff’s metaphor. The wet clay spins on a rotating disk, shaping and reshaping itself under the potter’s hands, arms and muscles, which in turn respond to how the material is moving. The mind is moulded by forces operating both within it and upon it, but also linked up to the world and the body as a single, dynamic yet mostly stable system.

It takes only a small leap to see the political potential of embodied cognition for feminists seeking a path out of the quagmire of sex and gender – or indeed any other critical social theorists keen to overthrow falsely naturalised and unjust hierarchies. Embodied cognition allows us to recognise the agency of biology without ceding the significance of power or politics. In her essay ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ (1980), the American philosopher Iris Marion Young cites empirical research suggesting that women playing sport are more likely than men to perceive a ball to be coming at them, aggressively, rather than towards them; they also tend not to trust their bodies, and to experience their limbs as awkward encumbrances rather than tools to help them realise their aims. Drawing on the work of de Beauvoir, Young suggests that female bodily experience is often rooted ‘in the fact that feminine existence experiences the body as a mere thing – a fragile thing, which must be picked up and coaxed into movement, a thing that exists as looked at and acted upon.’ But Young denies that this state of affairs is in any way natural, or that it flows from something intrinsic to female biology; instead, she says, such feelings are byproducts of how women learn to live in their bodies. One therefore doesn’t need some essential definition of ‘female’ to accept that embodiment matters, and to see how it shapes and can be shaped by culture.”

Fascinating.  The pivot away from the computational model allows a more textured analysis of how deeply rooted patriarchal norms in society are.  More hopefully we can see that the roots of female oppression are not a clear cut case of strictly biological factors, but rather of social construction, and social constructs are not immutable products of nature and thus, can be changed.

These just excepts from a very meaty and interesting essay, I recommend going to Aeon Magazine and reading the whole article as it well worth your time.

 

via Quotes from Pornography, by Andrea Dworkin 

 

“The valuation of women’s sexuality in pornography is objective and real because women are so regarded and so valued. The force depicted in pornography is objective and real because force is so used against women. The debasing of women depicted in pornography and intrinsic to it is
objective and real in that women are so debased. The uses of
women depicted in pornography are objective and real because women are so used. The women used in pornography are used in pornography. The definition of women articulated systematically and consistently in pornography is objective and real in that real women exist within and must live with constant reference to the boundaries of this definition. The fact that pornography is widely believed to be “sexual representations” or “depictions of sex” emphasizes only that the valuation of women as low whores is
widespread and that the sexuality of women is perceived as low and whorish in and of itself. The fact that pornography is widely believed to be “depictions of the erotic” means only that the debasing of women is held to be the real pleasure of sex.”

“On the Left, the sexually liberated woman is the woman of
pornography. Free male sexuality wants, has a right to, produces, and consumes pornography because pornography is pleasure. Leftist sensibility promotes and protects pornography because pornography is freedom. The pornography glut is bread and roses for the masses. Freedom is the mass-marketing of woman as whore. Free sexuality for the woman is in being massively consumed, denied an individual nature, denied any sexual sensibility other than that which serves the male. Capitalism is not wicked or cruel when the commodity is the whore; profit is not wicked or cruel when the alienated worker is a female piece of meat; corporate bloodsucking is not wicked or cruel when the corporations in question, organized crime syndicates, sell cunt; racism is not wicked or cruel when the black cunt or yellow cunt or red cunt or Hispanic cunt or Jewish cunt has her legs splayed for any man’s pleasure; poverty is not wicked or cruel when it is the poverty of dispossessed women who have only themselves to sell; violence by the powerful against the powerless is not wicked or cruel when it is called sex; slavery is not wicked or cruel when it is sexual slavery; torture is not wicked or cruel when the tormented are women, whores, cunts. The new pornography is left-wing; and the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too.”

Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women

A brief foreword: this essay is the first in a series, written about events in Scotland which explore and champion women’s rights. Each of these events is taking place within the space of a fortnight, and it feels like a turning point in mainstream conversations about sex and gender – worth a spot of feminist […]

via Sisterhood and Shortbread: Meghan Murphy at the Scottish Parliament — Sister Outrider

Canada is doing marginally better than the US in terms of abortion law.  The problem is gap between legality and accessibility.  Following the letter but not the spirit of the law gives Canadian women the short end of the stick, as usual.  It’s a legal medical procedure, and a government that respected women as autonomous human beings would ensure that women access to the medical procedures they required with as few encumbrances as possible.  The fuckery still goes on here in Canada though.

“Abortion has been legal in Canada since 1988 when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down laws against it. But for women living outside of big urban centres like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, accessing the procedure “becomes really tricky,” Chabot said.

Some of those barriers include funding. Under the Canada Health Act, abortion services are insured in all provinces and territories. But some provinces have placed limits on funding for the procedure.”

I swear, mandatory male vasectomies ought to be the way to go with the amount of bullshit that surrounds this issue.

Ontario does not fund abortions at every clinic, while New Brunswick does not fund abortions at clinics at all, only hospitals. Health Canada, in its 2016-2017 annual report, said New Brunswick’s lack of coverage “remains a concern.

And in the case of New Brunswick, the “federal government has failed to penalize the province by withholding transfer payments.”

Distance to abortion services can also be a barrier. In many remote communities, specifically northern communities, there are no abortion clinics in town and no hospitals that perform the procedure.

So, small check mark, but we need to continue to push to make sure that all Canadian women have access to the reproductive health care they need, not just the ones in the major cities.

 

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