Monthly Archives: May 2009

blog title

The logic behind the blog’s title is the continuing confusion about what constitutes a ‘feminist’. For example, if someone says they are a feminist, does that necessarily mean they are?

Sometimes I get the feeling that there are people out there who think all women are feminists. For example, a couple of years ago someone said to me, “Paris Hilton’s a feminist isn’t she?” I personally don’t think she is and I would hazard a guess that Paris wouldn’t identify herself as a feminist either. But the person who made this comment believed that because Paris Hilton was ‘successful’ and therefore somehow ’empowering’ women, she was a feminist.

Being a woman does not make you a feminist, and there are feminist-hating women in public eye to prove this (eg, Miranda Devine).

Similarly, the argument for more women in politics is fraught with problems because of this issue. Arguably not all women politicians act for other women. Sarah Palin was probably not every feminist’s dream because of her conservative stance on birth control and other things. But could it be argued that there is symbolic value in her presence in a heavily male-dominated sphere (politics)? Is Julia Gillard a feminist? I doubt she would identify as one, and I haven’t heard her talk about women-centred issues. But perhaps she has a ‘role model’ effect on Australian girls and women. It’s surely important to have women in public positions of power so that girls and women can identify with them and know that they too have the right to be there.

Rape, murder and general violence in ‘peaceful’ military occupations

I just read an article about rape and violence by the military in Japan during the occupation after WWII. http://japanfocus.org/-Terese-Svoboda/3148  It’s very very disturbing. And it’s also very important to consider given that the US is occupying Afghanistan and Iraq at the moment.

“Official figures about rape and executions for rape should be made available to scholars. The U.S. is embroiled in two wars in which issues of justice are hotly contested. American citizens need to know the real costs of that earlier “peaceful” occupation that is so often presented as a model for the future of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

These occupations are supposed to be peaceful and beneficial for the occupied country, but stories that make it out of the areas would lead me to believe otherwise. One terribly hypocritical element of military occupations is that the US constantly go on about how ‘the women’ in places like Iraq and Afghanistan (and Japan in the 1940s – 50s) are oppressed, and that is one of the motivating factors of the occupation, and yet, women in the occupied countries are being raped by US military forces. I mean, for god’s sake….like the US is the torchbearer for respecting women.

Not only do innocent civilians get killed and/or raped, apparently it happens within the military itself as well. ‘Foreign Correspondent’ the other night reported on sexaul assault and rape by men in the US military. Apparently 1 in 3 women who serve in the military experience some sort of sexual assault. This is not unique to the US, and I know that it happens in the Japanese self-defense forces as well, and probably elsewhere in the world. When victims speak out they are silenced by their superiors because it will ‘reflect badly’ on the regiment they belong to. Basically sexual assault victims in the military have nowhere to go.  

Why do military men continually rape women – women in their own organisation and women in the countries they are occupying – even when they are supposed to be engaging in a ‘peaceful’ operations? I don’t know the answer, but surely it has something to do with the violent mindset that goes hand-in-hand with any military operation, regardless of how ‘peaceful’ it is meant to be.

 

more idiotic advice to fuel your relationship insecurities

I stumbled across some absurd nuggets of wisdom about relationships on the Channel 9 Today website: 

      According to relationships expert, Dr Dina McMillan, the way a couple sleeps together can unconsciously show the way they feel   about  one another and the state of their relationship.

Sleep positions are a good telltale sign of the way someone feels about their partner – it certainly can’t be faked! Although there are no strict rules, there are some general perceptions of the following sleeping positions, based on the body language shown:

“The spoon “

  • One person sleeps on their side and the other lays closely behind with an arm around the first.  
  • This is the most common sleeping position among couples during the earlier years of marriage.  
  • Meaning – Closeness indicates security and the position is considered to be more erotic due to this closeness.  
  • Benefits – Believed to increase intimacy and reduce stress.

“Loosely tight

  • Bodies are positioned in the same way as the spoon but there is a small gap between the bodies.
  • Despite the gap, couples usually touch hands or knees or other ways to compensate.
  • Commonly seen in couples who have been together for about 5 years.  
  • Meaning- Security and intimacy.  
  • Benefits – Believed to increase intimacy and reduce stress.

“The honeymoon hug”

  • Couples face each other and are in a full body hug. Every part of the front of their bodies is in contact with the others.
  • Common among newlyweds.
  • Meaning – Complete commitment to one another. The person who initiates the position shows they are dependent on the other.

“The royal hug”

  • One partner (usually the man) lies face up and the other partner lies with their head and shoulders resting on their partners arm.  
  • Meaning – This position shows the man as superior and the woman as submissive and dependent on her lover. The positions shows an honest and truthful commitment between the pair.

“Zen style”

  • Partners lie back to back with buttocks touching.
  • Common among couples that have been together for a long period of time.
  • Meaning- Lying back to back shows a need for independence. As they are still touching they show they are still bonded.

“The leg hug”

  • Partners sleep in their preferred positions but one has a leg hooked around one of the other’s legs.
  • Usually when couples are recoiling after a fight.
  • Meaning- An obvious withholding of emotion by both parties but the link shows they still have a connection.

”The cliff hanger”

  • One partner sleeps on one edge of the bed and the other takes the other edge.
  • There is no contact between the two and they face in opposite directions.
  • Meaning – This position shows tension or disconnectedness in the relationship. However it may also just be a way of each giving the space to get a good night’s sleep.

But what if we have a preferred individual sleeping style that’s dissimilar to our partner’s?

“If our style doesn’t match our partner’s they may feel we don’t care about them, or believe that emotionally we aren’t a good fit,” Dina says.

“If you have a certain way you have to position yourself to get enough sleep, it’s important to communicate that with your partner. If they suggest you hold some issues that are tied into this, don’t just dismiss it. Give it some thought.”

HOW does this kind of bullshit pass for ‘expert’ knowledge? Of course I immediately thought, ‘how do my partner and I sleep?’ and discovered that we are without a doubt ‘cliffhangers’. Of course, this triggered waves of doubt about my relationship with my partner until I woke up and reminded myself that these people are idiots and people generally fall asleep in whatever is the most comforable position. I mean, if I had it my way, I would sleep in a single bed and my partner in another – I’ve even thought about separate bedrooms. And this says nothing about the frailty of our relationship….I just value undisturbed sleep! The idea of sleeping with another person just doesn’t make sense to me.

Interestingly I have had this ‘separate bedroom’ discussion with a few girlfriends who agree with me but know that their male partners would not agree to it. A lesbian friend, on the other hand, sleeps in a separate room to her partner and their relationship is rock solid and has been for about 10 years. I think this says a lot about how heterosexual relationships are meant to be based on sex and interdependence.

My partner too, recoils at the idea of sleeping separately. So together we sleep. Unless he snores it’s not bad – I generally sleep well anyway. We bought a queen size bed last yeat and put the double in the spare room – now we have even more room to separate us as we hang on our respective cliffs!

Oh, and the heteronormativity and patriarchal tone of the article makes me want to vomit.

This position shows the man as superior and the woman as submissive and dependent on her lover. The positions shows an honest and truthful commitment between the pair.”

Um…doesn’t a superior man and a submissive woman represent a gross imbalance of power more than it represents ‘truthful committment’??? 

Terminology: ‘Group sex’

I thought I’d start a blog because I’ve been reading a few lately and think they’re a great idea for communicating ideas, especially when you get a  ‘am I the only one who feels like this?’ moment.

All the recent talk about Mattthew Johns inspired me to start looking for like-minded people on the web and to my relief, I found many:  (haven’t worked out how to link to other sites yet) Mainstream rants about the issue that support him and regard the 19-yr old in Christchurch as a dirty slut who got what she deserved make me want to cry. It seems that the dust has settled on the issue now  – it’s not really in the media much anymore. Some specific questions arose from the whole episode – the actual incident as well as how it was dealt with by the media –  that I’m pondering:

* The significance of the term ‘group sex’. ‘Group sex’ does not connote any power differentials within the group. It almost sounds like ‘orgy’ – as though everyone was having a bit of fun. I think the media’s persistent use of this term reflects the broader (and disturbing) belief that the woman involved was just as eager as the others. I also think that sometimes this term ‘group sex’ actually only refers to the group of footballers, and totally omits the woman/women.  The term ‘group sex session’ does the same thing – it is an activity that the boys do as a group to, not with a woman. If everyone was having a bit of fun and the woman invovled was treated like an equal member of the ‘group’ then the term ‘group sex’ would not irk me. But her testimony on 4corners clearly revealed that she was not an equal member of the ‘group’, but an object for the group to use. I am trying to think of a word to replace ‘group sex’. Maybe sometimes rugby players do participate in group sex – that is, maybe sometimes they engage in a sexual game with one or more women who they talk and laugh with and everyone goes home happy – but the particluar incident in Christchurch didn’t sound like that. A better term for this particular incident where a 19yr old was deceived into having sex with more than the 2 guys she had initially consented to have sex with would be ‘pack rape’