all power to the imagination

i am a radical feminist, writer, and jewelry designer/maker who loves reading, collecting turquoise, and learning new languages.

Posts tagged rape culture

Mar 4
“By placing porn use within a cultural context, we can begin to see how powerful it really is. As boys grow up to be men, they are inundated with messages from the media, messages that both objectify women’s bodies and depict women as sex objects who exist for male pleasure. These images are part and parcel of the visual landscape and hence are unavoidable. They come at boys and men from video games, movies, television, ads, and men’s magazines, and they supply them with a narrative about women, men, and sexuality. What porn does is to take these cultural messages about women and present them in a succinct way that leaves little room for multiple interpretations. While there are some media images that can be read in a number of ways (called polysemic in media studies) by different people, gonzo porn, particularly-with its overt contempt for women and incessant story line of how women like to be humiliated and debased-delivers a clear message to men, who have already developed a somewhat pornographic gaze by virtue of being brought up in a society filled with sexist pop culture images.” Gail Dines, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality (via wretchedoftheearth)

(via the-uncensored-she)

Feb 18

Jan 27

Jan 17
“A recent study of college males studying psychology, published in 1997, found that 10 percent believed that it was acceptable to hit a female partner for refusing to have sex, and 20 percent believed that it was acceptable to do so if the man suspected her of cheating. Studies have found similar statistics regarding young men’s belief that they have the right to force a female to have sex if they have spent a substantial amount of money on the evening’s entertainment or if the woman started wanting sex but then changed her mind. These studies point to the importance of focusing on changing the entitled attitudes of abusers, rather than attempting to find something wrong in their individual psychology.”

Bancroft, Lundy (2003-09-02). Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (p. 59). Berkley Books. Kindle Edition.

Jesus Christ.

remember ladies: withholding sex is literally worse than rape or abuse. And this mindset has only gotten worse.

(via tr1angl3)

Jan 9
“Boys who allegedly drug a girl and then rape her, kidnap her, rape her again, photograph her, photograph her rape, urinate on her then create videos boasting about it, do it because they are fearless and entitled. (I wrote that sentence out deliberately because I’m sick of seeing “she was raped” — like she was an agent in her assault or that there was no real perpetrator.) These boys were not taught, by fully culpable adults, that these actions are morally repugnant crimes against humanity. Because we laugh about rape and mock people who object. Girls who witnessed these events don’t speak up because they have no faith they won’t be next, they have no confidence they will be believed, they’ve learned to internalize the contempt our culture has for them. After all, we teach our children that it’s acceptable for boys to be protected from shaming and punishment after they’ve sexually assaulted, and to attend schools where there are ‘rape factories’ and where frat boys play games like ‘who would you rape.’” Soraya Chemaly “Rape Has a Purpose” (via ellisonlangford)

(via womenorgnow)

Jul 30

In the 2008 documentary, The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality and Relationships, by Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun, a scene at a porn convention in Las Vegas shows a man saying women actually want and enjoy being controlled by men.

Regarding anal sex, a man shamelessly remarked, “every time a wife is mean to her husband … he secretly thinks in the back of his mind, ‘I’d like to fuck you in the ass!’ It’s just a way of getting back at his wife for all the bitching she’s been doing. That’s the attraction to anal.”

Is it really? If I’m confident and assertive, my boyfriend wants to penetrate me anally to inflict harm and teach me to be weak and submissive?

Nowhere is female inequality and sexual violence more glamorized than in the multi-billion dollar porn industry.

Here, men profit from female subordination while women become products, something to be bought and sold.

Kelly Blank, Porn is Gender Violence (via femalestruggle)

The thing that bothers me most about this quote is the guy’s complete lack of recognition that those kind of thoughts “in the back of his mind” are the product of porn that treats sex like a regulating measure, not a natural instinct. He’s so completely saturated in porn culture that it’s changed the way he thinks, and yet he is completely unaware of the changes.

(via nextyearsgirl)

(via nextyearsgirl)

Jul 22

Jul 14

According to the data provided by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there were an estimated 84,767 forcible rapes of females reported to law enforcement in the year 2010. That is 232 rapes every day of the year, or almost 10 rapes per hour. Along with this information comes the disturbing realization of the degree to which rape permeates our daily lives: ten times an hour, every hour of every day. Regardless of the severity of these statistics alone and the probability that these numbers are an underestimate considering only reported rapes and attempted rapes are included, there is a general refusal to acknowledge the degree to which we live in a rape culture.

The statistics mentioned above necessitate an examination of the elements of our existence, from the most basic needs to mental and emotional desires. If such an act of hatred and power occurs so frequently, there must be underlying concepts, myths, and dynamics conditioned into our society that perpetuate this heinous crime. All of these forces combine to form and maintain a rape culture, or “a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women … where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent” (Buchwald, Fletcher, and Roth XI). In a rape culture, women are viewed through a male gaze and are heavily objectified. They exist to fulfill man’s every need, with no regard for their own, and are subject to a “continuum of threated violence” that is “present[ed] as the norm” (Buchwald, Fletcher, and Roth XI). The problem with acknowledgement then, is that within its definition rape culture is quite an intangible force that lacks illustration and contains an overwhelming variety of manifestations. There are statistics, behaviors, parts of speech, and other media available as examples, but without a deep understanding of and background in feminist theory these examples may seem disjointed, unrelated, or merely exceptional examples of poor behavior that do not necessarily reflect systemic issues. This is understandable considering not every person living within this culture will swallow its myths whole, but we as individuals do not exist within a vacuum. As long as this society perpetuates the narratives of rape culture, so are we subject to them.

Rape culture saturates every level of our existence, from physiological needs to the desire for and process of self-actualization. In order to concretely demonstrate this it is necessary to include a template for human life in terms of individual needs and fulfillment. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an arrangement of essential facets of individual experience required for “development of quality of life” (Hagerty 249). If each of the five levels of the hierarchy is met, one can achieve completion and satisfaction as an individual. According to Maslow, the “chief principle of organization in human motivational life is the arrangement of basic needs in a hierarchy of lesser or greater priority” (qtd. in Hagerty), and the fulfillment of these needs “follows a fixed sequence” (Hagerty 250). The completion of one level is contingent upon the completion of its predecessor. If one does not meet the conditions of the first level, it is difficult to move on to the second, third, and so forth. Rape culture manifests on every level of the hierarchy of needs, from the most basic physiological needs to the more advanced goal of self-actualization. One who is a member of an oppressed group cannot fulfill every level of the hierarchy and reach the top because the needs of the oppressors take precedent and obstruct the fulfillment of the oppressed group. In a rape culture, the oppression of females infects the hierarchy of needs at each level, which hinders progression from one level to the next and complicates the ability of females to reach the ultimate fulfillment of self-actualization.

From the Introduction to “Examining the Manifestation of Rape Culture in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” a paper I wrote when I was 21.



If a child is born and raised in a Third World brothel to an utterly dependent, destitute prostitute, and is sold to men starting at the age of 8 or 9, then what does “consent” in her case mean, really?

Do people really believe that suddenly, the minute after the clock strikes midnight on her eighteenth birthday, she is capable of giving valid consent? Consent that would stand up to any scrutiny on ethical grounds?

When people see women just like her in porn on-line — young women from Vietnam, Thailand, Eastern Europe, Guatemala, Mexico, etc. — are these “porn stars” giving valid consent? Or have they been so beaten down, so subjugated by the people who have been providing them just enough crappy food to keep them “pretty”, sub-standard housing in a nasty brothel, no education except how to please “johns”, no cash lest they run away — since they were minors — for a terrible, terrible price — that any mythical “consent” is an abominable lie?

The thing is, when you see these young women on-line — with their dead eyes, their painted-on “smiles”, their utterly mechanical motions for the camera — you have no way of knowing if one of them was sold to a brothel when she was eight or ran away from a raping step-father at thirteen and was then ensnared by a drug-pushing pimp or if she woke up swimming in wealth and privilege the day she turned eighteen and decided that she wanted to supplement her trust fund and her college fund by making a few porn movies. The thing is, the odds are 99 to 1 that she is the former and not the latter, that she is little better than a slave.

How can any sane person “get off” knowing that the person being filmed for his pleasure is a performing shell of a human being who has been so severely abused for so long that the very idea of consent is as meaningless as the “consent” given by a cowering, shivering dog who has been beaten and abused by a fourth-rate, drunken circus trainer since it was a pup?

(via roseverbena-deactivated20120810)

Jul 11


It’s not about you: Beyond ‘kink-shaming’

Let’s just start by saying this: I really don’t care about ‘kink’ or about ‘kinky people’. It just doesn’t interest me. I don’t give a shit about your leather fetish. Really.

But because I recently dared to suggest that RCMP officer Jim Brown’s sadomasochistic behaviour might, just might, be related to the fact that we live in a pornified world that sexualizes violence against women and male domination, it was decided by the internet (and the internet never lies, folks) that I hated ‘kinky sex’/’kinky people’, that I simply don’t know enough about BDSM to be qualified to judge images that are very clearly fetishizing male domination, and that I think all people who are into BDSM are terrible, terrible people.

Basically, the response I got was exactly the same response I get every time I critique porn and prostitution and, in fact, was the EXACT same response I got from the burlesque community when I dared to suggest that burlesque wasn’t feminist. What was that response? “BUT I LIKE IT.” “IT’S MY CHOICE”. “IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD.” “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO.” “MEMEME.”

Well hey, here’s a wild idea! Maybe it isn’t all about you. Maybe the things that turn you on, make you feel hot, and give you orgasms aren’t *just* about your own personal, private, individual life. Maybe the things you do are shaped by outside forces like patriarchy. Maybe your actions have a larger impact. Maybe you didn’t spend your formative years deep asleep in a magical fairy cave only to awake from your slumber to suddenly and mysteriously have fantasies about hog-tying and raping women.

But hey, I get it.

People are defensive about their personal lives and private interests. Particularly when those interests are very much attached to their identities. If your entire conception of yourself is based on being a part of the BDSM community and you think that BDSM is just about the awesomest pass time ever then it might be hard to hear critique. It might be hard to digest the fact that, just because you really, really like something doesn’t mean that it is or should be free from deconstruction or critique.

I like makeup. I wear it almost every day. I think eyeliner is the best. I really like being able to cover up my zits and under eye circles. Does that make makeup an inherently ‘good’ thing? Does it mean that makeup is feminist and progressive because I am feminist and progressive? Does it mean that the only possible reason I could ‘enjoy’ wearing makeup is because I like it, point blank? No. Of course not. I wear makeup because I grew up in a culture that scrutinizes women’s looks and values their appearances above all else. I live in a consumer culture that invents flaws and insecurities in order to be able to sell us things that will ‘fix’ our flaws.

So makeup isn’t really the best. There are many aspects of the beauty industry that can and should be critiqued. But does that make me a terrible person because I wear makeup? No. Does it mean I’m not a real feminist because I wear makeup? Of course not. But it also doesn’t mean it’s perfectly fine and awesome and that I shouldn’t explore or acknowledge the fact that I wear makeup because I was taught and bought into the idea that, in one way or another, I was going to be judged based on my appearance and that I’ve been convinced and have convinced myself that I needed to wear makeup in order to avoid looking ugly and sick.

I’m not perfect. No one is. But every time someone criticizes the beauty industry, do I get all offended and up in arms and pretend like I’m being personally attacked? No. Because criticizing oppressive practices and an oppressive culture is not the same thing as saying that I, as an individual, am a terrible person….

(read full article at Feminist Current)

Jul 10

The Equality Illusion: Pornography


A selection of quotes on pornography from Kat Banyard’s The Equality Illusion. I’m putting them all in a text post so I can preface them with a TRIGGER WARNING for rape and sexual abuse because this entire section of the book had a really disturbing effect on me and I had to stop reading because I was getting so emotional on the Metro.

Read More

(via petitefeministe-deactivated2013)

Jun 17




Can You Tell The Difference Between A Men’s Magazine And A Rapist?



“Well, this is upsetting. According to a new study, people can’t tell the difference between quotes from British “lad mags” [known as men’s magazines in North America] and interviews with convicted rapists. And given the choice, men are actually more likely to agree with the rapists.”

See if you can.

“1. There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex … The way they dress, they flaunt themselves.

2. Some girls walk around in short-shorts … showing their body off … It just starts a man thinking that if he gets something like that, what can he do with it?

3. A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy fantasy.

4. Mascara running down the cheeks means they’ve just been crying, and it was probably your fault … but you can cheer up the miserable beauty with a bit of the old in and out.

5. What burns me up sometimes about girls is dick-teasers. They lead a man on and then shut him off right there.

6. Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl … no one wants to be shagged by a mouse … A few compliments won’t do any harm either … ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore’ …

7. You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches … The bitches are the type that … need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.

8. Escorts … they know exactly how to turn a man on. I’ve given up on girlfriends. They don’t know how to satisfy me, but escorts do.

9. You’ll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car … But you can usually seduce them, and they’ll do it willingly.

10. There’s nothing quite like a woman standing in the dock accused of murder in a sex game gone wrong … The possibility of murder does bring a certain frisson to the bedroom.

11. Girls ask for it by wearing these mini-skirts and hotpants … they’re just displaying their body … Whether they realise it or not they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a beautiful body, and it’s yours if you want it.’

12. You do not want to be caught red-handed … go and smash her on a park bench. That used to be my trick.

13. Some women are domineering, but I think it’s more or less the man who should put his foot down. The man is supposed to be the man. If he acts the man, the woman won’t be domineering.

14. I think if a law is passed, there should be a dress code … When girls dress in those short skirts and things like that, they’re just asking for it.

15. Girls love being tied up … it gives them the chance to be the helpless victim.

16. I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.

Answers. 1. Rapist, 2. Rapist, 3. Lad mag, 4. Lad mag, 5. Rapist, 6. Lad mag, 7. Rapist, 8. Lad mag, 9. Rapist, 10. Lad mag, 11. Rapist, 12. Lad mag, 13. Rapist, 14. Rapist, 15. Lad mag, 16. Lad mag”

and yet men and male apologists would have us believe rapists are just a minority of sickos? NO, rape ideology is mainstream patriarchy; rape culture is THIS culture.

i’m thinking of an occupy slogan: “the system is not broken; it was built this way.” that’s what i want to say about rape. in this culture, rape perpetrated by a man is not a deviant act. it’s not a case of a broken individual male, or of broken masculinity; it’s a case of masculinity functioning perfectly.

This is why feminists criticise heterosexuality, folks. I imagine it’s difficult to find dudes for healthy and happy het relationships when they are trained to be abusers and rapists who think women are sexbots.

This is disgusting. If anyone was wondering how men learn to rape, this is a chief example.

12 is from a lad mag??????

(via hermitess-deactivated20130325)

Jun 4

An Open Letter to Men Who Cry “Misandry”


Originally this was written as a response to a single inbox message, and then I got a couple more of them, and now it’s a letter to all of you. I am tired of you.

[TRIGGER WARNING: Rape, rape culture; eating disorders]

It must be exhausting carrying all this hate around, huh? You’re right! It is fucking exhausting! And if it makes me seem like a cranky, miserable bitch, then more power to me.

Do you know why I do it, though? You don’t really deserve an explanation, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

I do it because women’s bodies are sold and used to sell products and somehow this has become one and the same. Because a woman’s accomplishments will never be as important as her appearance in this society as it stands now. Because 65% of girls and women have reported eating disorders.

Because so many, many people — most of them men — tell me I am overreacting or hysterical or a cranky, miserable bitch when I talk about sexism. 

Because if I had a dime for every time some privileged, pompous ass doesn’t listen to me or tells me I’m wrong for no reason, really, just because he has a thing for Scarlett Johansson’s hair and doesn’t want to think about the fact that hey, maybe women are represented badly in the media, I could probably pay my rent for a year.

Because men feel entitled to tell me their opinions on women and entitled to be skeptical of my opinions on women as if I am not better able to comment, as if men are considered the experts on absolutely everything — oh wait, because the entire fucking news media thinks that they are.

Because I live in a world where I spend way too much of my time calculating the possibility that I will be assaulted. I do not know any woman who doesn’t do this. I do not know any woman who doesn’t constantly consider and reconsider the risk of her activities, even if she doesn’t do it consciously, even if she no longer thinks twice about going to the grocery store by herself — if she does it late at night, you can bet there’s a part of her that’s thinking it.

Because I live in a world where I have been told since I was single-digits young that men can hurt me. I live in a world where one out of six of my peers will be raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and 54% of those assaults will go unreported, and 97% of those rapists will walk free. I live in a world where nine out of ten reported rape victims are female-bodied and the vast majority of rapists are men. I live in a world where 2/3rds of the women who are raped are raped by people they know and trust. This is the world I live in. This is a world you don’t even have to think about. This is a world that allows you to feel entitled to tell me my opinions don’t matter to you because they were presented in a way that didn’t cater to your ego, and call me a “cranky, miserable bitch” in the meantime as if you have any idea of whether or not I am actually either of those things. 

So no, I do not need to be polite about your “counter-points.” I do not need to say “Ah, yes, good point,” when you’re not making a good point at all. You are not unique. You have said to me what literally hundreds of other men have said to me before.

And I don’t need to listen to your bullshit, or anyone else’s bullshit. Ever.

Jun 1
“Discussions on prostitution, pornography, and BDSM have suffered from this as well. Even in some “feminist” spheres, where people should presumably want to analyze how these predominantly male-profiting and female-utilizing fields are functioning in and affecting society, the discussion usually focuses on the women’s “agency.” If the women “want” to do it, in sex-positive circles, we will not look at the man behind the curtain. Pointing out that the majority of women in prostitution have been sexually assaulted during childhood, or have been the victims of sex trafficking, is taken as an attack on the agency of the women who do make those choices. The idea, apparently, is that prostitution, pornography, and so forth are completely kosher so long as the particular woman or women involved are “consenting.” The definition of consent, according to Random House, is “to permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield.” Consent is reactive, not proactive. To consent is to agree to something which has been proposed, not to make a proposal. The agreement doesn’t have to be enthusiastic or excited; consent just means there will be meaningful, voluntary compliance.” “Men’s Acts, not Women’s Choices: ‘Quantum Consent’” (via noanodyne)

(via yoursocialconstructsareshowing)

Page 1 of 2