February 1, 2011

The Power of Words

by subterfusex

We, the editors, take the activity surrounding the post “He’s Asking For It” very seriously.  We’ve taken several days to sort through our own feelings and prejudices in order to craft our responses.

Below are statements from our founding editors, D and F.

We request that comments on this post remain respectful and relevant.

F:

Dear Readers,

We’re sorry. I’m sorry.

I have so much to say, and I might mess up. I hope you can forgive me for any mistakes I’ve made, though I know that forgiveness must be hard right now.

We’ve seen that for the past two days, we’ve received a lot of comments on V’s post: “He Asked For It”.

(The answer is always, “no, he didn’t.” No victim asks for it to happen to them, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see us imply otherwise.)

Subterfuge was always a place where we could go to write about issues that felt controversial and uncomfortable for us. Our sandbox, our way to express our feelings, hopes, and ugliness.

We have found that many feminist communities start from a position of moral superiority and anger. Often, they do not examine their own nasty, ugly prejudices.

In her post V examined hers. We hated it. It was ugly. We discussed our decision for nearly a week. But we posted it because we thought it would help us examine the evilness of some deep-seated positions. Not posting it would not have made her feel it any less.

When it went live, we discussed it. I wish we had posted those discussions. You could see the side of the story we did not write.

The only way to fight our awful ignorance is to examine it, to personalize it, to understand exactly how wrong we have been.

As an editor, I should have framed the piece around a discussion. I would have addressed these prejudices in a way that made it clear that we did not endorse her position but that we acknowledged the need to have a discussion about it. As you have pointed out, this is not a lonely opinion. And we acknowledge that it is something that the feminist community does not understand.

According to Feminist Critics,

What is problematic with feminist discourse about male rape is not that they don’t discuss it at all – clearly they do – or that they don’t discuss it enough. The problem is that they [anomalise] it, that is to say, they treat it as some kind of anomalous variant of rape which, according to them, is something which normally happens to women. The latter is simply “rape”. Rape that happens to men in prison is “prison rape”. Rape that happens to men outside of prison is “male rape”. The word “female” is sometimes used as an adjective with “rape” to contrast it with male rape, but “female rape” is not used by feminists as a category designation in and of itself. It’s just “rape”. “Male rape” and “prison rape” sometimes get their own threads, effectively discoursive ghettos. But they are often excluded from threads about “rape”.

This lack of understanding doesn’t simply exist in the feminist community. It exists among traditionalist bloggers, too. The Thinking Housewife — supposedly pro-male and pro-patriarchy — expresses her view on male rape in this quote:

SPEAKING of rape, how is it possible for a woman to rape a man? As far as I know, it is physically impossible. Nevertheless, Lisa M. Lavoie, a Massachusetts teacher, has been convicted of statutory rape and will serve a three- to five-year prison term.

This is an excerpt of a comment from Ilion T:

[…] “rape” isn’t really about physical force or violence, it’s about taking that to which one is not entitled.

You ask in amazement how it is possible for a woman to rape a man. Obviously, mere overpowering force isn’t how it is accomplished; physical force is the male forte. Rather, if it is to be done, it must be by some means of which women tend to hold the advantage over men. I don’t know, psychological force or intimidation, perhaps?

Do you really imagine that the academic/Hollywood/Roissy protrayal of male sexuality is really accurate? Do you really imagine that all men are really always joyfully ready to “jump” anything which moves? Do you really imagine that a man cannot engage in sexual activity and all the while his psyche is crying out its violation?

This post — and its thoughtful and heartfelt response — shows that ignorance and the stupidity that governs our attitudes toward male rape is non-ideological. Feminists and traditionalists alike marginalize the issue. We, too, have perpetuated this insensitivity.

For that, are truly, deeply sorry.

We thank those who have commented. You have opened our eyes in an unimaginable way.

Readers, we invite you to submit guest posts. To write us emails at subterfugemagazine@gmail [dot] com. We will post what you have to tell us, if you will submit it. We want to understand you.  Please help us. We welcome anything in the way of feedback. It is a lot to ask that you show compassion, but you have already done so by your responses.

Yours,
F

D:

We do not support laws or organizations that advocate only for women who are rape victims, and only punish men who rape women. This is a fairy tale version of the world. Women are not the only victims, men are not the only perpetrators. Rape is a universal issue. Its frequency and permutations vary somewhat across time and culture, but the act of rape is no less devastating and it should be treated with the compassion and severity it deserves–no matter who is involved.

Our ideal future is one in which gender is not the issue in rape cases, in which guilt is not assumed, in which victims are not questioned and put on trial instead of their attackers, or shamed and mocked by their communities. These are injustices.

Women have fought long and hard to get the rape laws that protect them. They are still imperfect and imperfectly executed. This is why women still grouse and rage about rape laws.

But this in no way diminishes the state of male rape victims, who have even less protection, even less credibility in the eyes of society, and even fewer safe places to turn. This is the next great hurdle in rape legislation and how our culture views rape. The shift is long overdue.

We are in this together. We, all of us, regardless of gender, need to look after and protect each other. We need to educate our children about the dangers they face from others, and to fight the ugliness that can grow within them, and teach them ways to dispel that ugliness without inflicting it on someone else. We need to create safe spaces and encourage others to join us there when they have been hurt, so that they can heal. We need to legislate effectively and fairly.

This should not be treated simply as a male or female issue. It is a humanitarian issue.

January 31, 2011

My (Not So) Secret Crush on Hugh Jackman’s Chest/ Jan 2011

by feyruhan
Hugh Jackman

Image by Barbara.Doduk via Flickr

I like a man who isn’t afraid of his chest hair.

Okay, so this is not the most forward (make that forward-thinking) thing I will ever say, but it’s true.  I like a man with a sprinkling of short, dark, curly, man-smelly hair on his chest.  My gal-pals and I have exchanged thoughts on this briefly, and they strongly prefer the hairless chest.  In fact, my friend C has mocked me for getting silly at the sight of chest hair peaking from an actor’s shirt (because, you know, God forbid I should acknowledge my weakness in public).

Hugh Jackman is an excellent example.  But then, he is an excellent example, period, no matter what, if anything, is the topic of discussion.

Visually, he can pull off rough and rugged (any and all of the X Men flicks, but especially X Men Origins: Wolverine, where he wears flannel–“Lesbian lingerie”, as (The Delicious) Brian Kinney of QAF puts it (oh, don’t start complaining about the merits, or lack-there-of, of those films; that’s for another, less hormone-crazed, man-hungry post, don’tcha think?)) , refined and flustered (Kate and Leopold, as the delicious Duke of Albany), and daily casual.  If you’re unsure as to which is my favorite, scroll up and re-read the first sentence.

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January 30, 2011

Women Protesters of Egypt

by d

Egypt is being rocked from the bottom up.

Al Jazeera (which has had its Cairo office shut down by the Egyptian government) reports:

9:27 am [Egypt local time]: Making the rounds on the social networking site Facebook is an album compiled by user Leil-Zahra Mortada, who is collecting photos of women in the Egypt protests.

Mortada, the album‘s compiler says:

For everyone who has been asking where the women of Egypt are! I´m trying to compile all the photos with Egyptian women in them.

A homage to all those women out there fighting, and whose voices and faces are hidden from the public eye!

You’ll need a Facebook login to see the full album. If you don’t have one, here are some highlights.

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January 28, 2011

Femme Funnies: Blasted feminists!

by d

Why aren’t you reading Hark! A Vagrant? You should be!

January 26, 2011

This is how we are

by subterfusex

It’s been six days. This is kind of disgraceful.

Excuse post and funnies. When is this drought going to end?

(This is an open-ended & desperate question.)

January 21, 2011

Femme Funnies: Your bosoms or your boss?

by d

fuck this shit.

January 20, 2011

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly

by f

Since I mentioned I couldn’t write book reviews, I’ve been doing nothing but writing book reviews. I’m going to crosspost this with another blog. I won’t make that a common thing. Obviously I don’t want my identity catching up with me, but this was too much to resist. Besides, it took me forever to write; I might as well get my bang for my buck.

*

As soon as I saw Revolution, I knew I had to buy it. There’s something haunting about both young women featured on the cover. (Whomever the cover artist was, they did a bang-up job.) Jennifer Donnelly previous YA novel, Northern Lights,  was based on the same real-life events that inspired Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.  Donnelly’s prose prose is very emotional and rich. I had high expectations for Revolution as a result, and the first few pages — hastily glimpsed at the Union Square Barnes and Nobles — didn’t disappoint.

Revolution’s protagonist is a damaged young woman, Andi.  Threatened with expulsion after an uninspired performance at her fancy-pants Brooklyn private school, her absentee father comes home from Paris to take her back there with him. He plans to supervise Andi as she writes her senior thesis, the one thing that stands between her and total scholastic ruin. She plans to write about the (fictional) French guitarist Mahlerbeau, with an emphasis on his connection to contemporary music.

Andi stays her father’s friend, G, in his Parisian loft. G, a historian, asks Andi’s father to investigate an urn he believes might contain the heart of King Louis XVI’s son, Louis Charles.

As Andi explores G’s loft, she finds two treasures: a priceless guitar, and a locked box containing a two-hundred-year-old diary.  The diary belongs to seventeen-year-old Alexandrine Paradis, an actress suddenly thrust into the politics of the revolution and royalty. From the moment Andi starts reading the diary, she feels a deep bond for its author.  The consequences of her find runs deep, and compose most of what is so wonderful about this novel.

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January 19, 2011

Slow Day

by f

Please excuse the slowness. Subterfuge will be back to its usual programming tomorrow.

In the meantime:

What we're working on at Subterfuge Labs

January 17, 2011

Femme Funnies: Wonder Woman has Issues

by d

Quite a while back, I wrote about The State of Wonder Woman as an entity, spurred by yet another costume makeover. One of the sources I quoted said Wonder Woman should just come out as a lesbian already.

I give you video I cannot embed:

[adult swim]’s Robot Chicken got there first. I believe that’s Lucy Lawless doing her voice–oh, the compounding implications!

January 15, 2011

Politics Gone Berserk

by V
Guarding approach to mills, Lawrence, Mass. (LOC)

via Flickr

This is probably not all that appropriate, since its mostly just a rant. But, I don’t care. I feel that I need to say something. And, I feel that this is a way to reach many people.

Yes, this is a rant about the recent shootings in Tuscon, AZ, and the violent rhetoric and imagery that foreshadowed it.

Its normal in any country for the politicians and other leadership to be unable to satisfy all of the people all of the time. That’s something that can’t be got away from. And that means there will always be civil and/or political unrest of some sort. That’s normal. That’s healthy for a nation.

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