Tag Archives: Caitlan Moran

Policing Twitter is dumb

29 Jul

So the whole Jane Austen banknote thingy caused quite the uproar in the UK these past few days, particularly for a woman named Caroline Criado-Perez, who apparently spearheaded the push to have the banknotes that depicted 100% women.  The Queen is on the face of ALL banknotes, so they automatically have a woman on them, but whatever.  Some of the notes should have ONLY women, and none of them will have ONLY men.

bank notes UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/28/yvette-cooper-twitter-response-rape-threats?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Well, not until Charles becomes King, and then William after him, and George after him.  Christopher Hitchens was pretty pessimistic that the Royal Family would last that long, but if they do, THEN there will be some validity to the argument that there are no women on banknotes.

royal-family-1024x436

Further down the scale, though, the monarchic principle constitutes an obstacle to precisely that sense of responsibility about which we hear so much. It can’t be good for people to lead vicarious lives, made up partly of prurience and partly of deference, and fixated on the doings of an undistinguished and spoiled family.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/dec/06/monarchy.features11

I like how Hitchens disliked the monarchy because it’s an obstacle to the idea of responsibility. Hitchens was a big fan of owning your own shit.

universe

At least since Einstein, we have lived in a world where the discoveries of physics and genetics are far more awe-inspiring, as well as infinitely more liberating, than the claims of any religion. Yet somehow, our very idioms and vernaculars fail to rise to the moment. Even worse, we preserve the literal-mindedness of the age of ignorance; the epoch when our ancestors were taught to believe that the universe was man-centered and that everything revolved around us.

At the heart of this is the absurd and contradictory notion of “humility,” whereby believers consider it humble and self-effacing to appoint themselves the mere executors of a superior being. (“Don’t mind me — I’m just doing God’s will.”) This false modesty would be no more than irritating if it was not accompanied by insistent demands for real money, and real secular power over other humans, in the here and now.

http://atheism.about.com/b/2006/10/26/false-modesty-religious-humility.htm

Denial of personal responsibility, prurience, deference, living vicariously in a world conceptualized as revolving around ME ME ME, pretensions of humility when the real goal is to control others – sounds an awful lot like the Twitterverse, doesn’t it?

twitterverse1

I’m not much of a sports fan, but apparently there are a bunch of people in the UK who are really, really into watching grown men dressed in matchy-matching outfits chase a ball around, and they get really super emotional when the ball doesn’t go where they want it to.

fans

Not something I can relate to, but whatever.

There are all kinds of reasons sports fans get riled up at these games, and some fans are not very nice. When one of the players fucks up whatever he was supposed to do with the ball, he will be called all sorts of nasty, vile, mean, jerky, stupid things by the spectators in the crowd.  Some of those nasty, vile things will be racist.

abuse

That’s terribly unpleasant,  but par for the course when you make your living chasing a ball around, no? If fans were NOT deeply emotionally invested in where that ball goes, there would be no demand for professional sports at all.

The normal constraints on behavior tend to get chucked out the window when it comes to sporting matches, and people generally feel safe screaming and shouting and carrying on in a way that would be frowned upon in the supermarket. The Terry Tate, Office Linebacker ads are hilarious precisely BECAUSE they highlight the differences in what we consider acceptable behavior on and off the field.

I’m not a sports fan, and I think the Terry Tate ads are hysterical.

Sometimes the players get rough with each other, and they get a penalty for doing so, but we don’t view their behavior in the same light as we would view the exact same behavior out of the context of the game. Zidane didn’t like another player calling his sister a whore.  He responded with a head butt. Not something we would tolerate off the field, right?

Jesus, hockey players beat the crap out of each other, but in the context of the game, it’s all good clean fun.

The normal constraints on behavior simply don’t apply when it comes to our faux gladiators, and most people appear to be able to comprehend that what you can get away with in the arena is vastly different from what you can get away with on the street.

Twitter is just another arena. The normal rules don’t apply.  You can say things you would NEVER  say in real life.  That’s social media.  And if you don’t like the rules, well, get off Twitter.  No one is REQUIRED to be on Twitter or any other social media.  There are features on Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter that allow users to control their privacy settings, block annoying commenters, or restrict access to their information. The social media universe can be manipulated to conform to how a particular user wants to use that media.

blocked

It’s up to the user to determine what they are comfortable with.

Unless, of course, the user is a woman, and then it’s up to everyone else to conform to what she decides is acceptable behavior.

caroline

So here is what happened with Caroline.  She started a campaign to get the Treasury to issue bank notes that feature 100% women. The Queen on one side, and another woman on the other. She used her professional, public profile to garner support on social media, and on Twitter in particular.  Fair enough.  There’s the power of social media.

http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/shouting-back-at-twitter-rape-threats-20130729-2qul2.html

And, inevitably, not everyone agreed with her.  People called her all sorts of nasty things, and then some gigantic jerks decided Caroline is a good candidate for rape.

rapethreat

People are jerks.  Some people are super giant jerks.  Super giant jerks get really, really brave on Twitter and say shit they would never dare to utter in real life.

Who knew?

Caroline, naturally, wants all the benefits of social media, but she doesn’t want to face any pushback unless it comes in precisely the terms she finds acceptable. Now she’s on Twitter to change its entire business model so that she doesn’t have to deal with jerks.

She wants a “report abuse” button.  Report abuse to whom, Caroline?  To Twitter?  They are supposed to set up an entirely new system and monitor it so that you don’t have to deal with Twitter assholes?  There is already a system in place to ensure that.

It’s called “delete account”.

At this point, Twitter is pretty much ignoring Caroline other than to point out that there are terms of agreement for all users and that super vile users can in fact, be reported and have their accounts closed.

tony-wang-tweets

Are rape threats nice?  Nope, they’re not.  They’re pretty disgusting.  But Caroline, you are not a child, you are not entitled to decide what rules apply to everyone everywhere at all times and you do not get to impose your own sense of propriety on everyone else.

The United Kingdom is taking a very strange approach to how the rules work in cyberspace.  A 21 year old man named Liam Stacey was JAILED for posting an offensive tweet about an injured soccer player, on the grounds that it incited racial hatred.

“LOL. Fuck Muamba. He’s dead!!!”

No doubt, there were thousands of other people at the match saying the exact same thing to their seatmates, but Liam decided to reach out to all his absentee friends on Twitter and the courts responded by jailing him.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/student-who-mocked-fabrice-muamba-on-twitter-is-jailed-7591032.html

Because Liam is such a danger to the public, right?

Now, IF the UK is going to jail Liam, then yes, they should also be going after the troglodytes that threatened to rape Caroline.  And it looks like they are doing just that.

http://groupthink.jezebel.com/uk-man-arrested-after-threatening-feminist-campaigner-w-943713853

But it’s stupid.

If the police in the UK are prepared to arrest and jail everyone who has said shit on Twitter that they would never say in real life, they better get busy building a lot of new jails.  If the police are going to start arresting everyone who has made a rape or death threat on social media, they can stop by my site.

I’ll give them a whole bunch of names.

And in my case, those threats came from OTHER WOMEN.

But you know what?  I don’t want any of my little cowards arrested.  When I decided to write this blog and put my thoughts out in cyberspace, I accepted that it wasn’t going to be all love and kittens and unicorns farting sparkles and rainbows.

fart

I don’t need the Man to come and police my site.  I do that myself.  I don’t need the Man to come and arrest my haters.  I have a delete key that serves the same function.  And if it ever gets to the point where I don’t feel like I can handle the nastiness, I have an option:

Delete blog.

That isn’t gonna happen, no matter how many haters stop by with their lovely sentiments about rape and bloodshed.  Because I am able to grasp, for some strange reason, that trolls are really just cowards.  I wouldn’t be afraid to face down any of them in real life.

troll

Twitter is an arena where gladiators match wits with retards, all too often.  Sometimes those retards are really nasty and hateful.  And sometimes they are whiny suckholes who can’t take a hit once in a while.

crybaby

Personally, I like the game.  For the most part, people on my Twitter feed and blog comment in thoughtful, interesting, provoking, amusing and generally intelligent terms. And every one in a while, an asshole shows up and gets all brave.  That is the price for engaging with people I would never, ever have a chance to meet, if it were not for global social media.  I’m more than willing to pay it.

global

The game doesn’t need to change. Practically speaking, it’s not even possible to police every thought on the internet.  It’s a dangerous precedent to even try.  The players who don’t like the game have two choices:

Get out of the arena

or

Learn to play better

It’s that simple.

Lots of love,

JB

Just because I’m drunk doesn’t mean you can hit me with a car!

15 Feb

I like a drink. Sometimes I like one or two drinks. Sometimes I like to drink more than five cocktails and dance with my best friends, my hair as big as all the secrets that will spill out that night, lips loosened by gin and cigarette smoke.

dancing

Sometimes I’m sensible when I’m drunk and I walk home with a friend or get a taxi. Sometimes I’m stupid and I walk home by myself, stumbling into bushes and trying to kidnap any cat that crosses my path. Luckily nothing has ever happened to me whilst I’ve walked home alone, bar a period where I kept drunk ordering on Amazon and thought I had a secret admirer who was sending me thoughtful (if slightly random) gifts.

cat

Did I mention that I have to cross a busy highway to get home?  Lots of cars.  Kind of scary.  Most drivers are pretty good about not running my drunk ass over, but a certain percentage of drivers just don’t pay as much attention as they should, for whatever reason, and occasionally pedestrians get squashed, with varying degrees of injury.

 

Oh, I should also add that THAT’S AGAINST THE LAW!  Pedestrians have the right of way here, always.  No one is allowed, by law, to run you over with their car.

 

cars

I count myself lucky that every time I’ve walked home by myself, I’ve been fine. However, I keep seeing the same tired horrible point made in drink awareness campaigns focused at women – women shouldn’t drink too much and cross busy highways in case they get run over.

The linking of excessive alcohol consumption with getting hit by a car is ridiculous and crosses the dividing line between someone being responsible for the amount of the alcohol they drink and someone getting hit by a car and being partially responsible because they were excessively drunk. If I go out and get drunk and get hit by a car what am I responsible for? Being drunk? Being drunk AND run over?

It doesn’t matter if I walk around wasted and stagger along the unpaved shoulder of a highway at 5 am, it doesn’t give anyone else the right to hit me with their car. The only way to avoid getting run over is to not be in the company of drivers, which is unfortunately entirely impossible when you’re crossing a highway.

Duh.  Highways have cars!  That’s what they’re for!

This drink awareness tactic is often used when talking about precautionary actions to avoid getting hit by cars and links to a dangerous premise – if you take the argument that women ‘should not’ make themselves vulnerable to its logical conclusion what happens? So I go out in a short skirt, get pissed and stagger across a busy highway.

highway

If society says I should not have done that does my less than perfect driver get a lesser sentence to reflect this? Or no sentence? Who would decide what counted as ‘vulnerable’ or  enough alcohol? And in what way should it count against me? I just don’t get it.

‘Women shouldn’t drink too much and cross highways for fear of being hit by cars’ soon turns into “Well if she’d followed this advice she wouldn’t have been hit by a car” which turns into ‘It’s her own fault she got hit by a car.’ The conversation about responsible drinking is necessary and important in today’s society but it shouldn’t involve the correlation of pedestrian/car collisions. Drinking to excess carries many other risks that should be highlighted.

I have crossed many a highway while trashed but I didn’t deserve to get run over for it.  We are all responsible for our own behaviour of course, but no one deserves to get t-boned by a minivan when they are vulnerable. Taking preventive measures and following common sense rules are always important but with regard to car accidents, they can have little bearing on whether you become a victim or not.

But working to change the culture – educating and targeting people about pedestrians and changing driving attitudes DOES work. Women will never be able to win whilst we are told ‘don’t cross highways’ and ‘don’t be completely trashed’ whilst the statistics tell us that the majority of car collisions  do not happen to drunk chicks crossing highways, but rather in broad daylight when everyone is stone cold sober, and that many crashes occur in a place that the woman had previously viewed as a ‘safe place’, like their own street, or the mall parking lot.

mall

What I’m wearing, how drunk I am etc is one thing, but the majority of car accidents happen in situations where vulnerability is the result of trusting other drivers to follow the rules of the road. Adverts that say ‘don’t drink’ are brilliant and advice I should take more often.

I get what people are saying about “everyone should be careful with drinking”, but the thing is that the traffic accident prevention conversation is never couched just in those terms. Not making yourself vulnerable also apparently involves not crossing the highway when you can barely stand, not behaving in a way that could be interpreted as careless about your own safety, not blindly trusting drivers to watch out for you, not crossing highways in the dark etc.

So what is the obvious conclusion? To never walk anywhere a car might be, or to never drive your own vehicle, or to never engage in any activity that involves motorized vehicles? To only spend time with drivers you trust? To never leave the house? Oh shit, many accidents happen in the woman’s own driveway… So what? To move to a desert island with no cars of any kind? Or what? Because I’m seriously running out of options here.

island

THIS is why telling women and girls not to get drunk and cross the highway isn’t good enough. THIS is why focussing anti-car accident messages on women won’t stop car accidents. What we need is a sea change in how society views and understand women who cross busy highways while trashed. Telling girls to stay sober won’t help the cause.

In fact, by putting the onus on women rather than drivers, it does the opposite. Now where’s that gin?

******

Now, replace every reference to cars and pedestrians and accidents with RAPE. This is the article the brilliant team at Vagenda Magazine posted to defend women’s right to drink to excess and still be absolved of all personal responsibility in case they get raped.

And by rape, of course, they mean any sexual encounter that happened when a woman was drunk.  Drunk women, by definition, cannot consent to sexual activity, therefore all sexual activity is RAPE.

Drunk men?  Ssh.  Don’t be silly.  Drunk men are always accountable for their behaviour.

http://vagendamag.blogspot.ca/#!/2013/02/a-womans-right-to-drink.html

What can I say about this kind of nonsense?  Vagenda really wants to live in a world where women have no agency, no responsibility, no obligation to, oh, I don’t know, BEHAVE LIKE FUCKING ADULTS?

Grow up, ladies.  If you want to drink to excess, go right ahead.  But don’t think you can turn around and blame everyone else for the consequences.  Here’s a newsflash:  THE WORLD CONTAINS RAPISTS.  Also, really shitty drivers.

If you don’t want to get raped or hit by a car, take some goddamn precautions to protect yourself.  It’s really not that hard.

Lots of love,

JB

I don’t care how much you like it. Get out of the kitchen, bitch!

23 Jan

 

kitchen

New study by some ivory tower eggheads at the University of California, Berkeley!  I know, I know! You’re so excited already!  Researchers have noted that when women have decision-making power at home, they no longer give a rat’s ass about gaining power at work.  It seems that women, especially mothers, are intensely satisfied when they have the power to determine how their homes run, how their children are raised and what the family will be having for dinner.  Some women, get this, DON’T WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME AT ALL!

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/uoc–wmi011713.php

 

No seriously.  Apparently, there are adult, grown-up women who find sufficient meaning in caring for their families that they don’t spend one single second of their lives in a cubicle shuffling paper for cold hard cash.

 

cublicle

 

And that right there?  That’s a disaster.  Women who are satisfied by simply caring for their families are a national security threat.  The productivity of the nation is at stake here, people!  There are still men in power!  Men control the upper echelons of management in the workplace, because those stupid women are all “what shall I make for dinner and I hope Henry knows where his ballet shoes are for practice tonight”.  The wage gap?  That’s because women are happy taking care of their families and don’t want to play cut throat at work.

 

cut throat

 

Well, we can’t have that.  Men, it’s time to get on those rubber gloves!  It doesn’t matter what makes your wife happy.  That is irrelevant.  You need to drag that women out of the kitchen and send her back to work, no matter how much she protests.  This is about EQUALITY.  Happiness?  That’s for oppressed victims of the patriarchy.

 

This is Caitlin Moran.  Shut up!  She’s cute!

 

caitlin

 

Caitlin wrote a book called “How to Be a Woman”, and in it, she asks “what part of feminism is not for you?”.  And I don’t think she was joking.  Actually, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t.

 

Allow me to answer that question:  THIS, Caitlin.  This part of feminism is not for me.  The part that says I have no CHOICE but to measure my value in terms of money. That my happiness does NOT MATTER.  And it’s not a new idea.  The grandmother of modern feminism, Simone de Beauvoir said essentially the same thing:

 

simone

 

“No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

“A parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism…the [housewife’s] labor does not even tend toward the creation of anything durable…. [W]oman’s work within the home [is] not directly useful to society, produces nothing. [The housewife] is subordinate, secondary, parasitic. It is for their common welfare that the situation must be altered by prohibiting marriage as a ‘career’ for woman.” – “Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma,” Saturday Review, June 14, 1975.

http://www.conservapedia.com/Simone_de_Beauvoir

 

parasite

 

This version of feminism explicitly acknowledges that women WANT to be at home, raising the children she has with a MAN (children do not belong to women, Simone), and sets forth an agenda to deny women what they want.  Let’s give women no CHOICE in this matter, because ….

 

Why again?  Oh yeah.  The childless, unmarried spinster who chased her lover (who refused to marry her) around the planet and died alone DOESN’T LIKE IT.  Well, pardon me, Simone, but I don’t give a fuck what you like.

 

fuck you

 

It wasn’t always like that.  The women who led the early suffrage movements were all maternal feminists.  They wanted women to have the vote because as the mothers of the nation, they had a vested interest in how that nation was run.

 

nelly

 

A woman’s place is in the home; and out of it whenever she is called to guard those she loves and to improve conditions for them – Nellie McClung, Canadian feminist (1915)

 

The maternal feminists saw no conflict between women’s WORK in the home and a role in public life.  “They saw their maternal responsibility for children as the motivating force behind their reforming zeal. Motherhood became more than a biological, but a social function, which, if re-invigorated, could serve as a buttress against destabilizing social forces.”

 

belly

 

http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/features/timelinks/reference/db0015.shtml

 

So what happened?  Well, spoiled, pampered little middle class housewife Betty Freidan decided she was “oppressed” by her life of epic drudgery.  She had a “problem with no name”.  Then along came the single, carefree ladies like Gloria and Germaine and Helen Gurley Brown to proclaim that shit you can buy is way more important than children will ever be.  Of course, Gloria married, Germaine spent a fortune trying to have a baby long after the horse had left the barn and Helen, well, Helen can claim the triumph of convincing an entire generation of women that slutting it up was a meaningful way to live.

 

cosmo

 

Thanks, ladies!

 

I’ve been a housewife, oh sorry, parasite, for over ten years now, and I am so sick of hearing about how my life is invalid and stupid and worthless.  I have the qualifications to earn $100 000/year. Being at home has cost my family more than a million dollars in unearned income.

 

One. Million. Dollars.

 

You know what that means?  Absolutely nothing.  What is the value of a happy family? What price can you put on a life filled with daily joy?  How much are happy, stable, well-adjusted children worth?

 

children

 

I’m the CEO of my own life.  The architect of my own happiness.  The master of my fate.  The captain of my soul.  And that’s not because some progressive social movement came along and made it all possible.  Quite the opposite. I shouldn’t have that control and power over my own life at all, according to the lovely ladies of Second Wave Feminism.

 

The truth is I have the choice to forgo slogging it out in the “real world” because I have a man who gives me that choice.  My life rests on a foundation that he has laid.  Together, we have it all.

 

http://judgybitch.com/2012/11/16/no-you-cant-have-it-all-you-have-to-fucking-share/

 

marriage

 

There is no promotion in the world that could possibly mean more than that.  Turns out that most women feel just the same.  But they have been lied to, grievously.  Feminism peddles a story that being fulfilled by caring for others (unless done for cash) is a problem that needs to be fixed.  Older women have lied to younger women, and encouraged them to make the kinds of choices in life that ironically, give you no choices at all.  Go to college, borrow money, acquire skills, get a job, start repaying that debt, be single, be a slut, and if you DO have a husband and children, don’t ever make them a priority, even if that’s what you want most in life.

 

Get out of the kitchen, ladies.  Leave those children alone.  There are promotions and power to be had at work, and that is the only thing that matters.

 

Except that it’s not.  It never has been. What women need is NOT more money and more ambition and more power.  We need to build a world in which women DO have the choice to be at home. We need a society that RESPECTS and HONORS what makes women happy.   And we need a cultural change that teaches women that being at home, raising children and caring for a family is a wonderful way to live.  But it’s not free.

 

We’ll deal with that tomorrow.  For now, a shout out to the ladies who are happy being CEO at home. Forget about that corner office.  Leave it to the guy with a wife and kids at home.  And cut out early today.  You need to find those ballet shoes!

 

ballet

 

Lots of love,

 

JB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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