SlutWalk: What’s the problem?

1. SlutWalk was reportedly initiated in response to a police officer’s comment about not dressing like a slut if you don’t want to get raped. The underlying assumption is that one’s attire — specific items or style — sends a message. And indeed it does.  High heels, fishnet stockings, and a heavily made-up face are considered invitations.  So if a woman is wearing ‘fuck me shoes’, she can hardly complain if someone fucks her.  But is that the message the woman is sending?  A message that she’s sexually available to everyone?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Frankly, given the ambiguity, and the nature of the outcome in the case of misunderstanding, I wonder why women take the risk.

It’s much like wearing one’s gang colours in the territory of a rival gang.  Of course it’s going to be provocative.  Is any consequent assault legal?  No.  Is it deserved?  No.  Should it have been anticipated?  Yes.  So unless the intent was to make a point about the wrongness of gangs and violence, a point best made by arranging media presence for the incursion into the other gang’s territory, well, how stupid are you?

Granted, most women who dress in a sexually attractive way don’t go that far (fishnet stockings and heavy make-up), but why go any way at all?  Why does a woman dress in a sexually attractive way?  Why do women put on high heels, show their legs, wear bras that push up their breasts and tops that expose cleavage, redden their lips, and so on?  What does she hope to attract exactly?

My first guess is that she hasn’t thought about it.  She dresses in a sexually attractive way because, well, that’s what women in our society are expected to do.(1)  In which case she’s an idiot.  Doesn’t deserve to be raped, but really, she should think about what she does.

My second guess is that she dresses in a sexually attractive way because she wants to invite offers of sex.(2)  But then, she shouldn’t be angry when she receives such offers, either in the form of whistles and call-outs or in more direct ways.  That she may respond with anger or offense suggests that she wants to attract only offers she’s likely to accept, offers only from men she’s attracted to.  But, men may cry, how’s a man to know?  Um, try to make eye contact.  If you can’t do that, she’s not interested.  If you do make eye contact, smile.  If she doesn’t smile back, she’s not interested.  Surely that kind of body language isn’t too subtle to grasp.

And yet, many men seem to have such an incapacity for subtlety that if you act like bait, they may simply reach out and grab you.  Are they entitled to do that?  No.  Any unauthorized touching is a violation.  Is clothing authorization?  Well, sometimes.  Consider uniforms.

So it would be far less ambiguous if a woman who wants sex just extended the offers herself.  Why take the passive route of inviting offers from likely candidates?  Why make men try to figure out whether they’re a likely candidate?  Why not just let them know and go from there?

 

2. Many people may not have been aware of the police officer’s comment. So what are they to make of SlutWalk? What are they to understand is the point?  (Prerequisite to deciding whether to support SlutWalk or not.)

a) “It’s okay to be a slut!” Given the ‘sluttish’ appearance that many women present during the walk, this understanding is understandable. But whether or not one wants to endorse that message depends on the definition of ‘slut.’  See“What’s wrong with being a slut?”

b) “We’re proud to be sluts!”

c) “No woman deserves to be raped, regardless of her attire!” This is probably closest to the intended message, but in this case, better to have called it a “Walk Against Rape”. Better, further, to advocate changes that would make rape more likely to be reported and rapists more likely to be sentenced commensurate to the injuries they’ve caused.  Perhaps better still to advocate a male-only curfew.

Of course, “SlutWalk” is far more provocative, far more attention-getting, than the ho-hum “Walk Against Rape”, but I don’t think the organizers considered the difficulty of reclaiming an insulting word.  And ‘slut’ is a very difficult insulting word to reclaim.  Harder than ‘bitch’ and ‘nigger’ and even those reclamation  efforts haven’t been very successful.  Mostly, success has been limited to conversations among women in the first case and conversations among blacks in the second.  SlutWalk is not conducted in the presence of women only.  So, really, did the organizers expect people in general to accept (let alone understand) their implied redefinition?

The organizers also didn’t think through the male over-dependence on visual signals.  The gawkers and hecklers who typically undermine the event should be expected.  The inability of men to process any verbal messages (even those just a few words long) in the presence of so-called ‘fuck me’ heels should be expected.

Consider that even Gwen Jacobs’ action to make it legal for women to be shirtless wasn’t immune to sexualization, despite the clearly non-sexual nature of her action; men (BOOBS!) hooted, men (BOOBS!) called out, and the media, no doubt reflecting a decision made by a man (BOOBS!), or perhaps a thoughtless woman, continues to use the sexualized “topless” instead of “shirtless” when reporting about the issue (BOOBS!).  Imagine the response had Jacobs gone shirtless while also wearing short shorts exposing half buttocks.  It would have been, to understate, a mixed message.

And that is, essentially, the problem with SlutWalk.  High heels, exposed legs, pushed-up breasts, and a made-up faces sends a message that one is sexually available (which is why it’s appalling to me that it has become convention for women to wear heels and make-up in public every day all day) (those who accept that convention accept the view that women should be, or at least should seem to be, sexually available every day all day).(3)  And if it doesn’t send a message that you’re sexually available, what message does it send?  That you’re sexually attractive?  Back to the top—what are you hoping to attract?  (And why are you trying to attract that when you’re at work, working?)

d) “Women have a right to tease!” That seems to be the message SlutWalk conveys, given the likelihood that women who present themselves as sexually attractive aren’t actually trying to be sexually attractive to everyone or, at least, aren’t sexually available to everyone. And that’s a message that many women would not  Especially those who know about the provocation defence.

There’s nothing wrong with extending invitations to sex.  Doing so in public in such a non-specific way—that’s the problem.  Especially given men’s inability to pick up on subtle cues and/or their refusal to understand the difference between yes and no, let alone yes and maybe.  Maybe when men can handle a sexually charged atmosphere without assaulting…  Maybe when other men penalize, one way or another, those who can’t handle a sexually charged atmosphere without assaulting…

In the meantime, we’re living in an occupied country, a country occupied by morally-underdeveloped people with power who think women are just walking receptacles for their dicks.  So women who make themselves generally available, or present themselves as being generally available, are, simply, putting themselves at great risk (and, yes, in a way, getting what they asked for): some STDs are fatal; others are incurable; most have painful symptoms.  And pregnancy has a life-long price tag.(4)

 

(1) There’s a difference between attractive and sexually attractive.  At least, there should be.  Perhaps because men dominate art and advertising, the two have been equivocated.  (No doubt because everything is sexual for them. ) (Which may be to say, everything is about dominance for them.)

(2) Maybe part of her smiles to think of herself as a slut.  She’s a bad girl, she’s dangerous, she’s taking risks, she’s a wild girl for once in her life.  But that’s exactly what they want.  Sexual access.  No-strings-attached sex.  We fell for that in the 60s too.  Free love, sure, we’re not prudes, we’re okay with our bodies, we’re okay with sex, we’re ‘with it’.  But they never took us seriously.  They never considered us part of the movement.  Behind our backs, they’d snicker and say the best position for a woman is prone ( Stokely Carmichael) (read your history, learn about your past).

(3) Of course there’s the possibility that if/when women forego the heels, bared legs, accentuated breasts and butts, and make-up, men will consider a little ankle to be an open invitation.  Which just means the issue isn’t attire at all.  It’s being female.  In a patriarchy.  (Which still means SlutWalk is off-target.)

(4) I hear the objections already: ‘No, wearing high heels and make-up doesn’t mean I’m sexually available!  That’s the point!’  (And around and around we go.)  Then why do you wear high heels and make-up?  Seriously, think about it: high heels make the leg more shapely, attracting the male gaze, which follows your legs up…; make-up makes your face younger, supposedly prettier, lipstick attracts the male gaze to your lips…  If you just want to be attractive, then what you do to your body wouldn’t be sexualized: you’d wear funky gold glittered hiking boots, you’d paint an iridescent rainbow across your face, you’d do a hundred other aesthetically interesting things…

 

The Trouble with Trans

1. To the extent that a transsexual is someone who experiences body dysphoria, someone who feels they’re in the ‘wrong’ body, someone who feels their body is the ‘wrong’ sex — how do they know? What is it like to feel female (or male)? I was born female, and I don’t know.   So how can they know?  It’s Nagel’s ‘What is it like to be a bat?’ problem. (1)  I know what it is to feel healthy only because I have also been sick.  I don’t know what it is to feel female because I haven’t been male.  Anything that I feel that I can know for sure is due to being female, rather than due to simply being human, is related to having a uterus (which can ache and hurt during menstruation) and breasts (which can feel heavy).

Other things subjectively felt are certainly due to my body — to its levels of estrogen and progesterone, for example, but also to its levels of dopamine and vasopressin, for example.  But given the overlapping range of levels of these biochemicals in males and females (many of which are not differentiated for males and females), again, how can one say ‘I feel this—because I’m female’?

If transsexuals feel like their exterior doesn’t match their interior, why do they (also) get hormone treatment—which will change their interior (as well as their exterior)?  Doing that suggests they want to change their sex, not that they were born with the wrong sex.  Even if sex is brain-based, and they feel like they have a female brain in a male body — it’s the brain that produces hormones.  So if they do have a female brain, it would be producing estrogen, and there would be no need for hormone treatments.

I’m not saying body dysphoria isn’t ‘real’.  In fact, I experience every day the mismatch between what’s inside and what’s outside: I look like a middle-aged woman, but I don’t feel like a middle-aged woman.  Then again, I do.  I must.  This must be what a middle-aged woman can feel like.  (Similarly, if you’re in a male body, what you feel must be male.  Maybe it’s not the male you see on billboards and television, but it is male nevertheless.) (Welcome to our world.)  When I say I don’t feel like a middle-aged woman, I’m using my personal and thus limited experience (my interaction with other middle-aged women) and I’m using stereotypes, pushed at me primarily by profit-seeking marketing departments.

But even so, in this case, I can know that my interior doesn’t match my exterior: at forty, for example, I know what I felt at twenty, so when I say I still feel twenty, I know what I’m talking about.  I could mean, for example, that my skin feels the same, even though when I look in the mirror, I see that it’s lost its elasticity.  Usually, though, I mean something like I still feel energetic and impassioned, not bland and resigned.  But this takes us back to my point about referencing limited experience and stereotypes.

What we need are thorough and carefully conducted studies of MTFs and FTMs.  Only they know what it felt like when they were male or female and what it feels like after they add or subtract certain body parts.  (To the extent that those parts aren’t connected to the whole in the same way, though, any change in subjective experience won’t be very useful.)

More importantly, only they know what it felt like when they were, for example, flooded with testosterone and what it feels like to be flooded with estrogen.  Sadly, those studies aren’t being done, as far as I can tell (which may mean they’re just not being publicized).  And even if they were, their reliability would be compromised by the nature of subjective report and a self-selected sample, both of which are likely to be further confounded by the subject’s conflation of sex and gender.

 

2. To the extent that a transgendered person is someone who adopts the gender that is traditionally aligned with the other sex, there are several problems.

If gender is socially constructed, then it’s not dependent on sex—so one need not change one’s sex in order to change one’s gender.  In fact, transgendered people don’t even need their own label.  Every woman who refuses to wear make-up and shave her legs is as much a transgendered person as the man who insists on wearing make-up and shaving his legs.  (Assuming that not wearing make-up is not just not-feminine, but is masculine.  If it’s just not-feminine, then perhaps it’s more accurate to call such a woman non-gendered.  So would a woman who wears pants instead of a dress be transgendered?  Still no.  It turns out that aspects of appearance commonly associated with men are more acceptable for women than vice versa.  Perhaps that’s why there are more men than women seeking to cross the gender divide.  Women already can, at least on superficial matters.)

And if it isn’t socially constructed—that is, if is dependent on sex, how do we explain effeminate men and ‘tomboys’?  How is it that many males use their voice and their hands in a very expressive fashion?  How is it that many females are strong and aggressive?

 

3. Are MTFs female? The answer to this question requires an informed understanding of biology, chemistry, and biochemistry that I don’t have. It also requires a definition: how much of how many (and which) primary and secondary sexual characteristics is required to be a member of that sex category?  Is a female who has undergone a hysterectomy and a bilateral mastectomy still female?  Is a post-menopausal and thus low-estrogen female still female?

 

4. Are MTFs women? To the extent that being a woman is a matter of gender rather than sex, maybe. Again, we need a definition: which, how many, how much…   And does a woman need to be a female?

Of course it is possible, by observation and comparison, to identify what it’s like to be treated as a female/woman.  I was born female, raised as a girl, and all of my adult life, treated, by most people most of the time, as a woman.  And what does that feel like?  It feels like shit.  To be patronized, marginalized, objectified…

So perhaps a more useful question is ‘Should MTFs be treated as women?’  Should we pay them less for work of equal value?  Should we mock or at least ignore their contributions to society?  If we want consistency, yes.  If we want justice, no.

On that note, it needs to be said (apparently) that how you’re treated affects the person you become.  Kick a dog often enough, and it becomes a cowering, fearful mess.  The same is true for humans: ignore a person often enough, and she stops speaking up; make her feel like all of her value is in her body, and she obsesses over it; and so on (and so on, and so on).  There is a difference between being a FAAB (female assigned at birth) and being an MTF: a lifetime lived in a female body.  That difference is not inconsequential.  To understate.  And if MTFs had any understanding at all of sexism, they’d know this.  (But perhaps they’ve been too busy dealing with their dysphoria.) (Or they’ve just been, well, men.)

So answering the question of whether MTFs are women is a no-brainer for the people who’ve been women all their lives.  MTFs make demands, not polite requests. (2)  They are quick to resort to insult, threat, aggression.  They compete.  They dominate.  They convey a sense of entitlement none of us has ever had.   They don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  They scream “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO KEEP US OUT WE HAVE A FUCKING RIGHT TO BE HERE TO GO WHEREVER THE FUCK WE WANT!”—a response to exclusion from FAAB spaces that is “right up there, ideologically, with demanding that girls and women be sexually available visually and physically, for and with men” (Julian Real, http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.ca/2011/02/who-gets-to-define-women-only-space.html). (3, 4)  In short, it quacks like a duck.

 

In any case, perhaps the most important question is ‘Why does it matter?’ —whether one is male or female, a man or a woman?  It matters only to those who want to maintain a rigid sex/gender dichotomy.  And why would someone want to do that?  To support a sexist system/society.

So, I say to MTFs, who are apparently among those who want to maintain such a system/society, if you want to be considered a woman, act like one.  Sit down and shut up.  Understand that your opinion doesn’t count.  Be sensitive to everyone else’s feelings, respect them, accommodate them.  Don’t assume you know more than anyone else.  In particular, don’t assume you know more about sex and gender than second-generation feminists and radfems; they are Ph.D.s (in fact, many of them have Ph.D.s) when it comes to sex and gender, and no man of any kind comes close to their level of understanding: “They lost many of [their] privileges when they started identifying as women, but rather than recognising that this is because of sexism, they decided it was because they are trans. Why? Because, being male, they knew fuck all about sexism” (thebeardedlady, Nov17/09 at https://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/the-fallacy-of-cis-privilege/).

It is no surprise to me that twice as many MTFs as FTMs commit suicide.  I haven’t read many accounts of their transition, but in most of those I have read, I see a shocking naiveté with regard to sexism, gender politics, etc.  It is as if these people had no idea that they were voluntarily becoming a member of the sexed subordinate class.  So no wonder, on top of everything else, they can’t handle, are broadsided by, the sudden and almost complete disenfranchisement …

(So as for the dysphoria, like the person who rejects their leg because it doesn’t feel right, because it doesn’t feel like it’s theirs, isn’t it better to deal with the dysphoria than to go through life as an amputee?)   (Because yes, being a woman in the patriarchy is, in many ways, like being an amputee.  We are crippled.  We are, relative to men, dis-abled.)

Sex, like Religion / Religion, like Sex

What do Madonna, Prince, and Leonard Cohen have in common – with evangelists, ministers, and priests?  They all feed on the proximity of religion and sex.

But, but, you stutter, don’t religions mostly prohibit sex, considering pretty much anything to do with the body to be distasteful or unclean or just plain immoral?  Well, yes.  Could be hypocrisy.  Could be denial.

But on more than one occasion, doesn’t God in The Bible require the sacrifice of a virgin?  And look at St. Theresa’s face – it’s orgasmic.

So what can religion and sex possibly have in common?  Well, they both promise transcendence, ecstasy.  (They both fail to deliver, but that’s another point.)

What else?  Religion is like infatuation (which is fuelled by sexual desire): both involve adoration, worship, of the object of one’s desire.  Add a little confusion and pretty soon one deifies the object of one’s desire or desires the object of one’s deification.

And both religion and sex involve salvation: one looks to God like one does to a lover, for salvation in the other’s arms.   (They both fail to – never mind.)

Furthermore, sex involves a release, a purging if you like – rather like fasting, or confessing and then doing penance.  Again, one gets confused with the other, and pretty soon sex is thought to purify.  I’m sure that’s what all those priests thought when they had sex with those boys.

The extremes of sadomasochism and bondage and discipline highlight the similarities between sexual fanatics and religious fanatics.  More than one saint has submitted to flagellation, by self or by others.  Isn’t every monk given a hairshirt and every nun her own little whip?  Suppose things aren’t exactly consensual – well, it’s no coincidence that ‘rape’ and ‘rapture’ come from the same root.

And to kneel in prostration is to put one’s ass in the air – I’m ready, enter me, oh Great One.

“What is Wrong with this Picture?” – short film script

This film consists of a collage of scenes, five to ten minutes in length), in which women are always the superordinates and men are always the subordinates.  Dialogue isn’t that important, so once the scenes are decided upon and roughed out, the cast can probably improv rather than follow a script.

 

Suggested scenes:

Office: Woman in executive office summons her secretary, who is a man, who enters and politely inquires “Yes, m’am?”  She says something like “Ask Ms. Jordan to come to my office, then bring us coffee, please, and hold all calls.”  He nods in subordinate fashion and exits.

Boardroom:  Seated around the table discussing important matters are, every one of them, women.

Hospital scene: Female doctors and male nurses and clerks.

University: Female faculty and male support staff.

Bank:  Male tellers; occupants of individual offices are all women.

Courtroom: Judge, lawyers, and security are women; clerk is male.

Golf course:  Only women are playing.

Office:  Woman executive directs her male assistant to call her husband and tell him she’ll be late for dinner.

Home:  Househusband answers the phone, surrounded by cloying, annoying kids, and shows irritation at the message.

Fancy restaurant:  Several women dine together and discuss business.

Doctor’s office: Female doctor giving embarrassed man a physical, which includes a close examination of his penis as well as a rectal examination.

Househusband taking kids to the dentist: The waiting room is full of fathers and kids; the receptionist is male, as is the dental hygienist; the dentist, who breezes in for the authoritative final check of the hygienist’s work, is female.

Househusband grocery shopping:  All of the other shoppers and all of the checkout cashiers are men; a woman is in the manager’s office.

Home:  Husband sets the table and brings out the dinner he has prepared; kids and mother sit waiting; perhaps the woman offers to help, but the offer isn’t really genuine and is brushed aside. with a smile.

Guests for dinner: Two male-female couples are sitting at a dinner table; the conversation is dominated by the women who talk about politics; the two men are silent, though they look supportive from time to time and interject supportive comments, questions to let the women shine; one of the women says something like “Let’s let the boys clean up, shall we?” and the two women retire to the living room for drinks and more conversation.

Office lunchroom: All and only men sit in small groups talking about their kids, the need for an on-site daycare, their failure to obtain promotions, their bosses; a sweet male voice comes over intercom “Danny, Ms. X would like to see you right away”, at which Danny grimaces but gets up and leaves the room.

Car:  Woman at the wheel, man in the passenger seat.

Rain Without Thunder (movie) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Rain Without Thunder (movie) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

 

I just watched this! And will watch it again, stopping to think at so many points!

 

Here’s the brief description: It’s the year 2042 and the threat is real…women are going to prison for terminating their pregnancies. An investigating reporter is determined to reveal the truth behind the convictions.

 

It’s available on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Without-Thunder-Betty-Buckley/dp/B009YCWW7E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486337772&sr=8-1&keywords=rain+without+thunder

 

 

Women Discover Life on Mars

Should we fund a mission to Mars?  Sure.  Give us a bit of time and we can make that planet uninhabitable too.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed watching MARS.   Why?  Because the three astronauts who walk out onto the planet’s surface at the end to discover life on Mars are all women.  Not a token one of three.  Not even a remarkable two of three.  But ALL THREE.  All three are women.

AND the bureaucrat back on Earth who makes the announcement?  Again, a woman.

AND none of this was presented as in-your-face feminist.  Not one line in the entire script made reference to their being women.  There was no male resentment, no resistance, no snide comment about quotas or reverse discrimination.  There was no undue praise, no celebration for having achieved the status of being the first humans to discover life on Mars.

They just were.

I can’t tell you how gratifying it would be to just be.  To be an astronaut if I wanted to be.  To be the one to discover life on Mars.  To be the head of a Mars mission program.  Just because I was qualified to do so and lucky enough to make it through the selection process.  And my sex had as little to do with it as my hair.

Furthermore, throughout the expedition, there was as much female presence as male.   Sure, okay, one of the women became leader only because one of the men died, but when the second crew arrived, its leader was a woman.  And if I’ve got this mistaken, it’s only because regardless of the actual hierarchy, women were as central, as important, as valuable, as active.

They were just living their lives. 

And yet, seven of the eight writers are men.  The director is a man.  All ten executive producers are men.  Even so, they had THREE WOMEN discover life on Mars.  Three women, all by themselves.  They didn’t need a man to go with them to protect them.  They didn’t need a man to go with them in case they got lost.

Amazing.  Truly amazing.

And so truly … gratifying.  To see this.  To actually see this.

Thank you.

Porn’s Harmless and Pigs Fly

The fact that ‘you’ claim porn doesn’t harm women is proof that it does.  Because such a claim indicates that you are so accustomed to seeing women sexually subordinated you think there’s nothing wrong with it.  Such a claim proves that that porn has skewed your perceptions so much you actually believe the women are enjoying, asking for, whatever it is you see.  (They’re pretending, asshole.  They’re acting.  According to some guy’s fantasy script.  And they’re doing so because they’re getting paid.)

Such a claim also proves you haven’t read the research: for example, compared to those who did not watch porn, men who watched porn were more likely to have aggressive and hostile sexual fantasies, more likely to say that women enjoy forced sex, less likely to be bothered by rape and slashing, and more likely to consider women subordinate and submissive.

The research also indicates that males are starting to watch porn as young as eleven these days.

 

Testicular Battery and Tranquilizer Guns (what the world needs now is)

Given the relative vulnerability of men to sexual assault (all it takes to disable them is a swift forceful kick, or, at closer quarters, a good grab, pull, twist – almost anything, really) (whereas women have to be partially undressed and then immobilized), it’s surprising that we hear far more often about rape than – well, we don’t even have a special name for it.  Testicular battery?

Since most women are physically capable of such an assault, the reason must be some psychological social inhibition.  And, of course, this is so.  Girls are not permitted, encouraged, or taught to fight; boys are.  All three.  Women are socialized to see men as their protectors, not their enemies.  Men are – well, this is the interesting bit: men used to be socialized to see women as in need of protection, and so would never dream of raping them (well, okay, they’d dream of it – perhaps often and in technicolor – but there was a strong social stigma against assaulting the fair sex: boys were shamed if they ever hit a girl, and if you ever hit your wife, let alone another woman, well what kind of man are you?), but feminism got rid of such patronizing chivalry.

And rightly so.  Unfortunately, it has yet to make its replacement, self-defence, as commonplace.

There’s another problem.  We’re afraid that if we hurt them, they’ll come back (when they can walk again) and kill us.  Which is why women’s self-defence should include a small tranquilizer gun.

(‘Course they might still come back and kill us.  After all, to be decommissioned by a woman!  It would be a new kind of honor killing…)

Which means the best solution may be to just kill him first.

(And given the very real possibility that your rapist is HIV+, since he’s apparently not monogamous and/or in the habit of using a condom, it may not just be rape, but murder—in which case you’re justified in doing just that.)

Surrogacy – Why Not?

Sure, women should be allowed to be surrogates.  We all do work with our bodies, some of us also include our minds in the deal (some of us are allowed to include our minds in the deal), so why not?  As long as they get paid for service rendered.

Being a surrogate is sort of like being an athlete.  You have to be and stay physically healthy, for the duration: you have to eat and drink the right stuff, and not eat or drink the wrong stuff; you have to get the right amount of physical activity.  And so on.  It’s important.  Use during pregnancy of illegal drugs (such as crack cocaine and heroin) as well as legal drugs (such as alcohol and nicotine) can cause, in the newborn, excruciating pain, vomiting, inability to sleep, reluctance to feed, diarrhoea leading to shock and death, severe anaemia, growth retardation, mental retardation, central nervous system abnormalities, and malformations of the kidneys, intestines, head and spinal cord (Madam Justice Proudfoot, “Judgement Respecting Female Infant ‘D.J.”; Michelle Oberman, “Sex, Drugs, Pregnancy, and the Law: Rethinking the Problems of Pregnant Women who use Drugs”).  Refusal of fetal therapy techniques (such as surgery, blood infusions, and vitamin regimens) can result in respiratory distress, and various genetic disorders and defects such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus (Deborah Mathieu, Preventing Prenatal Harm: Should the State Intervene?)

To be an elite surrogate, Read the rest of this entry »

War Rape

It’s not just an enthusiastic spillover of violence and aggression.  The act of sexual intercourse is too specific, too far removed from the other acts of wartime violence and aggression.  Shooting a person twenty-five times instead of once or twice would be such a spillover; forcing your penis or something else into a woman’s vagina is not.  Furthermore, war rape is often not a spontaneous, occasional occurrence; apparently it’s quite premeditated and systematic.

And it’s not, or not just, a matter of ethnic cleansing.  If men truly wanted to eradicate the other culture, (and if they believed ethnicity was genetic), they’d just kill the women along with the men.  (Women are killed, but as I understand it, they’re usually raped first.)   (Or, sometimes, after.)  (And men are castrated, but not nearly as often as women are raped.)

And if they truly wanted to increase their own numbers, they’d hang around and see that the kid reached maturity.  (Raped women are sometimes kept prisoner until the child is born – but unless the kid is subjected to specific and exclusive cultural conditioning, how is their purpose achieved?  They’d have to look after the kids themselves for ten years.)  (Which is unlikely.)

And it’s not, or not just, a property crime against the enemy.  If men sought merely to destroy their enemy’s property, they’d, again, simply kill their women and children, along with their livestock, before or after they burned their houses.  (Unless, of course, they wanted to confiscate their property – in which case, they’d enslave the women rather than rape them.)

So what is it?  Read the rest of this entry »