Monday, April 18, 2005

Very poor journalism

I am reluctant to even start on why this article is a disgusting outrage, and shouldn't have been published... And before anyone starts wittering on about "free speech", please don't bother. Who would publish an article suggesting that more extreme members of the civil rights movement were paranoid delusionals who "saw prejudice everywhere" and "set the civil rights movement back 20 years"?

Why is it that women's rights are the forgotten kid sister of the human rights movement over the last 100 years? One in 4 women is a victim of domestic violence in the UK, the conviction rate for rape is now around 6% the main reason given for the low rate being that prosecutors and police don't "believe" victims. We DO HAVE a problem with women's rights in the country, we DO HAVE a problem with women being persistently mistreated and abused, we DO HAVE a problem with widespread misogyny and abuse of women. Let us at least admit it and open up the debate on how best to deal with it.

While the likes of Havana Marking and Deborah Orr (in the Independent on Saturday) are insisting that Ms Dworkin was too ugly to have been raped, elsewhere we discover toddlers and pensioners are being raped. So that argument doesn't hold a lot of water. And why every article has to focus on her appearance is beyond me.

I hope Andrea comes back to haunt the lot of them!


Cruella said...

So why are the middle-aged, elderly and the very young often raped?

...and I could go on. It seems to me that a fair proportion of rape is not related to sexual attraction but to a deep-rooted misogyny and a desire to physically and mentally injure women. As such the outspoken Ms Dworkin might well have been seen as a particularly ideal victim.

Cruella said...

Yes good point, i offered far too much evidence for my previous points... remind me in future to offer none at all, just like the anti-feminist movement generally do.

So if there "are some very sick people out there" is it not entirely feasible that one/some such person/people raped Ms Dworkin in a hotel in Paris? Sometimes you seem to make my arguements for me.

Women produce a remarkably small proportion of violence, abuse and murder around the world. No, its not zero, of course not, although it is zero percent of rapes for obvious reasons. I won't give you the link in case you think it makes me "odd" (boy have i been called worse!) but the FBI statistics suggest that 91% of murderers in the US are male.

Of course Andrea Dworkin didn't destroy feminism. Feminism's still here. You're talking to one dude...

Cruella said...

I was actually responding to your point that she was "too ugly to have been raped" by pointing out that persons not considered attractive are regularly the victims of rape. My point is that that is an invalid arguement. In explaining that to you as it happen I think I'm highlighting another point that Ms Dworkin made repeatedly - that rape is not related to sexual attraction but to power wealding, abuse and physical violence. Related in fact to men's underlying hatred of women...

Andrea Dworkin has not taught me to hate 50% of the world's population. Your comments are pushing me further and further in that direction though. I have had this conversation before on here. When 1 in 4 women in the UK is a victim of domestic violence and only 6% of reported rape victims are "believed" by police, prosecutors and courts, there's substantial evidence for widespread woman-hating. The reverse is remarkably rare in the circumstances.

There are actually quite a lot of feminists around. And the attitude you have demonstrated will soon have hundreds more signing up to the cause. Thanks for that.

Cruella said...

Actually I used the examples of the fact that 1 in 4 women is a victim of domestic violence and only 6% of reported rapes lead to a conviction as evidence for men's underlying hatred of women. That's not "extrme and very rare deviant behaviour" - thats 25% and 94%.

Now read back through the earlier comments. This comment run was started by you suggesting that Dworkin was "too ugly to have been raped", an agruement I have now, I think you'd have to agree, fully dealt with.

Now let me run you through a few quick pointers on the rest of your pathetic comments...

1. Women who are married and who have kids are not precluded from being feminists. And a lot of them are.

2. Actually Andrea Dworkin was married. Check your facts.

3. I don't select my "heroine"s based on looks.

4. I'm neither confused nor gullible thank you. Or at least not confused or gullible enough to swallow the sort of nonsense you are wittering on about.

Cruella said...

Now let me quote your whole paragraph here:

"You use these examples of extreme and very rare deviant behaviour to construct an argument that men have an under lying hatred of women."

Not at all. I use these examples of rare and deviant behaviour to construct an argument that persons generally considered sexually unattractive can be victims of rape.

Now seperately, I use the TRUE FACT statistics on domestic violence and rape to construct an arguement about underlying hatred of women.

My data is from the home office. Where is your data about "the overwhelming majority of married women are not feminists"?

Here's the evidence for mine:

The domestic violence "1 in 4" campaign:
The latest rape conviction rate and explanation:

Now I can't find much good UK data but I can report that:

"a Newsweek/Gallup public opinion poll that showed the majority of women (56%) in the United States self-identified as feminists. Most polls since then reveal that this majority continues with over two-thirds of young women self-identifying as feminists. Most men, especially young men, view themselves as supporters of the women's rights movement."

Thats from the Feminist Majority Foundation

If you're going to insult me and insist that that is just "your opinion", then fine. In my opinion you must have a really small dick.

Cruella said...

I treat it as practice for my stand-up comedy career...

handdrummer said...

For what it's worth, Mr. Bill, a lot of us guys identify as feminists as well. I frankly can't see how being in favor of equitable treatment of a person regardless of their sex or gender is controversial in even the slightist way. Are you stating that you believe in your natural right as a male to oppress women? My how 18th century of you.

blogsbywomen said...

I think you've missed the point of the story here -- or maybe you didn't.

The author is not dismissing rape numbers. The author is not dismissing domestic abuse numbers. What the author has done is state that Dworkin feminists have relegated all women to nothing more than victims, even if we don't feel we're victims. That, I have a huge problem with.

Also, the author wasn't calling Dworkin ugly, the author was pointing out that many people used her looks against her. Pointing something out isn't a bad thing.

In addition, the author was pointing out that Dworkin stated that the only man that didn't hurt a woman was a dead man. I find that really hypocritical since Dworkin's life partner was indeed a man.

When I studied Dworkin, I was really disgusted with much of her work. I am very well aware that women are raped and abused at incredible rates in this country and all over the world. But, I am aware of a few other things also:

1. We, as women, are perfectly capable of making our own decisions when it comes to pornography

2. Women are just as capable of abusing women

3. Women create pornography and women willingly participate in sex work

Now, all that evidence you pointed to is all well and good, but it really doesn't address the point of the Guardian story. The point of that story was how divisive Dworkin's work was to the feminist movement. No one was disputing what the rape numbers were.

Cruella said...

Why is it an insult suddenly to be called a "victim"? You say that Dworkin has "relegated all women to nothing more than victims". Are you missing the point that its the victimiser who is in the wrong, not the victim? I think if you're raped, and worse if you're raped and not believed when you tell people, or if you're beaten up by your partner, or indeed if you're passed over for promotion at work or treated as a second-rate citizen, then you're a VICTIM OF PREJUDICE AND HATRED. And that doesn't make you a bad person. It might even make you stronger and more determined to overcome this kind of thing next time around. Dworkin wanted women as a collective to recognise the wrong being done to us and thus to empower us to fight back. If you want to "not be a victim" you have to pretend there's no prejudice out there. If that's your attitude then you're living in cloud cuckoo land!

And if Dworkin said controversial things which had feminists questioning their own convictions then great, that's what a movement needs: liberals and radicals as well as moderates. What is divisive to feminism is that there are people out there who are afraid of us. People getting away with rape and abuse, people who know they've only got the jobs and power and money they've got by keeping women back, and those people will do anything they can to stop us.

I certainly wouldn't argue with you that there are some women also caught up in the cycle of women-hating. Sometimes because they think its the best way to preserve their own interests and sometimes because they've been swept along in it so far that they honestly believe they're doing the right thing. One of the hallmarks of oppression is that the victims (yes VICTIMS) are often complicit in their own abuse.

If I'm perfectly capable of making my own decisions about porn I'd like to not have to see it all over the windows of my local corner shop every time I go in. I'd like to not have to sit opposite people reading it on the train in the morning. Instead I live in a society where if someone suggests it should be banned then even other women - like yourself - will take every opportunity to insult her.

...well I'm not with you on that one. I think she's entitled to her opinions and I think she deserves a fair hearing. I also think on a large number of points, she's right.