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Weinstein and the Economics of Consent

Feminist Theory

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Oct 23, 2017, 1:00pm Top

Since the Weinstein story broke, I have read a lot of incredibly good writing by women exploring all aspects of this story and what it tells us about our culture and how it treats women. They were all incredibly powerful, but this piece by Brit Marling is one of the best: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/10/harvey-weinstein-and-the-economics-of-consent/543618/

Oct 23, 2017, 6:05pm Top

That was fantastic.

Oct 23, 2017, 8:52pm Top

Wow. Thanks for posting that.
The movies she wrote and starred in are really smart.

Oct 24, 2017, 9:08am Top

It is chilling to me how taken for granted it still is that a woman's "currency" is her body, and that we all to some extent acquiesce to that assumption, even when we know better, because defiance would be so much harder, more exhausting, and more dangerous.

I think for me, I was able to leave Weinstein’s hotel room that day because I had entered as an actor but also as a writer/creator. Of those dual personas in me—actor and writer—it was the writer who stood up and walked out. Because the writer knew that even if this very powerful man never gave her a job in any of his films, even if he blacklisted her from other films, she could make her own work on her own terms and thus keep a roof over her head.

The main reason I think there should be universal education and universal health care is because good health and education are in my mind the two things that make it possible for a person to live a self-determined life. Without either, self-determination is all but impossible. You are at the mercy of whomever is writing your paycheck. In fact, one of the reasons I despise the American system of healthcare -- insurance and therefore health care dispensed via your employer -- is that it puts everyone's health under the control of that person writing the paycheck. "Work for me or tough luck if you get sick." It's fundamentally immoral.

And education? Education teaches you to see options, opportunities. It teaches you to adapt to changing circumstances, and how to change your own circumstances. I don't suppose Brit Marling learned screenwriting as a kind of rape prevention, but it taught her to see options. To choose "writer" when the cost of being "actor" was so high.

Oct 31, 2017, 3:03pm Top

More on Weinstein--this one is about the tendency for male assaulters to catalog their actions as mental illness. Here's a whopper of a paragraph:

At the end of the day, we’re now encouraged to ask, aren’t these men the real victims — victims of their own demons? Come off it. We’ve all got demons, and baggage, and all of the other euphemisms we use to talk about the existential omnishambles of modern life. The moment I meet someone who has arrived at something like adulthood psychologically unscathed by the nightmare fun-house of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, I assume they’re hiding something, or on enough tranquilizers to fell a small elephant, or both. We’ve all got broken hearts and complicated childhoods, and survivors have spent too long being quietly directed to seek therapy rather than justice.

The abusers who are now being excused as mentally ill are not monsters, or aberrations. They were acting entirely within the unhealthy value system of a society which esteems the reputation and status of men above the safety of women. Many abusers, on some level, do not know that what they are doing is wrong. They believe that they are basically decent. Most men who prey on women have had that belief confirmed over the course of years or decades of abuse. They believe they’re basically decent, and a whole lot of other people believe they’re basically decent, too. They’re nice guys who just have a problem with women, or booze, or their mothers, or all three.


Nov 1, 2017, 11:17am Top

the unhealthy value system of a society which esteems the reputation and status of men above the safety of women.

Misogyny. The many aspects of, one of.

Nov 1, 2017, 3:06pm Top

>5 sturlington: aren’t these men the real victims — victims of their own demons

Whenever I see this argument I kind of want to puke all over it. It makes me think of the NYT article about the gang rape of an eleven-year-old girl that was more worried about the fate of the rapists and the effect on the community than it was about the girl who was raped:


A particularly egregious example of the "men are the real victims" approach

Nov 7, 2017, 6:50pm Top

I'm really starting to love Laurie Penny.

It turns out that this isn’t about individual monsters. It never was. This is about structural violence, about a culture that decided long ago that women’s agency and dignity were worth sacrificing to protect the reputation of powerful men and the institutions that enabled their entitlement. Everyone, including the “good guys,” knew it was happening. We just didn’t think it was all that wrong. At least, not wrong enough to make a fuss about, because the people groping their callous, violent way through life knew they’d get away with it, and most of the men around them were permitted the luxury of ignorance.

Except that now that seems to be changing. Now, Old Dinosaurs are wondering how to negotiate with an oncoming asteroid. Current or former Stupid Young Men are in a state of panic about their imminent introduction to the concept of “consequences,” leading to the question: what, precisely, is the age when men are expected to take responsibility for their behavior?

The answer, with any luck, is “The Digital One.”


Nov 7, 2017, 9:46pm Top

IIRC, she did that great cover of Milo the Slimo on his American rabble rousing tour.

I'm a bit disheartened by the masses of people going "but we never kneeeeeeew"...

Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 7:29pm Top

This is awesome, by Lindy West: Brave Enough to Be Angry.

Like every other feminist with a public platform, I am perpetually cast as a disapproving scold. But what’s the alternative? To approve? I do not approve.


I have to admit that I am very angry today. Although I am glad about last night's elections.


To put it another way, it took me two decades to become brave enough to be angry. Feminism is the collective manifestation of female anger.

They suppress our anger for a reason. Let’s prove them right.

Nov 10, 2017, 11:24am Top

Jessica Valenti's predictions about a backlash to the surge of conversation about sexual harassment and structural misogyny:

Louis CK, Roy Moore and a glimpse into how #MeToo might end

I have been following more or less attentively these events but didn't feel compelled to talk about them because it feels as if I've been talking about little else for years and now all of a sudden the world decided to furnish a wealth of examples and commentary.

But to Valenti's question about how it will end, what happens next--yes, I too am pessimistic. Only I'm not sure there's a backlash to come, I think the "backlash" is always with us.

Last night I read about Reddit banning a community of "incels" from its site (Reddit Bans ‘Incel’ Group for Inciting Violence Against Women) and you know what struck me the most? That it was forty thousand (40 000) subscribers strong. That's more than the US Marines Facebook group which posted nude photos of female soldiers in their ranks (IIRC, about 34K or so).

Consider that on a busy day on LT there are maybe 200 people on the site.

And that's just one forum on one internet website.

Consider the reluctance and/or inability of platforms like Facebook and Twitter to end abuse. Consider the sheer numbers, and the novelty of the quality of abuse resulting from such unprecedented quantity of viciousness. Consider the networking, actual and latent.

Consider the simple fact that men dominate in these structures and will continue to do so--and that "good" men are no less bad than the active abusers when it comes to calling out injustice, let alone ending it. (If you want examples, you can find plenty on this site as on any other.)

So, yeah. I'm not in the least surprised by the revelations and I don't in the least expect anything to improve.

Nov 10, 2017, 12:21pm Top

'Involuntarily celibacy' because women don't want sex with them? Did they ever try to be the kind of man a woman would want to have sex with?

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 12:42pm Top

Well may one wonder--but from what I saw reported about those groups (which are basically the same as the so-called "men's rights activists" and "men going their own way" and similar), you probably don't want to go looking for their answers to that question...

On a purely technical level, I don't quite understand why prostitution doesn't answer their needs, given that they contend all women are basically whores men have to buy sex from anyway (in the form of "dating" or legal marriage).

That's perhaps the most sinister part of it--it seems nothing short of having someone to victimise on a daily basis will do.

Nov 10, 2017, 12:51pm Top

Prostitutes don't like to be victimized either. They also have a right to be treated decently.

Nov 10, 2017, 12:57pm Top

>14 MarthaJeanne:

To be sure. I'm just wondering about what it takes to assuage their "involuntary celibacy"--given their premises about women. It seems clear, then, that it's NOT about mere lack of sex.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 12:57pm Top

? double post, somehow...

Nov 10, 2017, 1:18pm Top

Sorry if this is going too far off topic--I think it speaks to the larger point that something fundamental and widespread in the culture enables and will continue to enable men like Weinstein (and so many more less famous and powerful than him), so by way of just one example... looking up the "MGTOW" acronym, the entry in the Urban Dictionary came up second:


Look at the ratios of thumbs up and down on these public-sourced definitions. It's very reminiscent of the situation elsewhere (that I've noticed), for instance on YouTube and The Guardian's comments--regularly, misogynistic sentiments vastly prevail, by this indicator.

Granted that there is probably bias in this example, as those asserting themselves as Mig-Tows are probably more invested in looking up and voting on these definitions than their opponents--that is still a great disparity in favour of attitudes we are inclined to dismiss as "fringe".

I don't think this is fringe, but that may not even be the point--what is "fringe" in the flat, interconnected, endlessly looping and self-reinforcing perspective of the internet?

We keep seeing new examples of how little investment on the social media can result in huge qualitative events.

Nov 10, 2017, 1:32pm Top

>17 LolaWalser: what is "fringe" in the flat, interconnected, endlessly looping and self-reinforcing perspective of the internet?

good question.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 1:43pm Top

>18 southernbooklady:

What scares me is how that stuff, whatever it's called--fringe, extremist, just plain lying and deception--gets taken up and normalised--witness what Russians did on Facebook.

They didn't sell their fakery to some "fringe", they sold it to masses that went out and voted.

Sorry, I'm not doing a good job of putting all this together very coherently--but do you see what I mean? Back in ye olde times men like those MRAs, migtows, incels and the rest were isolated or with very short range.

Now they can--just like the Russian anti-Clinton propagandists--produce something that circulates among and is absorbed and further reflected by people far outnumbering them.

ETA: Witness the orchestrated houndings on Twitter of women and PoC and so on. Witness their success.

Nov 10, 2017, 2:43pm Top

>19 LolaWalser: They didn't sell their fakery to some "fringe", they sold it to masses that went out and voted.

the masses deserve to pay the price for their actions. it's not like the truth (or lack thereof) of all these things is hard to suss out. I don't forgive Americans for letting themselves be led like sheep.

I do think there needs to be real world consequences for online activity like trolling, doxxing, harassment, threats, and stalking, though. I think every word we spew onto an internet forum or in a comments field should follow us around like a cloud that everyone else can see.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 2:54pm Top

Consequences are a different issue; I don't even know what they mean. Trump's shit follows him around and yet that did nothing to deter his supporters--on the contrary, it seems positively to attract the worst among them.

I'm worried about the mechanisms that make that shit mainstream and acceptable. Wide distribution and normalisation among the "non-fringe" (belying the very notion of "fringe" and "centre").

Nov 10, 2017, 4:12pm Top

What do you all think of Louis CK's statement concerning the sexual harassment allegations against him?


No, it doesn't excuse but I don't think he's asking for that. Under the circumstances, this is better than what most people say.

Nov 10, 2017, 4:39pm Top

>22 sturlington: I think, under the circumstances, that it's probably the best statement I've seen so far. Mind you, I'm not defending him, but I do think he's making some points that are worthy. I'll bet that the message becomes watered down as others start saying that they, too, regret their actions, and were not as aware as they should have been.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt (not that it remotely justifies it). I believe that most men simply do not grasp that taking advantage of a situation of power is always wrong. Always.

On the other hand, I want Kevin Spacey to pick up a gun and put himself out of our misery, so there's that.

Nov 10, 2017, 4:39pm Top

>22 sturlington:

Yeah, I think it is better, if only because I'm hard put to think of anyone giving any sort of apology that sounds sincere, and as if they really understood the enormity of what they did. Simultaneously, it's unbelievable what sort of stuff I keep hearing, and hearing about, from "nice" people (mostly men, but also women). I don't mean personal confessions of the same necessarily, I mean comments and justifications of that type of behaviour. Beyond depressing and on occasion downright terrifying (example: one asshole maintains that it should be OK and not "assault" for him to grab his friend and kiss her, "if passion carries him away", because otherwise how would the species even reproduce? He's in his sixties by the way. I asked him how old is the woman he's thinking of "spontaneously" grabbing--late twenties. This is someone--the guy--actually capable of holding and performing a fairly skilled job... no one could invoke insanity defence.)

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 4:39pm Top

argh, what is it with double posting, never had this problem before...

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 4:48pm Top

If someone spontaneously grabs me because passion carries him away, I know from experience that my purse or my knee is going to end up hitting him hard where his legs meet. That's just the way I spontaneously react. (And yes, I've been told that this is dangerous, but it is the way my body reacts long before I have taken a rational decision.)

The species will reproduce more effectively when both parents are prepared to take responsibility for a child over the two decades that raising it requires.

Nov 10, 2017, 5:00pm Top

Yes, I wondered later if I shouldn't have said something direct, instead of hinting obliquely in sarcasm--this is someone I've only met a few times at friends', awkward place and moment to risk serious clashes. But that too becomes a part of the "mechanism", doesn't it, that generalised shrugging off as in "well he's too old to get it", "no new tricks for old dogs" etc. A few others made some demurring noises but basically it was laughed off. I can only hope the "friend" is aware of his letching--and ready with her knee or purse... :)

Nov 10, 2017, 5:08pm Top

>26 MarthaJeanne: "The species will reproduce more effectively when both parents are prepared to take responsibility for a child over the two decades that raising it requires."

Truer words...

Nov 10, 2017, 5:17pm Top

>22 sturlington: Probably as good as it gets. I hope he means it about the shutting up and listening thing.

I'm starting to think everyone should have to pass a test to prove they recognize sexual harassment before they can have a driver's license.

Nov 10, 2017, 6:08pm Top

I just want to link this here for the record... everything she says is so... nope, can't bring myself to talk about it. But true. Everything, everything resonates.

Legendary Swimmer Diana Nyad Opens Up About Her Sexual Assault | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

Nov 10, 2017, 8:40pm Top

>31 Taphophile13: Thank you. Reading that makes the point that it's very easy to fall into the trap of wanting to believe that he's remorseful, and that we should forgive him, if not now, sometime down the road. It's just so hard to realize that, no matter how far I want to believe that the world has progressed, it really hasn't.

The Slate article may be one of the best I've read yet.

Nov 11, 2017, 2:26am Top


Poor baby! Don't you feel sorry for him and his 'unbearable stress'?

Nov 11, 2017, 8:34am Top

>31 Taphophile13: Thanks for posting that. It's actually frightening to consider that because Louis CK really is aware of the dynamics of sexual abuse and sexual harassment that he knows how to adroitly manipulate with his statement of remorse. But he did know all along that what he was doing was not healthy, consensual sex. He was not unaware.

I feel so exasperated right now. It's like, how difficult can this be, men?

Nov 11, 2017, 8:38am Top

I saw a bit of interview on BBC between a male journalist and a female politician. He seemed very surprised that she had experienced sexual harrasment and groping. She responded that of course she had. He could ask any woman. We have all experienced it.

Nov 11, 2017, 8:48am Top

>31 Taphophile13:, >32 Lyndatrue:

Yeah, that was a good response. I hadn't read the details of the allegations against Louis CK (to be honest, I didn't even know who he was until is name started showing up), and I tend to assume the worst about film industry culture anyway.

It makes me think that we -- or at least American culture -- have no real concept of what consent is, what it looks like, or what it means.

Instead, the whole debate seems to be framed around how much bad behavior we can get away with before we cross some line into sexual harassment and sexual assault. ( On another thread here, someone said they didn't think it could be sexual harassment if there wasn't any physical contact.)

It's a line that is always drawn by the harassers, not by those who must endure their sexual advances or impulses. People, (mostly men) don't want to be told that they've been crossing the line into creepy sexual assault territory regularly for most of their lives. They object that someone keeps moving the goalposts for what is considered acceptable behavior: What do you mean I can't tell a woman I work with think she is hot? Can't call her "honey" and talk about how sexy she is? She should be flattered! I'm complimenting her!.

They don't seem to grasp that if we really valued consent the question of what is and isn't acceptable behavior solves itself, because it starts from the premise that you are both equally human beings, and neither one of you are simply objects to be used for sex. In fact, I'd say that since Americans -- even the women -- knowingly voted a sexual predator into the White House, they have made a deliberate statement that consent is not important, and that women exist primarily for sex.

Nov 11, 2017, 8:57am Top

No! it is not a compliment to be told that you think I'm a thing for your enjoyment. Either that or you think I have dressed inappropriately for the occasion.

Nov 11, 2017, 9:20am Top

>36 southernbooklady:

it starts from the premise that you are both equally human beings, and neither one of you are simply objects to be used for sex

Ideally right and the attitude we ought to be raised with, but obviously the whole problem with our misogynistic society (and yes I mean the whole world) is that this is NOT the ruling premise, quite the opposite.

Instead we get hammered into us in a billion ways from the moment we pop into the world that the wishes, needs and desires of men are paramount and in themselves go a long way to justify any aggression (on women, even children, without saying; but even on other men, even children)--that "dick is boss" notion is very hard to dislodge from culture, given how much time and effort has been and is being spent on stamping it literally everywhere.

Did you see by any chance the discussion recently in the Science Fiction group regarding some movie with Chris Pratt? The premise involves his untimely awakening on a deep space voyage, with the prospect of spending the rest of his life alone (minus, apparently, some AI help) while the ship and other sleeping passengers continue to the destination. So he decides to wake up a companion--who just so happens to be a babe he's stuck on. First he lies to her that her pod had malfunctioned as his did, then he tells her, then she's angry, then it turns out it was providential that he woke up because something does go wrong on the ship, then she falls in love with him. I leave it to you to imagine all the justifications for his behaviour--even the sheer incomprehension, to begin with, that there is anything objectionable to it. A young man in love! We are supposed to cheer for him.

How many times over a lifetime we were served and swallowed things like this, stories like this? Isn't this THE dominant motif in commercial love stories since, like, forever? Man does something awful because dick; man gets forgiven by the lady of his choice (again because dick; is the main message I, at least, get from that crap).

In short (and as I never stop repeating, apparently) we are trained to glorify hideous men doing hideous things as long as it's presented as something they are doing for "love" or a higher cause.

Nov 11, 2017, 9:26am Top

>37 MarthaJeanne:

Ah, that's a special bugaboo of mine--the idea that "inappropriate" dress exists such that screams "HIT ON ME/MANHANDLE/RAPE ME NOW!"

Nov 11, 2017, 9:47am Top

>38 LolaWalser: Did you see by any chance the discussion recently in the Science Fiction group regarding some movie with Chris Pratt?

boy, the premise of that movie is just waiting for a feminist satire take. Of course, the only thing I know about Pratt is that he was in those Guardians of the Galaxy movies. And the only thing I can say about those is that the best characters were the talking raccoon and shrub.

Isn't this THE dominant motif in commercial love stories since, like, forever? Man does something awful because dick; man gets forgiven by the lady of his choice

It makes me think of James Baldwin's take on the movie The Defiant Ones. (paraphrasing) "The overriding message is that black people will forgive white people anything."

Nov 11, 2017, 10:10am Top

>40 southernbooklady:

And notice how that sort of thing subtly yet inexorably turns into "you (women, black people...) OUGHT to forgive anything"?!?!

That's the lesson, that's what it means, that's why we are shown stories like that.

Nov 11, 2017, 10:32am Top

We were talking about all this in my (all-women) RL book club this morning. One of us said that she basically is at a point in her life that she automatically assumes any white man over 50 whom she doesn't know is an asshole toward women until he proves otherwise. This is the default for her.

Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 10:42am Top

>41 LolaWalser: In fact, you could say that one of the requirements for patriarchy to function is that the oppressors need the forgiveness of those they oppress. Patriarchy is built on the fantasy that women are happy in their subservience. It's not just that men have all the power, but that women want men to have all the power. They want to be subservient. They are, in effect, eternally "asking for it."

Baldwin also alludes to this when he talks about the "great psychological collision" that occurs when you realize that everything you're supposed to value, none of it applies to you. It is all a "metaphor for your own oppression."

Maybe the oppressor always needs the fantasy of the collusion of those they oppress to function, I don't really know. But in the US white people need it from black people, and men definitely need it from women.

Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 10:56am Top

>39 LolaWalser: >36 southernbooklady: set me off: 'What do you mean I can't tell a woman I work with think she is hot? Can't call her "honey" and talk about how sexy she is? She should be flattered! I'm complimenting her!.' I also saw a BBC video asking people whether a man can tell a coworker that she 'looks hot today'. And one of the men asked thought she ought to take it as a compliment.

Since sex at work is inappropriate, either he is acting inappropriately or he is trying to tell me that my dress/behaviour is inviting that, and is therefore inappropriate. Now NOTHING I wear gives a man the right to manhandle me, but some clothes are better not worn to work. Weinstein's bathrobe is not appropriate for meetings about films.

Of course dress is usually just an excuse. Louis CK apparently started masturbating with the women in winter coats. Did he think they must have been 'hot' in all those layers?

Somewhat of a change of topic. In Geneva you would often see rich Arab families walking along the lake in the summer. He was in shorts and t-shirt. She, of course, totally covered in black. If being uncovered was improper for her, wasn't he covered up? Or if long sleeves and covered legs too hot for him, why was she supposed to wear all that?

Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 11:10am Top

>44 MarthaJeanne:

The thing is that NO kind of clothes (or no clothes) justify aggression. If the costume is inappropriate to some situation--be it showing up in the office in a bikini or in gardening gear--a criticism, a protest, an admonitory remark, or maybe gentle transport to the ER are in order.

There are attention-seekers, but liking to show off one's cleavage or some leg doesn't mean anything goes and whatever happens are one's just desserts. As you remarked before, it doesn't mean that even for prostitutes.

ETA: Oh, yes, that eternal "other side of the coin", the notion that covering up women is the way to go--apart from sheer discrimination it imposes on women, it doesn't even work to protect them from sexual harassment and violence. Nothing that pretends the problem is in what women do CAN work.

Nov 11, 2017, 11:18am Top

>42 sturlington:

It's sad, but I think that really is the default, only I'd go further and say it applies to women as well. Not that women generally will have behaved as men generally do, but that for women the misogynistic programming means absorbing the same views men do.

Nov 11, 2017, 12:02pm Top

>46 LolaWalser: That hasn't been my experience. In fact, older women are my main support network. They have no illusions left. We've all been there. But maybe that just speaks to the kind of women I meet and interact with generally. I'm not living in a Republican enclave or evangelical central. Or maybe it's just that I've developed a radar for it and generally avoid the type of woman you're referring to.

Nov 11, 2017, 12:17pm Top

>47 sturlington:

I'm sure there are variations based on where one goes, lives, who we work with etc. but I think that things like the fact that a majority of white women voted for Trump speak volumes on the subject. And that's probably as extreme as internalised misogyny can get--lots of milder manifestations...

Nov 11, 2017, 12:29pm Top

>48 LolaWalser: Well, you are right about that, as the Virginia election results showed, and I do admit that I live in a bubble. But I think the point is that even here, in the bubble, surrounded by 'good' left-leaning guys like Louis CK, every man is basically untrustworthy by default.

Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 7:47pm Top

Briefly: I've known both types of women while I worked, although very few of the negative types (that may be self-selection on my part).

I was amazed to hear a mid-level executive state that she'd got where she was on her merits, and didn't owe the women's movement, or other women, any special support.

I was also privileged to know Joan B., who always took time out of her day to mentor up and coming professionals, and who I still miss (she died many years ago). Here's the only bio I could find:

ETA: Sorry. I removed the information about Joan B. There's a point at which offering up too much personal information is a bad thing.

Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 12:53pm Top

>49 sturlington:

To be sure, the consequences for behaviour one may expect--and fear--from men vs. women certainly aren't the same.

(That said, I feel I should note, lest I get accused of ignoring the issue, that assumptions about behaviour create problems in another area that until recently few spoke about, and that's sexual abuse by women, of boys especially. It's all part and parcel of the misogynistic programming, of course. Since men are ("naturally"), and are to be (nurtured as), sexual aggressors of the weaker female sex, the idea that women could sexually abuse men and that this behaviour too has damaging consequences did not compute in any way.)

>50 Lyndatrue:

The "I'm special, most women really ARE as rubbish as everyone says" was pretty strong in my profession among older women when I was a young student. Not that baldly stated or even felt, usually, but apparent nevertheless.

Nov 11, 2017, 12:55pm Top

I'm not going to defend the assault or harassment. Some people, however, are incapable of facing up to their actions.
Then this may be the result. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-41904161 It leaves me a bit unsure of how might be the way to approach this.

Nov 11, 2017, 12:59pm Top

>52 Helenliz:

It's a pity his sense of right and wrong wasn't as strong as his shame at what he did.

Nov 11, 2017, 6:56pm Top

>54 Crypto-Willobie:

Right on! Thanks.

Nov 12, 2017, 2:48pm Top

Safe to say I am now in love with Laurie Penney's writing. More on consent: https://wp.me/p4KhvY-odT

Nov 12, 2017, 5:41pm Top

>56 sturlington:


the Hog-Emperor of Rape Culture is squatting in the White House


What she says about the misunderstandings of the concept of rape culture hits especially close now, as I've been following various European coverage of these events--and I'm talking "progressive" media, not right-wing cesspools--and it is to weep (only I somehow manage better to seethe).

The French especially are making me mad. Silly Americans who don't understand l'amour and are afraid of le sexe.

Nov 13, 2017, 10:19am Top

Mmm, yes. (Emphasis mine:)

Considering all of these angles, it’s easy to conclude that this moment actually isn’t radical enough, because it’s limited to sexual grievances. One 60-year-old friend, who is single and in a precarious professional situation, says, “I’m burning with rage watching some assholes pose as good guys just because they never put their hands on a colleague’s thigh, when I know for a fact they’ve run capable women out of workplaces in deeply gendered ways. I’m very frustrated, because I’m not in a position right now to spill some beans.”(...)

There is another realm of anger here, arising from our knowledge that even the long-delayed chance to tell these repugnant truths is built on several kinds of privilege. As others have observed, it matters that the most public complaints so far have come from relatively affluent white women in elite professions, women who’ve worked closely enough with powerful white men to be available for harassment. Racism and class discrimination determine whose stories get picked up and which women are readily believed.

That reality fogs some of the satisfaction we feel in watching monstrous men lose their influence; we know that it’s a drop in a bottomless bucket. “Maybe we can get another two horrible people to have to step down or say they’re sorry,” one Democratic lawmaker told me, “but that helps only 20 people, and it’s 20 million who need things to change. Plus, you’re a farmworker? A lady who cleans offices? You’re a prostitute or an immigrant? You’re not going to tell your story.” (...)

And, until this changes, completely, everywhere:

Men have not succeeded in spite of their noxious behavior or disregard for women; in many instances, they’ve succeeded because of it.

...nothing will really change.

Nov 13, 2017, 10:30am Top

Just seen in a French newspaper--a man accused of raping an 11 year old girl (in 2009 when he was 22) acquitted because LACK OF CONSENT COULD NOT BE PROVED.

What the EVER-loving FUCK?

Marlène Schiappa, Secretary of State in charge of Equality between Women and Men (Wiki), tweets about the need to RAISE the age of consent to 13.

RAISE age of consent... to THIRTEEN? WHAT THE FUCK, FRANCE????


Currently in France if there is no violence or coercion proved, people may only be charged with sexual abuse of a minor and not rape - this has a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (£66,000; $87,000).

Nov 14, 2017, 12:30pm Top

I liked this article: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-41885963

It's about sexual harassment in the British Civil Service and politics. The bit I liked quoted someone saying that 'things that were acceptable 15, 10 years ago are not acceptable now.' The article then asks, 'Acceptable to whom?' and mentions many examples that it wasn't acceptable to the women involved back then either.

Nov 14, 2017, 1:12pm Top

Such boorish cluelessness, such incredible stupidity. How big an effort does it take to consider that people in precarious social positions perhaps feel constrained to tolerate attacks they can't respond to without further endangering themselves, their work, reputation, other people...? That tolerance doesn't mean acceptance, and that acceptance in the sense of sheer resignation to abusive behaviours is NOT something anyone sane would want as a basis for any kind of human relationship and interaction?

Nov 14, 2017, 1:29pm Top

Spotted on Twitter:

Are re men too fragile for politics? ... If your definition of what is morally acceptable begins and ends at what is likely to get you fired or thrown in jail, you have no business being intimate with another human being, let alone being a minister.https://t.co/IjxsMvU5wJ

— Laurie Penny (@PennyRed) November 14, 2017

Nov 14, 2017, 6:47pm Top

Rebecca Solnit weighs in, and how we need her:

So many women who told stories about men trying to harm them were treated as crazy or as malicious liars, because it’s easier to throw a woman under the bus than a culture. The bus rolls forward on a red carpet of women. Trump gets out of the bus and brags about getting away with grabbing women by the pussy and gets elected president less than a month later. He puts in place an administration that starts clearcutting women’s rights, including the rights of victims of sexual assault.


Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 5:13am Top

Just a thought of my own:

They can't use the excuse that back in the bad old days in Hollywood no one knew that sexual abuse of women was wrong. They knew. Watch High Society. "There are rules about things like that." Maybe not rules that they felt they had to follow. But they did know.

Nov 17, 2017, 11:08am Top

If true is a reply, but it has in recent cases become more effectively a verb—a phrase of action, done to women, to remind them that they are doubted. If true used as a weapon. If true used as a mechanism to enforce the status quo. For years. For centuries. The woman says, This happened. The world says, If true.

Good piece here: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/al-franken-that-photo-and-trusting-the-women/545954/

Nov 17, 2017, 12:59pm Top

>67 sturlington: There are times when I genuinely dread opening up this thread. Your link opened up a kettle of worms that will keep me from resting for a long time. I was (I'm sorry to say) unsurprised to hear about Al Franken. I believe he's grown up a bit, but I remember hearing stories about him years ago that all pointed to what we now see.

This story, on the other hand, just makes me even sadder that what we are offered to place as president is so much less than what we deserve.


Nov 17, 2017, 1:36pm Top

I'm unsurprised to hear this shit about any man. You don't extoll the dick and prioritise what the dick wants for thousands of years without exactly these consequences--men, regardless of who they are, profoundly warped by the belief they can do whatever they like (at the limit, just don't get caught), and women, mostly, passively or even actively supporting the status quo. As I said only about a thousand times before--look at how leftist "comrades" regard women and the concerns of feminism. If that's how these supposedly "woke" men think, what can one hope for from others?

(Just remembered--a couple years or so ago I started a thread in Pro & Con on the theme "No leftist politics is possible without feminism". Didn't go down any better with the old hippies than with rightwing scum--as was true for any individual discussion where the idea popped up.)

I wish there were a general effort to connect these "celebrity" harassment cases to systemic misogyny and start working to address THAT. Instead, in the US it's a Republican-Democrat politicking slinging match WHILE the Trump administration is stomping on women like Godzilla on a pretzel stand.

Nov 17, 2017, 4:48pm Top

>68 Lyndatrue: I think I know where you're coming from. This whole situation has made me so angry. It's not a feeling like finally, women are being heard, but why the f--- did it take so long? And yeah, the Clintons are very problematic.

Nov 22, 2017, 3:22pm Top

On the need to address systemic misogyny and tackle current constructions of masculinity...

Democracy Now video: Rebecca Solnit: Ending Sexual Harassment Means Changing Masculinity & Undermining Misogynist Culture

Nov 29, 2017, 2:29pm Top

Masculinity, the repression of emotions, and uncontrollable urges:


Nov 30, 2017, 10:11am Top

"Until the world proves it doesn’t hate women, the silence will continue." Emma Cline on Sexual Harassment: https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/emma-cline-the-price-of-smiling-for-the-photos.html

Nov 30, 2017, 3:50pm Top

Really, I have no words but sputtering:

I’ve heard several male friends talk about text chains they are on with other men only; they describe it as a safe space to talk about how they feel in this moment. They feel afraid, disoriented and discounted. And I understand their need for such comfort and security. I am a woman. I know nothing other than needing such comfort and security, for my entire life.

Amber Tamblyn, I'm not ready for the redemption of men

On a positive note, my nine-year-old son declared completely out of the blue the other morning: "I respect women!" Hope for the future?

Edited: Dec 5, 2017, 4:10pm Top

Loving Laurie Penny yet again:

Look at the whole picture, these powerful men say. Consider the context. I agree. Context is vital. It is crucial to consider the context in which this all-out uprising against toxic male entitlement is taking place. The context being, of course, a historical moment where it has become obvious that toxic male entitlement is the greatest collective threat to the survival of the species.


ETA Bonus points to her for coining the term "Shitler Youth."

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 10:57am Top

Time's Person of the Year (excuse the large image):

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 11:11am Top

Today Christine Keeler died. She was involved in a sex scandal in the 60s that bought down the MacMillan government, the Profumo affair. The telegraph has a particularly catty obituary and an article that takes the line that her only crime was to be young and inexperienced.
Obituary: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2017/12/05/christine-keeler-model-centre-p...
Article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/politics/christine-keelers-crime-young-inexperi...

Philip Larkin may have had the Profumo affair in mind when her wrote: “Sexual Intercourse began in 1963/Between the Lady Chatterley ban and the Beatles first LP.” But, today, the tale feels as much about repression as sexual freedom: a few entitled men got to sleep with girls whose fate it was to be forever condemned for it.

As Keeler herself put it: “All that Swinging Sixties stuff. It didn’t do anyone any good, did it?” Certainly, not for its great anti-heroine.

plus ca change and all that...

Dec 9, 2017, 9:35am Top

This isn't about bad apples, it's about our broken sexual culture

It’s about admitting that we raise girls to feel like their power is their sexuality, and therefore they have to either hoard it and benefit from being seen as pure, or dole it out in strategic ways that will help them get ahead (their own pleasure or preference is irrelevant in either terrible choice). It’s about admitting that we raise boys to see sex as something they are entitled to, as something transactional, as something that men seek out and women either resist or give in to.

Dec 13, 2017, 3:46pm Top

My god, this is a powerful story (warning: very triggering): Salma Hayek, Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster --

Dec 13, 2017, 6:07pm Top

When is someone just going to take this guy out back and kick his ass?

Dec 13, 2017, 6:09pm Top

>80 Crypto-Willobie: People were wondering on Twitter why he hasn't been murdered yet.

Jan 10, 8:21pm Top

Kate Roiphe, The Atlantic, and the "Shitty Men in Media" list


The list itself was just a spreadsheet, created by an anonymous woman five days after the Weinstein story broke. As the spreadsheet was shared, other women added names. It went viral, men saw it, got outraged, and eventually the list disappeared. The last I saw it, the list had the names of over eighty men in media and literature who were known to be at worst abusive toward women and at the very least inappropriate in the workplace. Many men on the list were open secrets, who had previously been outed or were later outed in news stories. Others were whispered warnings—the kind of currency of security that women offer one another in bathrooms, elevators, DMs, and group texts. Don’t go out to lunch with him. Don’t stay too long at the bar.

Shows what I know -- I didn't even realize there was a "Shitty Men in Media" list.

Jan 11, 10:53am Top

Omg, I hope she stays safe.

Jan 30, 11:51pm Top

What does Hollywood's reverence for child rapist Roman Polanski tell us? (Guardian)

When the Harvey Weinstein story broke last October, the reaction among the movie industry was wide-eyed shock that someone so many of them knew and worked with could be a rapist. “I didn’t know. I don’t tacitly approve of rape,” said Meryl Streep. And yet only a decade and a half earlier, Streep had stood and applauded when Polanski won best director at the 2003 Oscars, not so much tacitly approving rape as explicitly celebrating a convicted child rapist. If only anyone had known about Weinstein they would never – never! – have worked with him, movie insiders say. And yet, for the past 40 years, many of them have been falling over themselves to work with a self-confessed child rapist, even defending him by pointing to his artistic credentials...

Jan 31, 12:52am Top

It tells us Hollywood is a horrible place dedicated to a horrible business. At least in the US someone tried to punish this shit; in Europe he found refuge and even less condemnation. The problem, though, is much bigger than either Polanski or Hollywood...

The year after he fled the US he gave an interview to Martin Amis, in which he declared: “Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls – everyone wants to fuck young girls!”

Objectification of women this brutal and this self-unaware is common in the arts, although of course not unique to them. But what is unique is that, as in no other field of human enterprise, men like these are not only revered but often revered because of saying and doing things like this.

And we are still being conditioned to applaud them and their appetites and the expression of these appetites, no matter how swinish and monstrously egoistic, because their ability to turn out a fine sentence, paint a nice picture, frame a striking photograph and so on, is worth so much more than any girl's or woman's well being, even life.

Jan 31, 6:39am Top

>86 LolaWalser: This story plays out again and again. Look at the recent Larry Nassar case. How many people knew or suspected what was happening? And yet his victims numbered over 200.

Jan 31, 11:02am Top

>87 sturlington:

It's difficult to comprehend, in any sense. All such individuals (those who suspected, let alone any who might have known) are themselves guilty, but when it comes to explaining their inaction... I think the first round of blame lies with society, all the larger structures within which this happens, because it's that level that conditions our unconscious beliefs and behaviours, it's the basic setup that provides alibi and justification for the perpetrators.

Basically, girls/women are treated in culture in myriad ways as sexual cattle AND, simultaneously, political non-entities. (The girls' opinions and desires don't matter. Men decide what they want and what they will get.) The message doesn't need to be spelled out this overtly to create a system of values that will facilitate this "blindness", this strange inability of people--men especially--to tell abuse from sex, or to be concerned about the damage done to women specifically. So when Polanski says "everyone wants to fuck young girls", he is, of course, wanting to justify his behaviour as normal, but he is also only echoing what has and is being said, done, through culture and politics for centuries.

But I would note that people like Nassar do try to hide what they are doing, and when found out, get universally condemned--whereas the Polanskis practically flaunt themselves to a public that is ready, even eager to overlook their crimes.

Both types can do what they do because their personal inclination to treat women like shit is supported by the society in direct and indirect ways. But they are not seen as being worthy of the same defence.

Jan 31, 12:37pm Top

>88 LolaWalser: Good points. In Nassar's case, though, I think it was incumbent upon the victims to assert that they were victimized and to demand justice. At least, that is my understanding of how his incarceration came about. Which is also in itself very symptomatic of the type of society you are describing, one that will ignore abuse of girls and women unless forced by the abused themselves in overwhelming numbers not to be.

This statement from the woman who first spoke out against him is important reading: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/opinion/sunday/larry-nassar-rachael-denhollander.html

Jan 31, 3:31pm Top

Heartbreaking. With reactions such as she got you can't even say the abuse happened and was over one day, it's everlasting, gets compounded.

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