Our government’s MO becomes more obvious all the time: transfer ever-more wealth from the poor to the wealthy, dismantle the welfare state, look after the interests of wealthy campaign donors, including bankers and far-right Christian groups, and pander to every ugly stereotype in existence in order to get the 99% to blame austerity measures on each-other rather than on the elites who are truly responsible.
This is why we have punitive changes to the benefit system coupled with endless rhetoric about “scroungers” and “benefit cheats”. The cuts to benefits will save an insignificant amount of money (and will cost more than they save in the long term), but saving money isn’t the point: the point is to set the 99% against each-other; people who see their lives becoming more difficult as a result of cuts to the NHS, benefits, and education, are encouraged to blame not the government and bankers who caused this mess, but the supposed “scroungers”. This is why the government encourages us to report our neighbours to the police as “benefit cheats, and disabled people say that hate crime against them has increased as a result. This is why government rhetoric about “broken Britain” and the importance of (heterosexual) marriage not-very-subtly blames single mothers for society’s ills, and why David Cameron privileges Christianity above other religions in a bid to promote racism and Islamophobia.
Feminist Action Cambridge also has a facebook group here, which people use to post feminist links and have discussions. Not everybody uses Facebook, so here’s a roundup of the latest links, along with some (anonymised) comments on them for context.
The very last item is a roundup of responses to Cambridge police’s Christmas victim-blaming. As it includes some responses in quotes, it’s behind a “Read More” link – just click through to read them. Opportunities for activism here if you’d like to add your responses to the existing ones on Twitter!
- I Am So Not Sorry About My Vagina, And Other Apologies We Should Retract
- Is this really what a model–or any woman–should look like?
I think it’s sad when articles like this dehumanise the women who are skinny and have that frame naturally. They aren’t emaciated skeletons or unreal, they are our sisters.
I think the thing that frightens me isn’t the person, or the body shape, but the social forces which cause that person to be chosen over other people, and the pressure others will feel because of the choice that was made. I don’t think Brashich’s body is what’s at fault here. But that horrible language keeps slipping in to these conversations. Her body isn’t our property to comment on.
I think it makes sense to criticise the image and not the model. The model herself probably doesn’t look like that 99% of the time, and she probably had no control over how she was photographed. But I do strongly object to that image, and the hundreds of similar images we see every day. The image treats women’s bodies as commodities, while enforcing a strict beauty standard for women: white, very young, very thin, and very passive. How sick is that?
The narrow margins of fashion and what is seen as desirable is ‘sick’ as you put it but that woman exists and she probably receives a lot of hatred daily for the way she looks. Her body type is a valid and beautiful one, we just can’t let it be the only kind we see in the media. Not really disagreeing but yeah, dismantle the institutions, not the people caught in them.
Yeah, I think we’re both saying that no-one deserves to receive hatred for the way they look.
Gross beyond belief – I can’t believe someone actually sat down and came up with this ad…
Toward a “Dental Hygiene Model” of social justice conversations (and also, of every other kind of conversation)Posted: 20 December 2011
“When you believe that you must be perfect in order to be good, it makes you averse to recognizing your own inevitable imperfections, and that lets them stagnate and grow.” – Jay Smooth
This is possibly the laziest blog post ever, because it mostly brings together some ideas from other blog posts and video presentations. I’m going to start by riffing off Brene Brown’s TED presentation: The Power of Vulnerability.
Brown, a sociology researcher, says that what gives meaning to our lives is a sense of connection to others. What prevents us from forming connections is shame; shame is fundamentally the feeling of being unworthy of connection. She found that people who do feel connected are willing to be vulnerable, to take risks, and to accept their own imperfections. They accept that they are imperfect and nevertheless feel compassion for themselves – and it turns out that those who don’t feel compassion for themselves, also have difficulty feeling compassion for others. Perfectionism, the need to feel that you never do anything wrong, gets in the way of vulnerability and compassion. I’m not summarizing it very well but it’s a really entertaining presentation, go watch it!
Feminist Action Cambridge also has a facebook group here, which people use to post feminist links and have discussions. Not everybody uses Facebook, so here’s a roundup of the latest links!
- Taking Back Feminism — A Manifesto
- Patriarchy Makes Us Mad! (Why one in four women is on psych meds)
- Ryanair: stop selling your staff
- Nadine Dorries’ ‘abstinence for girls’ Bill – what you can do
- UK Feminista is currently recruiting for two positions
- How can the Conservatives win back women’s support?
- The Most Ridiculous Response To Reporting A Crime Ever
- The racism of tram woman is only the tip of the iceberg
- Occupy Wall Street’s women struggle to make their voices heard
- Moral panic? No. We are resisting the pornification of women
- English riots: sentence severity for young offenders worries prosecutors
- Quotations: Feminism
- Move over, Elle: Karlie Kloss is hailed the new ‘Body’ as she poses nude for Vogue
- Why is British public life dominated by men?
- H&M Puts Real Model Heads On Fake Bodies
- My body, my rules: a case for rape and domestic violence survivors becoming workplace organizers
- Are sex offenders and lads’ mags using the same language?
- Feminism and Advertising: Killing Us Softly 4
Trigger warning: domestic violence
Samantha and Genevieve Day died yesterday.
Genevieve was 7 years old. Her mother Samantha was 38, and was a nursery worker at Swallowdale Primary School. They lived in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. Samantha’s other two children, 15-year-old Kim and 13-year-old Adam, are in hospital with stab wounds. They are also now orphans, because after their father Toby had murdered his wife and youngest child he committed suicide.
There is an epidemic of domestic violence in this country and in every single country in the world. Internationally, one billion women have been raped, abused or beaten. In the UK, 2 women are killed every week by a current or former partner. Patriarchy is killing us. It’s killing our sisters, our daughters, our friends. How many more women and children are going to die before society takes this seriously? How many more children are going to be left without their mothers? How many more abusers are going to be let out on bail so that they can kill their former partners?
Samantha Day has been silenced twice. First by her husband. And now, less than 24 hours after her and her daughter’s death, by the patriarchy-controlled media. They are not naming these murders as domestic violence. They are not talking about two victims and one perpetrator. Male journalists instinctively empathise with the male murderer. They feel sorry for him because he’d just lost his job and was “depressed”. They quote his friend on what a “great character” he was. They talk about the bravery awards he won as a police officer. They even get the headline wrong: the story here is not “Former Rutland police officer, his wife and daughter die in tragic incident in Melton”, these 3 people did not die together as a family in some freak hurricane. In all these articles, Samantha and Genevieve barely get a mention – it’s all about him, his personality, his life, his possible motives. In death as in life, they like all women and girls are mere extensions of him, a wife and a daughter who exist only in relation to the man who owns and controls them.
Enough. We’ve had enough of male violence, enough of rape, enough of beating and burning and humiliation and silencing and killing. We know that things can be different, that the world we dream of where there is no violence or inequality or fear can be real and we can make it real. We need to demand changes in the law. We need to promise to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. We need to speak out for all the women who have been silenced, either by shame and stigma or silenced by murder at the hands of their own partners as Samantha Day was yesterday.
For domestic violence support, contact your local Women’s Aid or Refuge.