Disclosure and exposure in the neoliberal university

Cross-posted from: Genders, Bodies, Politics
Originally published: 18.05.17

This Spring, as part of a collaborative partnership of colleagues from the UK and 5 other European countries, I helped to launch a European Commission-funded project entitled ‘Universities Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence‘. Our main aim is to create university environments in which students can disclose experiences of sexual harassment and assault, through providing ‘first response’ training to key staff. We have committed to training 80 staff in each of our 13 Partner and Associate Partner universities.

As we begin our work, I want to think more deeply about disclosure. The word is loaded, and the act is too: laden with emotion and often perceived as a threat. It means to reveal, to expose, to name something which creates discomfort and shame. Our work is loaded. Sexual harassment and assault in universities is pushed under the carpet in every national context I have studied, both within Europe and further afield. The 2015 film The Hunting Ground portrayed US university campuses as sites where sexual predators roam with impunity. Although I was not a fan of the film’s restitution-retribution narrative, it relayed powerful testimonies by survivors who described a heartbreaking silence which resounds across national borders.
Read more Disclosure and exposure in the neoliberal university

On hashtags, secrets and the balance of power, by @abigailrieley ‏

Cross-posted from: Abigail Rieley
Originally published: 22.10.17

This post is a hard one to write. I’ve kept this blog for years but this is the post I’ve always second guessed myself out of writing. I’ve written about dysfunctional homes so many times, homes that weren’t safe, predatory men, an inadequate legal system, but I’ve never said that what I had a personal stake in what I was writing – that I understood, that I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to live with a volatile narcissist who will make you doubt the facts in front of your nose. I know what it’s like to dodge ever-changing emotions. I know what it’s like to fear for your life – a dull practical alertness, not a nerve jangling panic.
Read more On hashtags, secrets and the balance of power, by @abigailrieley ‏

Magana, by @mttmfeed

Cross-posted from: More than the music
Originally published: 13.02.17

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.27.09When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?

I’ve been singing ever since I remember. Though my first instrument was piano…I was probably 9 and my family ran a fruit stand all summer long, which meant long hours of sitting around in the sun or organizing watermelons. I went to the church that was down the road and started taking lessons from the pastor’s wife in order to escape the boredom. We paid her in fruit.
Read more Magana, by @mttmfeed

The House that Hef Built: Hugh Hefner’s Dark Legacy, by @meltankardreist

Cross-posted from: Melinda Tankard Reist
Originally published: 08.10.17

Behold your hero of the sexual revolution: girl child centrefolds, rape cartoons, sexual harassment and wife beating jokes. MTR on Hefner

 

A new angel has opened his wings!”

“We need more men like Hugh in this world today.”

These passionate declarations from his Facebook page are among numerous accolades for the pornhefmerchant Hugh Hefner, who recently died aged 91.

A charming trendsetter, brave visionary, legend, pioneer, icon, folk hero – the glorification is seemingly endless.

Big names joined the love-in. Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted in praise: “Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace.”
Read more The House that Hef Built: Hugh Hefner’s Dark Legacy, by @meltankardreist

The Golem and the Jinni (small spoilers), at Her History Arc

Cross-posted from: Her Story Arc
Originally published: 05.11.17

During a long Sunday walk, I found the Golem and the Jinni in a Little Free Library. After reading the jacket, I was sold. I’m a sucker for mythology, so I just had to take the Golem and the Jinni home.

The book first introduces Chava, the golem. She’s a woman formed from clay, made to serve, protect, and be the “perfect wife” for a man who paid for her creation. However, this relationship doesn’t last long, as her “husband” dies on the voyage from Poland to America. Chava escapes into 1890s New York City and settles in a Jewish neighborhood, hiding in plain sight. 
Read more The Golem and the Jinni (small spoilers), at Her History Arc

THE ONENESS IS THE GREATEST – #SANCTUMBRISTOL, by @elizabethethird

Cross-posted from: Elizabeth the Third
Originally published: 19.11.15

Every time I have read about spirituality, and usually when I am reading anything vaguely self-help-y, and sometimes when I am trawling through the Internet, there is a message that keeps coming back. That we are one. All of life, all of the Universe is, or is part of, the same organism, essence, energy.

I’m not too interested in debating or justifying this though I’ll happily discuss it, and often do, when someone is willing to engage with the idea. But without any religion, I have always believed that somehow we are all connected. I don’t know why, and I can’t really explain it. I don’t need to.

My best friend believes that we are imbued with the Holy Spirit, the same spirit of her God; my other best friend is an atheist, but does believes that we each have a soul, or spirit of some kind, and that we are connected to each other through mutual dependence and a moral responsibility to each other, simply by being alive and in proximity.

I’m not sure I can describe my experience of ‘oneness’, other than to say that at times I feel a connection, an emotional mirroring, and a rush and pull so visceral that it’s frightening, as though the soul I haven’t yet decided whether or not I have is being clamped and dragged from my body. I often shut that feeling down, especially since this happens most often when I am faced with the pain of others. Pain I’d rather not feel with no power to act on it, that’s not mine to fully grasp anyway, that’s distorted and egged on by my imagination and my adrenal glands.
Read more THE ONENESS IS THE GREATEST – #SANCTUMBRISTOL, by @elizabethethird

Yes we do want it both ways. Because we’re human. Just like men, by @Herbeatittude

Cross-posted from: Herbs & Hags
Originally published: 07.11.17

Whenever sexual harassment is discussed, someone will always pipe up “but they don’t mind it if the bloke’s good-looking!”  as if that proves – what?  That sexual harassment is a deeply unfair concept, designed to unjustly prevent unattractive men from exercising their natural right to grope their female colleagues and friends whenever they want?  That women are inconsistent and “want it both ways”, i.e.: want to have friendships and love affairs and personal relationships with some members of the opposite sex, without being obliged to extend their personal relationships to every single other member of the opposite sex who might fancy a relationship with them – just like men do?

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 07.54.36How galling must it be, to be treated with civility and politeness every day, instead of being treated to what you are entitled to: bantering, flirting, joshing around and the occasional knee-stroke during the working day.  How outrageous is it, that a woman might connect with another male colleague more than she does with you, finding him wittier, more congenial and more interesting than you and therefore treating him with a level of friendliness and companionship that will never be extended to you because … well, er, just because she doesn’t like you as much. 
Read more Yes we do want it both ways. Because we’re human. Just like men, by @Herbeatittude

How to Talk to Your Teenagers About Porn, by @cwknews

Originally published: 23.09.17

Most teenage boys – and many girls – will experiment with pornography. It’s one of those ‘as long as I don’t have to know about it’ things for a lot of parents – but what if you’re suddenly confronted by it? What if you find out that your teenager has been watching pornography, and that some of it is pretty extreme?

Of course, there’s no ‘right way’ to tackle this, but I would say that whatever you decide to do, trust is key. All teenagers, always, just want us to trust them. The more we demand explanations, or endlessly check up on them, the stronger the message of mistrust.

The media will always scare us with stories of teen porn addiction, but developing this trust requires a process of ‘un-scaring’ yourself about the issues that really worry you, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, sex or porn. Your teenager is busy working out their own relationship to all these issues, and doesn’t need the burden of your anxiety on top of their own. Over-concern can create a kind of emotional feedback loop of mutual anxiety reinforcement – and to them, anger, sullenness and resistance may seem like the best way of handling it. 
Read more How to Talk to Your Teenagers About Porn, by @cwknews

Darkroom at She means well but ….

Cross-posted from: She means well but .....
Originally published: 23.10.17

That’s where it started. In the darkroom. I’d spent the afternoon taking pictures of a sixteen-year-old with the wholesome teeth and unchallenged confidence of a future beauty queen.

Sarah. That was her name. You know the type. Clear-skinned, bright-eyed, conventional little blonde. Aced her exams, dating the captain of the cricket team, raised on a diet of praise as she swanned her way to adulthood. Almost certainly head prefect material. Pretty, polite, practically perfect for the niche carved out for her. And dull as ditchwater.

 

What could I do? Pampered little madams like her paid my rent. Picture perfect portraits of good girls that never betrayed the small cruelties they inflicted on the outcasts at school. Studio portraits for the yearbook, doting grandparents, distant aunts and uncles, whatever – that was my bread and butter. After the strikes and shortages of the “Winter of Discontent” the papers had been screaming about, I couldn’t afford to turn good business away, could I?


Read more Darkroom at She means well but ….

The Problem with “As a Mother…”, at @JumpMag

Cross-posted from: Salt & Caramel
Originally published: 24.08.17

When a sentence begins with ‘As a mother…’, it’s generally a bad sign. This rarely heralds an insightful observation, as Andrea Leadsom demonstrated. The discussion will continue around the political wrangling, but I wanted to pause for a moment and consider the idea that motherhood grants a woman anything other than the ability to cook meals one-handed while holding a wailing baby.

As a Mother…

I’ve changed. It would be impossible not to. The focus of my life has shifted, and the opinions and feelings of others need to be taken into consideration. I’m sure this is true for most parents, not just mothers.

As a mother, I became aware of different aspects of life that I hadn’t considered. When my kids were babies, I noticed that dropped kerbs and accessible buses meant that I could get around the town easier. It made me pause and consider that the inconvenience of using a pram or buggy was a temporary one, unlike those in wheelchairs, who are often prevented from using a bus because the buggy space is full.

As my children grew, their needs changed. From searching for restaurants with bottle-warming and baby-change facilities to ones with a play area or colouring books, to ones with free wifi as the kids reached their teens.

I noticed the differences in pre-school child-care between UK and Germany where we lived when the kids were little, and became aware of the high costs that were a burden to many families in UK.

They started school and I became more interested in the education systems in the countries in which we lived. The way in which the world treated my daughter in comparison to my son affected me and encouraged me to become more feminist, more politically active.

In the coming years, I’ll take more of an interest in further education, colleges, apprenticeships. We are already starting to think about paying for the college years, how to enable our kids to buy property, giving them a good start in life.

Parenting is not a science. Sure, there are studies about breastfeeding, attachment parenting, education systems and more, but there is no ‘right’ way to parent children because every child has different needs.

My experiences have given me insights into many aspects of life. Maternity provisions, child-friendly products and services, child-care and education, housing requirements for families, feminism… but this is all from my perspective, as a educated white woman with a comfortable home life and loving family. Other parents will have taken a very different view on life, based on their experiences.

And others base their world-view on experiences in other walks of life. I can’t speak with authority on what it is like to work as an academic or a researcher. I don’t know what it feels like to be so poor that you don’t know how to get through the week. As much as I can empathise with the struggles and support the rights of people of colour, I can’t walk in their shoes. Why should my life experiences be any more valuable just because I am a mother?

The insights gained as a mother shaped my opinions; they don’t make my opinions any more valid than those of the next person. And they certainly don’t make me more suited for political office  than a childless person.

 

Featured Image by Priscilla Westra/Unsplash

 

Salt and Caramel is a blog about the sweet and the bitter side of life. Freelance writer Lynn Schreiber shares tips on Social Media, blogging and parenting, reviews products and events, and highlights issues surrounding the rights of women and girls. (@JumpMag)

What we’re reading: male entitlement, abortion rights, racism, and women in prison

Short prison sentences punish children too, by Lucy Baldwin & Rona Espstein

… Despite none of the mothers in our study serving no longer than 34 weeks in custody, the majority under six months; the effects on the children described to us were many. Mothers described their children’s relationships as siblings being changed, especially where they had been separated to different locations. Some mothers felt their children were less close to them and had become closer to their temporary carers. One mother felt her child no longer knew her as her mother. Mothers described children having nightmares, bedwetting, becoming clingy, insecure and angry.

The study highlighted the harm caused to the mothers themselves by these short, and often very short sentences; all served for non-violent offences. But also, very clearly to the children of these mothers. The very welcome Scottish decision to implement a progression from their pre-existing   presumption against sentences of under three months, to a presumption against sentences of less than 12 months is a clear message and recognition that short sentences do more harm than good, and wherever possible community alternatives should be sought. We urge England and Wales to urgently follow suit.  …

Catholic Hospital Pressured Women to Bury Their Fetuses—Then Pence Made It Law, by Amy Littlefield

Tethered to an IV, naked under her hospital gown, Kate Marshall felt trapped as the chaplain approached her bed. It was 2015, and Marshall was awaiting surgery at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Indiana after losing a much-wanted pregnancy. She had not asked to speak with a chaplain, but the man had nonetheless entered her room and then pressed her to sign a consent form that would allow the Catholic hospital to bury her 11-week fetus in a cemetery plot.

Marshall, a University of Notre Dame English professor who wanted nothing more than to have a baby, planned to send the fetal remains for testing, hoping to understand what had caused her miscarriage and thus avoid having another. She also did not want her fetus buried in a grave as if it were a full-grown person.

But the chaplain scorned her decision, Marshall told Rewire in an interview.

Gutted by the sudden loss of her pregnancy, and conscious every moment of the dead fetus that was still inside her body, Marshall asked him to leave five times before he finally did, according to a written complaint she filed with regulators the next day. …

 I’m Disabled and I Get Sexually Harassed — Here’s Why That Matters, by Emily Wu  via @TeenVogue

We were 15 years old, just starting high school. A boy from my biology class would hiss my name, just loud enough so his friends standing nearby could also hear. “Psst — hey Wendy,” he said. I turned my head. He stuck out his tongue and wiggled it between two fingers. He laughed. His friends laughed alongside him, elbowing each other as I continued to walk by, cheeks flushed. He did this over and over again for all four years in the hallways where everyone could see, and he did it without ounce of empathy or shame. His laughter rang in my ears every time I read another story about women — including actors, senators, lobbyists, and musicians — experiencing harassment, assault, and other forms of sexual violence.

Before the #metoo movement took over social media in October, I had never written about my experiences with sexual violence before. I couldn’t even write “sexual harassment,” “abuse,” and other related words without feeling deeply ashamed — even though there is nothing for me to be ashamed of. …

Weinstein, White Tears and the Boundaries of Black Women’s Empathy, by Jamilah Lemieux  via @CassiusLife_

Despite the absence of other folks’ compassion when Black people need it most, my immediate reaction to stories of sexual assault and harassment is almost always instinctively, deeply empathetic, race be damned. For that reason, this is one of the more challenging pieces that I’ve ever written.

As I read yet another account of post-Harvey Weinstein trauma from a white woman who apparently matters more to the world than I—or even her fellow accuser Lupita Nyong’o—ever will, I had a thought that made me recoil a bit at myself:

“There is no role that white women can ever play better than that of ‘victim.’”

What a harsh response, right? And, yet, it is as true as anything I’ve ever said in my life.

Be clear, I didn’t feel bad for having this thought; rather, I was disconcerted that it came to mind at this particular moment. After all, these white women aren’t crying because a Black female colleague raised her voice in a meeting or because one of her own had a change of heart about a consensual sexual encounter with a Black man. These women are sharing horrific stories of alleged assault and harassment at the hands of Weinstein, a man who had the power to either catapult or end their careers. ….

#NotYourRescueProject: How a white middle-class academic masqueraded as the women he trafficked and pimped, by @bindelj  via @FeministCurrent

Molli Desi was — until recently — one of several women and girls trafficked from the Indian sub-continent into the UK sex industry and pimped from flats in Kingston and Surbiton. Their names include “Beauty,” “Kama of Kingston,” “Rani Desi,” and of course “Molli Desi.” These women and girls were marketed to sex-buyers under the moniker of “sacred prostitutes”: servicing men wasn’t just “sex work,” it was their spiritual mission and they were highly trained. The men who bought them, however, complained on punter websites that they were unable to speak English and were utterly unenthusiastic. These men did not report the trafficking of these women and girls to the police. …

I have discovered the creator of the hashtag campaign #NotYourRescueProject is Dr. John Davies, masquerading as Desi. This hugely damaging campaign continues to be instrumental in enabling liberals, leftists, and others who should know better, to smear feminist sex trade abolitionists such as myself as Victorian, anti-sex, racist colonialists, driven by class prejudice, hell-bent on controlling the sexuality of “sex workers.” It is also a handy platform from which to abuse and gaslight survivors who give very different accounts of male violence in prostitution. Moreover, it is has become a legitimate “body of peer-reviewed research” to thwart social policy which would otherwise provide prostituted women and girls exit from prostitution and hold the men who profit from their abuse to account. ….

On Night Lights and Living Vicariously through my 3 Year Old, at Never Trust a Jellyfish

Cross-posted from: Never Trust a Jellyfish
Originally published: 07.09.17

As a parent, you learn new things every day. Some you learn through research and experience, while others you just sort of stumble across by pure chance. It was during one of these epiphanies that I realized something ridiculously obvious: childhood is just an endless stream of ‘phases’ stuck together in a haphazard manner.

Kids are perpetually going through ‘phases’ and if it’s not one thing, it’s the other. Telling yourself that it’s ‘just a phase’ is all well and good till you realize that even if this particular phase ends soon, another will inevitably take it’s place and the cycle will start all over again.
Read more On Night Lights and Living Vicariously through my 3 Year Old, at Never Trust a Jellyfish

How Game of Thrones Debunks Archetypes of Women, by @slutocracy

Cross-posted from: Slutocracy
Originally published: 04.08.17

It wasn’t so long ago that Game of Thrones was widely criticised for its initial portrayal of female characters as powerless victims. In my view, the disconnect between the books and TV series was the main factor in these concerns: scenes such as Sansa’s (Jeyne Poole in the books) abuse was shot for TV in a way which emphasised a male character’s (Theon Greyjoy’s) reaction; scenes critical of male-on-female violence were cut. Perhaps just as importantly, the books’ presentation of systemic oppression of the poor, disabled and even children- not just women- was not as apparent onscreen.

Obviously, all that changed during Season 6. Now, with Sansa as acting ruler of the North, all the contestants for the Iron Throne are women. (Unless Gendry shows up to stake a claim as Robert Baratheon’s bastard). However, Game of Thrones has gone further than simply having powerful female characters. Intentionally or not, both the show and the books take down classical archetypes of women which have existed in the west for centuries.
Read more How Game of Thrones Debunks Archetypes of Women, by @slutocracy

Language and talking at cross purposes

Cross-posted from: MOG Plus
Originally published: 19.07.17

Language is a funny beast. It’s fascinating, but also rarely straightforward. Online conversation can make for some interesting clashes in language: for example, I used to be a member of a forum that talked primarily about vintage fashion. Occasionally there’d be a thread where a member would say they wanted to find somewhere they could buy a vintage “jumper”. The rest of the thread would then become confusing, as the UK members recommended places that sold knitwear and US members hunted for a pinafore dress.

The nature of the internet means you often end up talking to people from places where words don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Even different regions can have massive variations – I’ve seen a fair few jovial arguments over what to call a bread roll. Different age groups can see similar differences in language; different social groups, too.

Now these are minor disagreements with no major consequences. But not all language differences can be so amusing: some can cause massive arguments, with high emotions and a lot of anger.

 


Read more Language and talking at cross purposes

Me Too, Now What? (sex, the left, and gender identity), by @GappyTales

Cross-posted from: Gappy Tales
Originally published: 20.10.17

Sparked by the exposure of Harvey Weinstein as an alleged serial sex offender, a mass confessional has taken place recently via social media, in which women everywhere have held up their hands and said, me too: the things that Weinstein did to those women have happened to me too. I hope to goodness it was cathartic and useful for the women who took the brave and exposing step of outing their private pain to the world, and I hope to goodness there were as many women reading who felt less alone, less ashamed as a result. But the outpouring is slowing and I, for one, am relieved. A collective boil has perhaps now been lanced, although I still cannot see through the pus.

The pus gathers in the responses, which can be divided into three broad categories. First is blanket denial, whereby men and their cheerleaders deny that sexual abuse on such a massive scale exists at all. Women are fanciful, lying, exaggerating for effect. There is a bandwagon onto which women are joyfully leaping in an attempt to malign men and revel in their perceived victimhood. Second, we have the more modern form of denial which concedes that yes, sexual abuse is a common problem, although not a gendered one. There are simply some people that abuse other people and all abuse is equally bad. The inconvenient and statistical truth that 98% of all sexual crime is committed by men, and that the overwhelming majority of their victims are female, can be pasted over with obfuscation and the politics of individualism. In other words, if we focus in carefully enough on all the tiny pictures, the big picture will begin to fade into the background and eventually disappear altogether. In the face of this manipulative myopia I can find myself longing for the first, more traditional trope. It is, at least, straightforward. Lastly, we have the outraged hyperbole. The shock! The fury! Whoever could have imagined such horrifying evil existed in the world?!


Read more Me Too, Now What? (sex, the left, and gender identity), by @GappyTales

#MeToo: A Hard Freedom To Bear, by @God_loves_women

Cross-posted from: God Loves Women
Originally published: 18.10.17

I’ve been working out if or how to write about #metoo.  The hashtag was started over ten years ago by Tarana Burke to enable women in underprivileged communities who did not have access to rape crisis centers or counseling, to be able to share their stories of having been subjected to sexual assault.  In the wake of the New Yorker publishing details of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault of women across Hollywood (over a number of decades), actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to tweet their stories of sexual harassment.  A million people have tweeted using the hashtag in the last few days, with many people also using it on Facebook.

 

The most wonderful Vicky Walker has written over at Premier “Harvey Weinstein isn’t just Hollywood. Men like him exist in our churches too”.  Vicky’s piece, which included her own personal experiences of having been subjected to harassment by Christian men, has been commented on by a number of men.  Peter tells us that, I am concerned that this article is actually approaching the whole issue from the wrong perspective.” (What wisdom Paul has…)  Whilst Paul tells us that, Plenty of conjecture and personal anecdote but nowhere near enough sources to properly level the claim with credibility.”  (I’m hoping Paul is going to commission a nationwide survey on harassment in churches to help us get the data he thinks is acceptable.)


Read more #MeToo: A Hard Freedom To Bear, by @God_loves_women

BACK TO SCHOOL (FOR A HOMESCHOOLING FAILURE), by Bauhaus Wife

Cross-posted from: Bauhaus Wife
Originally published: 07.09.17
IMG_0802
*
*
I loved homeschooling.  I loved our wild days, and our shoeless kids, and the romps in the field and afternoons in the woods.  I do look back on that time wistfully.  And while I’m not envious exactly, I also feel a certain yearning when I see my friends who homeschool share their posts and the photos of their classrooms in the treetops and meadows and cozy living rooms.
*
Homeschooling, for most kids, is, I think, optimal. Just as it’s my conviction that home birth is optimal.  Do I need to specify that I mean “optimal” within the context of “normal” circumstances?  Oh I do. Alright then.  That’s what I mean.


Read more BACK TO SCHOOL (FOR A HOMESCHOOLING FAILURE), by Bauhaus Wife

Despite his “strong female leads”, Joss Whedon’s feminism was never about real women, by @glosswitch

Cross-posted from: Glosswatch
Originally published: 25.08.17

Kai Cole, the ex-wife of Joss Whedon, has written an essayalleging that the director isn’t quite the feminist he appears to be. Colour me unsurprised. There’s only so much good-guy posturing a feminist can take before she starts to become a little suspicious.

It’s not that I’ve any particular beef with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor that I think men shouldn’t speak out against sexism wherever possible. But I’ve long harboured a mistrust of male directors – Whedon, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodóvar – who gain a reputation of being “good at doing women”. Who are they, these magic woman-whisperers, who see through woman’s childlike, primitive exterior and coax out the inner complexity? How do they manage to present women, these blank, mysterious objects, as actual human beings?  
Read more Despite his “strong female leads”, Joss Whedon’s feminism was never about real women, by @glosswitch

Lazy Journalism Never Dies: Safe Spaces and Censorship Yet Again, by @LucyAllenFWR

Cross-posted from: Reading Medieval Books
Originally published: 05.10.17

Yesterday, I received an email. I received dozens, actually – term started today, and a lot of students were checking in with questions about reading or deadlines or meetings – but this one stood out. It was from a journalist, and that journalist was asking (yet again) the question that makes my heart sink.

Can you talk to us about trigger warnings, censorship, and safe spaces? 

That’s the gist of the question. You might also paraphrase it: Dish the dirt on your students and tell us how precious they are! The articles that result are always pretty much the same: they insinuate that students of today are fragile, entitled little things, pampered by their parents and schools, and unable to cope wit the rigours of the full and meaningful education everyone over the age of 30 enjoyed. Students are demanding ‘trigger warnings’ because they cannot read any text containing violence. They are picketing lectures on Pope because one of his poems has ‘rape’ in the title. They are refusing to read Othello because it’s about violence against women and racism. And so on.
Read more Lazy Journalism Never Dies: Safe Spaces and Censorship Yet Again, by @LucyAllenFWR

What we’re reading: male violence and racism in the feminism movement

I am not shocked, you are not shocked, no one is shocked, stop pretending to be shocked, by Meghan Murphy via @FeministCurrent

By now, most of us have heard about the ongoing allegations against Harvey Weinstein, one of the biggest movie producers in history and predator of the moment. But as stories of harassment and sexual assault continue to pour in, and as more and more actors speak out, relaying their “disgust” and “horror,” what has shocked me most is not Weinstein’s abusive behaviour, but the shock itself.

I cannot remember the last time I was “shocked” to hear that a man beat his wife, raped a fan, or sexually harassed a co-worker. Grossed out? Sure. Angry? Definitely. But shocked? Nah. Men abuse women every day. “Nice guy” or not (and Weinstein was most certainly not), I am rather sad to admit that it’s almost expected at this point. Oh. A beloved progressive writer/actor/activist/radio host is actually an abusive creep? Natch. A high-powered CEO/producer/government official/president is a rapist? Of course. I mean, we’re talking about men, here. And men do these things. Like, all the fucking time. …

More than 60 children a day calling Childline with suicidal thoughts, by Sally Weale

A children’s helpline conducted more than 60 counselling sessions on suicide every day last year with children as young as 10 reporting suicidal thoughts, according to the NSPCC children’s charity.

The figures from Childline represent a 15% increase on the previous year.

The NSPCC pointed to widespread concern about the lengthy waiting times young people face before accessing mental health services, but said the statistics also suggested a greater willingness on the part of young people to seek help.

One 14-year-old girl told a counsellor: “I want to end it tonight. I’ve written a suicide note and have everything ready.” …

 

 

We need a new, radical vision of feminist sisterhood, by @ClaireShrugged

The feminist movement has a race problem. This is nothing new – in fact, the problem has been there since the movement began. The racism of white women, whether it is overt or covert, actively contributes to oppression experienced by women of colour. That racism also undermines the efforts of feminist struggle by upholding white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy.

For some white women, the benefits of white privilege seem to outweigh the gains to be made through dismantling the hierarchies at the root of widespread social inequalities. And those white feminists who have made no conscious effort to unlearn their own racism will find that it manifests itself within their feminism not randomly, but as an organic product of their beliefs. …

Borderline Personality Disorder – A Diagnosis Of Invalidation, by Dr Jay Watts

Last year, a woman, Helen Millard, died after being found hanging in a psychiatric ward bathroom. An inquest this week reported that when she had first been admitted, she was under constant observation. But on this day, she was able to spend thirty minutes in a bathroom alone, unchecked, despite staff knowing she had been tying ligatures around her neck up to four times per day. Helen was obviously an amazing woman, “very loving and caring“ and “hard-working, determined and very driven” as her husband tells us. Yet she was described as “manipulative”, “argumentative” and “hostile” by nursing staff, not just as an idle aside, but in a formal statement. What in psychiatry makes it seem legitimate to speak that way about a struggling woman?

Helen had a diagnosis of ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder’, also referred to as ‘borderline personality disorder’ (‘BPD’). ‘BPD’ is constructed as a syndrome characterised by things like a fear of abandonment, unstable relationships, extreme emotional turbulence, rage and disconnection. ‘BPD’ has always been a synonym for the ‘difficult patient’ in psychiatric-speak. Patients who are constructed as wilfully pitting staff members against one another – too sexual, too clever, too aware of their actions to deserve care, interest and respect. Angelina Jolie in ‘Girl, Interrupted‘. Glen Close in ‘Fatal Attraction‘. Wasting resources and messing with staff’s heads deliberately. …