We Are The Genuine Hegemonic Masculine!: A Note On Anti-Rape Politics

Friend, former Liberty colleague and Bad Reputation scriber Sarah Jackson drew my attention to a new campaign by End Violence Against Women aimed at men. That was their video. Thus far 188 people (hopefully mainly men) ‘agree’ on Facebook (as the campaign asks them to) that ‘Enough Is Enough’. As Sarah notes, this is the latest in a series of campaigns addressing men directly. They seem a direct response to that most common of feminist points about rape, namely that victims/survivors are not to blame and the focus should not be on them for what they wear, what they drink or how they express themselves but on the men who rape.

Obviously, consciousness-raising for men is necessary in all kinds of ways, and will be for at least as long as supposedly intelligent discussions continue to be dominated by pernicious cop-outs and questionable analysis. Any funding and attention to rape prevention is to be encouraged and supported. Let’s take that as read. But these campaigns are intended to be tools for advancing rape awareness and anti-rape politics, which makes it worth asking what kinds of awareness and politics they promote. How is it that they seek to recast ideas of appropriate manliness?

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A Feminist Ideography

Ending is such sweet sorrow. Yesterday the alphabet series over at Bad Reputation came to a close. Its task: “..to address (with reasonable neutrality), the make-up of the English mother-tongue, to consider how the language has evolved over the centuries, and in the process to prompt some questions about how gender issues are woven into the fabric of the language we use everyday.”

And what an unravelling it was. Here are some disordered excerpts. Direct your thanks at Hodge.

Z is for Zone:

The Medieval West was not to be left behind in all this sexy-talk: no right-thinking female of the thirteen-hundreds considered herself fully sexed-up without a gipon, a type of corset designed to flatten the breasts and emphasise the stomach. And in case this proved insufficient, she might also pad her belly out for extra effect – well-rounded bellies appear again and again in contemporary art – and, as with the Cranach Venus, a decorative zone was the perfect way to emphasise its shape, making this a garment no less sexually charged in the 1340s than the 1940s (when, of course, its job was to hold the belly in). Like a garter, then, a girdle could serve as a fetishistic focal point for erotic (and indeed erogenous) zones, marking them out and keeping them restrained at the same time.

H is for Hysteria:

One explanation for [Hysteria’s] seeming explosion during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is its use as a catch-all term for Generic Women’s Troubles (hence calling it, essentially, ‘womb-problem’), and indeed, it does seem to have been partially conflated with chlorosis (a type of anaemia), which is perhaps better known to Renaissance drama fans as ‘green sickness’. Thus, in John Ford’s play ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore (you’d think you couldn’t top that title, wouldn’t you?) Annabella is thought to be suffering from ‘an overflux of youth’, in which case ‘there is no such present remedy as present marriage’. Translation: get a willy in her, quick.

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