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Thread: Gender and Violence

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    Registered User AmericanEagle's Avatar
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    Gender and Violence

    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    Yes, for the simple reason that a woman shouldn't need to cover herself up in order not to be raped - it is the responsibility of men to not rape a woman, not of a woman to make herself undesirable and therefore not entice men - the whole psychology is out of whack - woman should be able to wear whatever they want without fear of being violated - this whole notion of suppressing male violence by denying oneself sexual identity is backward and puts the blame of these acts onto the women themselves, for being "enticing" and "immodest" - in other words, for being human, and being beautiful.
    I brought this over from the “Burka” thread. I hope this is alright.

    I agree with what you said, JBI. Whenever violence is inflicted upon women, there is a tendency to blame the victim, such as saying: “She asked for it”, or “You can't thread a moving needle.” By blaming the victim, it absolves the culpability of the offender. This protects the patriarchal structure of society, and thus, rationalizes sexual violence. A normal male would never attack an innocent female, and so SHE must have done something to provoke the man. This was illustrated by a case in Wisconsin. A judge sentenced a 24 year old man to 90 days' work release for raping a 5 year old girl. The judge said that the girl was “unusually promiscuous”, and that it was she who initiated sexual contact. Really?

    In one of my WGS classes, a classmate was telling us about how a male friend told her that he can't help himself when he ogles or leers at a girl; it was only natural. My classmate then said that she told her male friend to unlearn this natural habit. The whole class (females only) thought that this was a witty comment.

    Unfortunately, women live in a state of fear because violence is a cornerstone of patriarchy. The ability to control women through violence and fear reinforces the patriarchal definition of “putting women in their place.” Many women are held captive by feelings of terror; fear that they will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As such, women often have feelings of anxiety when walking alone at night.

    In an unofficial study, an American professor asked her students whether they felt scared when they were on campus. The female students said that they feared walking alone to their cars / bus stop / subway station during the evening. (For me, though, I'm not scared when walking to the subway station after an evening class or exam because there are always so many people at the U of T campus at all times). The male students said that they never experienced any fear while on campus. Although there is no visible danger, women still experience fear and anxiety as a result of a culture that justifies violence toward women.
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    Jai Keshava NikolaiI's Avatar
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    I agree with everything you said, but there are other points as well... I get the impression that sometimes women who do reveal a lot of theirselves are actually more afraid, more insecure. I would never justify violence, it is most abhorrent. Yet also, women do attract attention when they dress in very tight clothes, revealing clothes, etc. What is the purpose of it? I am torn, because on one hand, I am deeply liberal and I know everyone's right to freedom. But on the other hand, I think modesty is much, much more classy, for lack of a better word.

    And then there are the men who are so expert in cheating the women to make them think, they must be sexy, and look sexy, and wear "sexy" clothes, or tight, revealing clothes, in order for them to be valuable, or to be attractive, or to get dates, etc. - so this is one angle of explotation you didn't mention. It's a complex issue with many angles.

    About rape, it's evils I believe extend to the whole mentality, of the culture... anytime we hurt another, it is another result of the same cause, a defective mentality. Rape is an extreme case of hurt. In various places of the world, it is different - well, in all places, the dynamics are unique. But in general, I guess it comes down to good vs. evil. I don't know really. But I do know that people often idolize the wrong type of people, and that could be a cause. People glamorize whoever is most charismatic; and oftentimes that person could be completely immoral. Emphasis is on the wrong things...

  3. #3
    Internal nebulae TheFifthElement's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanEagle View Post
    This was illustrated by a case in Wisconsin. A judge sentenced a 24 year old man to 90 days' work release for raping a 5 year old girl. The judge said that the girl was “unusually promiscuous”, and that it was she who initiated sexual contact.
    If that is true the judge ought to be sacked. Shocking.

    Quote Originally Posted by NikolaiI View Post
    Yet also, women do attract attention when they dress in very tight clothes, revealing clothes, etc. What is the purpose of it? I am torn, because on one hand, I am deeply liberal and I know everyone's right to freedom. But on the other hand, I think modesty is much, much more classy, for lack of a better word.
    Nikolai, I think it's a matter of drawing a line. Women may dress in a way which may seem to some 'immodest' but to the women herself 'sexy'. That's a matter of perception and opinion. The reasons for dressing in such a way are manifold and it is likely that the woman herself couldn't state, for certain, what those reasons are; it may make the woman feel more confident, she may, subconsciously or consciously, do so in order to attract male attention. But it's one thing to attract male attention (and therefore, presumably, give yourself the greatest choice of potential mate) and another thing to consent to sexual intercourse. A short skirt doesn't give automatic consent for sex.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    It makes no difference - if I was to come home and find a beautiful woman lying spread eagle naked on my bed, I would still need to ask for consent - the whole concept of enticement is not an excuse - either way, as far as I know, it is women who choose to dress themselves in "provocative" clothing, and has very little to do with men - the fashion industry is essentially dominated by women on all levels, and has minimal control, in the grand scheme of things, given to men.

    But then again, some women find it "enticing" to watch men work without a shirt on, or whatever, so it works both ways - as far as I am concerned it's healthy sexuality as long as nobody is violated.
    Last edited by JBI; 09-11-2009 at 02:20 PM.

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    Registered User AmericanEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    as far as I know, it is women who choose to dress themselves in "provocative" clothing, and has very little to do with men
    I think that women wear revealing clothes to impress or "show off" to other women.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanEagle View Post
    I think that women wear revealing clothes to impress or "show off" to other women.
    I think people exaggerate the "provocativeness" in general - I doubt people are going to gawk less at a bikini-clad girl on the beach than a sweater and pants-wearing girl on the street - I suppose beautiful people will be admired for being beautiful no matter what they are wearing.

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    Registered User AmericanEagle's Avatar
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    JBI, I left you a comment in the "School Bells" thread yesterday. Can you get back to me on that?

    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    I suppose beautiful people will be admired for being beautiful no matter what they are wearing.
    But there is more pressure for women to look beautiful or attractive in a patriarchal society. Women spend so much money and time on their hair, makeup, and clothes so that they can fit into the definition of hegemonic femininity.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanEagle View Post
    JBI, I left you a comment in the "School Bells" thread yesterday. Can you get back to me on that?



    But there is more pressure for women to look beautiful or attractive in a patriarchal society. Women spend so much money and time on their hair, makeup, and clothes so that they can fit into the definition of hegemonic femininity.
    Is it due to patriarchy or just materialism? I think the emphasis is put on between women to look good, and has very little to do with men - the really expensive things - notably designer clothing, high priced hair cuts, and fancy makeups, in the long run will probably go unnoticed by men, relative to the prestige placed on them by females - I am not entirely convinced the whole hegemonic femininity is really defined by patriarchy - there certainly is an historical relevance of men on the tradition - but by this point I think there is very little patriarchy involved, and has more to do with how women define themselves, rather than how men restrict/define women.

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    Registered User AmericanEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    I am not entirely convinced the whole hegemonic femininity is really defined by patriarchy
    Patriarchal society dictates that women be docile, submissive, obedient, nurturing, caring, and non-violent. When women do not possess these hegemonic feminine values, they are considered to be an anomaly. Canadians seem to dislike Karla Homolka more than Paul Bernardo.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanEagle View Post
    Patriarchal society dictates that women be docile, submissive, obedient, nurturing, caring, and non-violent. When women do not possess these hegemonic feminine values, they are considered to be an anomaly. Canadians seem to dislike Karla Homolka more than Paul Bernardo.
    The reason why, I would argue, Canadians dislike Homolka more, assuming that is true, is the simple fact that a) she got released from prison, instead of serving life as she should have, and b) there are all sorts of sympathizers, who try and make her out to be some sort of tragic victim, which is downright disgusting given the heinousness of the crimes she committed.

    Is it patriarchy that is desciding all of these feminine qualities? Of the ones you mentioned, the only really "bad" qualities are perhaps submissiveness, docility, and obedience - and even then, docility can be argued to be somewhat of a good quality - while the other mentioned qualities to me seem to be good ones, of which men can take good example from, and seek to emulate, as to better perpetuate a sense of "equality" amongst the sexes. But I cannot see how fashion is directly reinforcing patriarchal values - if anything, I would read it as a form of female expression, as, quite simply, men seem to not really give a **** about it, relative to the importance placed on the industry by females.

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    Registered User AmericanEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    The reason why, I would argue, Canadians dislike Homolka more, assuming that is true, is the simple fact that a) she got released from prison, instead of serving life as she should have, and b) there are all sorts of sympathizers, who try and make her out to be some sort of tragic victim, which is downright disgusting given the heinousness of the crimes she committed.
    I think the fact that Homolka is a woman plays a large part in her notoriety. It is not "normal" for a woman to be a cold-blooded killer.

    The same thing happened when Reena Virk was swarmed by a group of girls in Victoria, BC. The media couldn't stop focusing on the fact that the perpetrators were girls. They were like: "Girls are becoming more like boys! We need an intervention!"

    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    But I cannot see how fashion is directly reinforcing patriarchal values - if anything, I would read it as a form of female expression, as, quite simply, men seem to not really give a **** about it, relative to the importance placed on the industry by females.
    A few years back, it was all the rage for women to wear those Juicy Couture pants, and those French Connection UK shirts. Women chose to wear these clothes, and they felt empowered by them because they could supposedly reclaim their sexual agency and autonomy; they became sexual subjects, rather than sexual objects. But is that really a form of female expression, or is it just a re-sexualization and re-commodification of women's bodies? I'm leaning toward the latter.
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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanEagle View Post
    A few years back, it was all the rage for women to wear those Juicy Couture pants, and those French Connection UK shirts. Women chose to wear these clothes, and they felt empowered by them because they could supposedly reclaim their sexual agency and autonomy; they became sexual subjects, rather than sexual objects. But is that really a form of female expression, or is it just a re-sexualization and re-commodification of women's bodies? I'm leaning toward the latter.
    That still does not justify it being labeled a form of reinforcement of Patriarchal values. When a man wears a golf-shirt, or athletic shorts, is he reinforcing matriarchal values? What about if he goes to the gym to buff up his physique, is that a reinforcement of a sort of Matriarchy? Of course not, that's a ridiculous notion.

    The sexualization is brought upon by the women, for the sake of women - men have nothing to do about it, and really couldn't care less about women wearing track pants, as apposed to nylons, in the sense that they may think the clothing is beautiful, but they won't, in general, force women into wearing a certain fashion as to "please" them, assuming they are normal - it's easy to blame patriarchy everywhere, but is this really an expression of Patriarchy? If anything, I would wager it is just the more comfortable alternative in the post-working-woman-pants-suit-wearing era, where, if anything, female clothing has toned down in terms of gender.

    Provocative clothing is more a form of cultural rebellion than anything else, and, if anything, is cutting act percieved notions of femininity held by WOMEN, not men - is it the men who are looking down on it, or the women?

    Lets be honest, historically fashion has functioned, especially in the case of women, as a form of expression - just think of the scene where the women go out to buy clothes in Northanger Abbey, to get a decent idea - the actual process of looking good, functions as a) an expression of the times, and b) an expression of wealth - men, in the picture, barely function - women, for the most part, from what I read historically, have been, and are more interested in fashion as a means of competing against other women, not of enticing men - the emergence of Turkish trends in the 18th century, for instance, had nothing to do with Patriarchy - of course, something like a girdle can be seen as supporting a sort of patriarchy, if we choose to interpret it that way - and certainly trends from other countries, such as footbinding can be taken as such (to what degree, is another matter) - but where is the justification of this as a trend brought about by men? Couldn't it be argued that such extremes are brought about by women amongst themselves, as a way of asserting dominance over each other?


    I'm not completely convinced that new emergence in more comfortable clothing for women are reinforcing a sort of patriarchy - if anything they are just making women more comfortable (as I hear the new tight fitting Lulu Lemon pants are, though I've never warn them, so I can't tell you).

    Lets be honest, you don't see me claiming that the emergence of penis enlargement products for men is attributable to a female conception of man as phallic.

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    Registered User AmericanEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    I'm not completely convinced that new emergence in more comfortable clothing for women are reinforcing a sort of patriarchy - if anything they are just making women more comfortable (as I hear the new tight fitting Lulu Lemon pants are, though I've never warn them, so I can't tell you).
    I wasn't referring to the comfortability of the clothes. I was referring to the words that are written on the clothes; I guess I should have mentioned that. In the case of Juicy Couture, the word "juicy" is plastered on their butts. In the case of the French Connection UK, the words "fit chick, unbelievable knockers" are plastered on their chests.

    As for the lululemon pants, I'd buy them, but only if they weren't so expensive; they're, like, $100 CAD a pair.
    Last edited by AmericanEagle; 09-16-2009 at 07:55 PM.
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    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    I think it may be a case of a bit of both, I think that society and culture have created anreinforced the importance of dress and fashion to women, as a form of social identification, as it were.

    Also the idea that women need to constatly find ways to make them selves more attractive to men is sort of a side affect of a patriarchal society IMO, that is you do what you have to to keep those in power happy, its basic survival right?

    So its come about that the being 'attractiive' is important, well it also feeds into that ridiculous social idea that a woman must always be in a relationship of some description to be happy (I had a telemarkere tell me once I was unnatural because I didn't have or want a boyfriend, and frankly he wasn't he first or the last to put forward that opinion ) but it is normal, healthy and accepitable for men to be single and happy with it. My point is if I ever get o it that fashion helps to reinforce the myth, and is oppressive and worst of all women torture themselves all the time with things like fad diets ( I am not saying that never dieting or being obese is good but size zero chasing is just WRONG and unhealthy unless its your natural build) and stillitoe heels
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    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    So its come about that the being 'attractive' is important, well it also feeds into that ridiculous social idea that a woman must always be in a relationship of some description to be happy...
    Advertising of junk foods, results in many following the sheep in front to obesity and an early grave. Similarly, fashion causes many women to dress in a way that attracts maladjusted deviant males, who are even more vulnerable to fashion advertising and more addicted to the image presented. Gender's important because women rarely assault men.

    Who's to blame? The men, the women, their parents, the fashion industry and its advertising, and the culture and government that condones it. All these increase the risk to women. Probably such risk has always been present - a necessary part of being human - although the risk to women in some cultures is much higher than in others. That alone shows that something can be done to make women safer.

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