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. …

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