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What do men see when they see Page 3?

SERIES: FROM THE HETPAT ARCHIVES

Note: Four months on from writing this, Rupert Murdoch has yet to announce the scrapping of Page 3 in the Sun.  However this week he has announced that they’re abolishing the patronising little speech bubbles ‘News In Briefs.’ Sarah Ditum has applauded the decision at the New Statesman. Her argument is persuasive, I think, except for where she digs up the same myth about male sexuality that I took on here.

First published, February 12th 2013

 

So Rupert Murdoch has hinted on Twitter that he may be rethinking his 40 year mission to deliver a daily couple of nipples to the breakfast tables of the nation.

In a reaction on Comment is Free, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett argued that nudity is not the principal problem with Page 3. “The presence of a few designer labels in the crucial areas makes little difference if the poisonous attitude remains the same,” she wrote. I broadly agree. My general take on the issue is that The Sun is a paper which peddles the exploitation, vilification and undisguised hatred of, well, just about everyone. The focus on Page 3 seems to me to miss the broader point, but more precisely, my problem with the tradition is not the nudity, but the way that it uses women as decoration, implying that a woman’s most significant role in the news media is to provide eye candy for a predominantly male market. Related to that, my main problem with the campaign against Page 3 is that by focusing on the nakedness, it veers rather close to an anti-nudity, even anti-sexuality narrative. It seems to say that exploitation is just fine, so long as you keep the boobs covered up.

While I generally agreed with Rhiannon’s main point, there was one paragraph in the article that betrays a profoundly mistaken view of what Page 3 is and does, and how it is viewed by men. It’s an extreme example of an argument that is often made by feminists within this debate.

I remember, as a teenager, how awful it was to be sitting next to a man on the bus leering at Page 3. I remember the embarrassment, the discomfort, at the lascivious drool coming from his chops, and the physical revulsion at his presumed erection from looking at a girl pretty much the same as me

…it’s about the sense of entitlement, the presupposition that an entire page of a national newspaper should be given over to the sexual gratification of men

Of course one can never underestimate the diversity of human personality and sexual behaviour, and I need no convincing that women experience the most rank sexual harassment and intimidation on public transport. I will take it on trust that at some point(s) in her life Rhiannon really did find herself sitting next to some freak who was “leering at Page 3” with “lascivious drool coming from his chops” in such a way that she presumed he had an erection from all the “sexual gratification” on display. I do, however, strongly reject the implication that this is how men typically view Page 3.

Straight men generally find pretty young women attractive. They are drawn towards them. Pretty young women with clothes on are attractive, and pretty young women with fewer clothes on are even more attractive. Boobs are nice to look at. I don’t think I’m sticking my neck out too far in making that assertion.

Murdoch started putting semi-naked women in his newspapers back in 1970 to attract buyers, in exactly the same way that car show exhibitors drape models over the bonnets of their cars. He figured that if men are attracted to women with their tops on, they would be even more attracted to women with their tops off. And he was probably largely correct about that.

However attraction is not the same thing as sexual arousal. If images in The Sun or any other paper were genuinely sexually arousing they would actually lose readers. Murdoch has always wanted The Sun to be something that families could have lying around the breakfast table. That’s why the classic Page 3 look has always been strangely sexless and innocent, all happy cheerful smiles rather than the sultry, seductive pouts of pornography, even softcore porn.

Here is a fundamental truth about men: we hate getting erections at inappropriate moments. It is embarrassing and (literally) uncomfortable. The greatest horror is to get an erection at work or when surrounded by your mates. Men (and teenage boys in particular) develop all kinds of squirming techniques and tactics to try to disguise them. If we thought reading the Sun was likely to produce spontaneous erections at inopportune moments, we wouldn’t buy it, or we would but would keep it hidden under the mattress with the porn mags.

I suspect one of the reasons why Murdoch is now considering covering up the nipples on Page 3 is because he realises that they’re not actually that important a part of the equation. He started using them 40 years ago because he thought he could get away with it and it might add to sales. He now knows he could take them away and it wouldn’t really make any difference, because the nipples really aren’t what it is all about.  The likelihood is that Murdoch can grant campaigners their victory, get some good PR, and continue to use women in the same exploitative, sexist, decorative way he always has.

There is a tendency among some feminists to assume the worst of male sexuality. I understand where that has come from, but it can lead debates on topics such as sexualisation, porn and objectification to be conducted rather at cross purposes, and to generate a lot more heat than light. I don’t doubt for a moment that when a woman (especially a very young women) sees a man looking at The Sun, and specifically Page 3, she might be made genuinely uncomfortable by it. She may genuinely believe that the man is awash with lust, drooling with sexual gratification and sheltering a raging boner underneath his newspaper. I would suggest that unless the man has just escaped from decades in a monastery or is about 12 years old, this is almost certainly not the case. Much more probably he is thinking something like “she’s cute, nice tits, what a ridiculous speech bubble they’ve given her. Wonder if United will win tonight.

Perhaps there was a time when Page 3 was still sufficiently new, daring and shocking to produce a frisson of genuine sexual excitement, but those days had passed long before even I hit puberty  – a long, long time ago. When I was 13, round about 1980, we boys were on a perpetual hunt for sexual stimulation of any kind. Copies of Mayfair and Penthouse would be dealt and shared like valuable contraband. Even then Page 3 would barely register. It was what you might wank to if you couldn’t get hold of your mum’s Kay’s Catalogue lingerie section.

This wouldn’t matter too much were it not for one nagging concern. I can’t help thinking that the reason many women suppose that Page 3 is the salient tip of a huge iceberg of slavering male sexual desire is because so many other women have told them that Page 3  is the salient tip of a huge iceberg of slavering male sexual desire. Perhaps it is time to turn the page on that particular myth.

I have no wish to undermine or resist feminist campaigns against Page 3, on the contrary I think it we’d have a slightly better society without it. On the other hand, I’d prefer if we could have that debate and that campaign without the need to further demonize male sexuality. Whatever Page 3 might be about, it is really not about sex.

 

Comments

  1. rachelholmes says

    Well put, Ally. I support the nomorepage3 campaign but am put off by anti-nudity rhetoric and derogatory stereotyping of male (hetero)sexuality.

  2. voidhawk says

    very good assessment. This line, in particular raised a smile of recognition:

    “It was what you might wank to if you couldn’t get hold of your mum’s Kay’s Catalogue lingerie section.”

    Pge 3 is not really any more titilating than a poster of a Ferrari or an Aston Martin (The connotations there in regards to objectification are cause for concern, however.) It’ll be passed around the break room on a building site with the accompanying crude remarks “Cor, look at the knockers on ‘er!” then forgotten.

    If anyone is really drooling with barely constrained animal lust over Page 3 I worry for their mental health.

  3. Copyleft says

    “There is a tendency among some feminists to assume the worst of male sexuality.”

    A ‘tendency,’ Ally? You’re being far too charitable. It’s a core doctrine among modern feminists that male sexuality is inherently evil.

    “my problem with the tradition is not the nudity, but the way that it uses women as decoration, implying that a woman’s most significant role in the news media is to provide eye candy for a predominantly male market.”

    Handy tip: Any time someone veers away from the facts to describe what those facts “imply” as ‘the real message,” they’ve shifted from rational discussion into paranoid speculation. Kind of like the women who confidently declare that pornography is “all about female degradation, and that’s what men like about it.”

  4. says

    When I was young my older brother would scare me with stories of how terrible men are, that they’d leer and cat call and touch me at the drop of a hat.

    I think part of the reason that male sexuality is stereotyped in such a way is because it’s easier to treat it as something terrible and horrible, something to scare the young children into being good and remaining within their parent’s care until they’re safely wed. If male sexuality is something that’s uncontrollable then it’s easier to control those that might be threatened by such an uncontrollable force.

    Obviously I don’t agree that it’s uncontrollable. And I’ve been with enough men to know that it’s nothing in the least bit terrible.

    Thank you for writing this, Ally. I’m pleased to have come across your work and able to see both sides of the gender issues. I think the more of us that work together to make this world better for all genders the easier it will be.

  5. rachelholmes says

    So the vilification of male sexuality is a core feminist doctrine and semiotics is paranoid speculation. Good to know.

  6. Adiabat says

    Copyleft: “It’s a core doctrine among modern feminists that male sexuality is inherently evil.”

    I think “core doctrine” may be a bit strong. It definitely shows up in some of the Page3 campaigning feminist groups (I’m thinking of UK Feminista and Object in particular) rhetoric, which is what Ally is objecting to in the OP. It’s sexist and any decent feminist involved in those campaigns should be putting just as much effort into discouraging the groups from doing that. That’s if they care about the moral high ground at all.

    I agree with you about this though:

    “Any time someone veers away from the facts to describe what those facts “imply” as ‘the real message,” they’ve shifted from rational discussion into paranoid speculation.”

    It’s akin to making up the problem based on what you imagine rather than something real. Bit like the TV/Radio/Video Games “corrupting kids” or “melting their brains” moral panics.

  7. Schala says

    I think part of the reason that male sexuality is stereotyped in such a way is because it’s easier to treat it as something terrible and horrible, something to scare the young children into being good and remaining within their parent’s care until they’re safely wed.

    So like the fairy tales from the Grimm’s times? They used to be a lot more violent, a lot more gory, and a lot less happy ending. They were cautionary tales of the “don’t wander off”, intended to scare kids off.

    Copyleft: “It’s a core doctrine among modern feminists that male sexuality is inherently evil.”

    I think “core doctrine” may be a bit strong. It definitely shows up in some of the Page3 campaigning feminist groups (I’m thinking of UK Feminista and Object in particular) rhetoric, which is what Ally is objecting to in the OP.

    It’s very Victorian and very conservative though. One more point where feminism joins conservatives at the hip.

    In fact, where conservatives and feminism theory often agrees – is on attitudes about men. Wether male sexuality, or male behavior. They just disagree upon it’s source.

    Conservatives think it’s biology, genetics, or hormones, which causes men to be raving uncontrollable beasts who need to be tamed by women through marriage. They would rape any woman who does the slightest to invite them sexually. They beat people just for fun and at the slightest provocation.

    Feminism theory thinks it’s socialization, society/patriarchy, which causes men to be raving uncontrollable beasts who need to be tamed by feminism through being taught not to rape/not to beat their wife/to treat women equal. They would rape any woman who does the slightest to invite them sexually. They beat people just for fun and at the slightest provocation…and are taught (by who?) to love oppressing women for its own sake.

    See how similar?

  8. says

    I’ve spent very little time in the UK (mainly a couple of separate weeks in Scotland for conferences), so I don’t know the answer to this question: Are there billboard ads in the UK that feature topless women?

    I’ve seen such ads in several non-UK European countries. Quite took me aback the first time, because … well, that wouldn’t fly in the US at all. Our Puritanical roots run very deep.

    The point of this is that I was under the impression that non-US countries in general were much more relaxed about such things. To the point where even a billboard with a topless woman was no big deal.

    I totally agree with your assessment of the rest of it.

    Perhaps some women may be under the impression that men don’t have any control over their bodily processes — nor the desire to keep those processes under control. We’re just slavering, lascivious animals, erections at the ready, waiting to pounce.

    It’s a wonder we get to the office on time.

    This is not to deny the fact that Japan apparently has a serious problem with women being groped on their notoriously overcrowded subways. But in the ROW, it seems that such incidents are rare enough that they become “BIG NEWS”. Even in New York City, I can remember maybe a handful of incidents from my 20 years of living there. They make the papers because they’re rare incidents. And usually involve someone mentally ill and/or homeless (the overlap between the two categories in NYC being substantial).

  9. Adiabat says

    Kevin: “Are there billboard ads in the UK that feature topless women?”

    Underwear is about as far as we go, for men and women (obviously we have topless men on billboards, and the sides of buses recently). We could have a topless women if it was in profile hidden in shadow or something so it is more ‘suggestive’ than explicit.

    The impression I get is that UK is about halfway between the US and Europe on attitudes to nudity. Most people are generally quite relaxed about page 3 with an attitude of “just don’t buy it then”. I get the impression it is a puritanical few who are pushing the nomorepage3 campaign, and a few ideologues who’ve taken too many Women’s Studies Classes and have to rely on “implications” to make it into an issue.

    I’m surprised Murdoch is listening to them tbh, they are hardly the reader base of the Sun.

  10. Adiabat says

    In fact the main reason I’m not pushing the ‘influential feminist’ argument in this case, unlike other threads, is because I don’t believe that UKFeminista and Object are that influential. Unlike the Fawcett Society and Women’s Aid etc most people see the nomorepage3 campaign as a bunch of nutters, which is another reason why I’m surprised Murdoch is listening to them. I just hope they fail in their recent legal arguments and the government doesn’t listen, otherwise I may have to take them seriously.

    P.S No offense to anyone here intended. Just stating the “general mood of the public”.

  11. says

    Interesting. I don’t really know how I “feel” about the Page 3 issue myself. On the one hand, merely having a photo of a “pair of boobs” as a selling point seems to me to be aiming an an audience of mindless boobs.

    But sex (ie, attractive people) sells. Everywhere and all the time. I don’t really see this as being much different from using Beyonce to sell whatever it is that she sells.

  12. Adiabat says

    “mindless boobs” are people too! ;)

    “I don’t really know how I “feel” about the Page 3 issue myself” is the most common reaction really, in that people are almost indifferent to it and are happy to live and let live. No harm from it has actually been shown and any arguments are unconvincing to most people; yes it’s a bit dated but so’s a lot of things. Most people don’t buy the Sun because it has page three, so getting rid of it won’t hurt sales, but then… meh I can’t continue writing about the topic. Like I said it’s just a non-issue for most people in the UK. Live and Let Live.

  13. Lucy says

    What myth?

    That Page 3 makes men tumescent?
    Well if it’s not meant to be arousing, why use secondary sexual characteristics in the pictures? The fact that it might fail to arouse and merely attracts is not through want of trying on the Sun’s part.

    Or that arousal serves as an effective delivery mechanism for propaganda?
    You haven’t addressed that in this article.

  14. says

    @Lucy: Why do Abercrombie and Fitch use the models they use? To arouse sexual excitement? Or to stimulate a purchase?

    If one is “sexually aroused” by Abercrombie and Fitch ads, the ad department is not doing its job. The goal is to attract without arousal. I would assume the same of Page 3.

    My question upthread was addressing whether secondary sexual characteristics (ie, female toplessness) in the UK were the norm for advertisements. It appears not.

    So, is a mere photo of female toplessness enough to make a man tumescent? Is that the goal of Page 3? To get dicks hard? I sincerely doubt it.

    But is it an unintended consequence? You’ll have to rely on the reports of those with penises — and we’re telling you that isn’t the case.

    Is Page 3 objectifying women any more than Abercrombie and Fitch ads? Dunno. Probably less so, IMO, since the A&F ads are pretty overtly on the edge of where attractiveness-meets-sexuality.

    You might be interested to know that in North Carolina (the state where I live), it is not against the law for women to go topless. In fact, there’s an annual topless rally which is attempting to make female toplessness as normative as male toplessness. No arrests have been made, despite howls of protest from the religious right.

    Again, I’m not sure how I feel about this position. But I’ll tell you that if you’re banking on “tumescence” as the deciding factor, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.

  15. abear says

    Lucy@13; Back in the good old days they used to have skirts to cover up furniture legs so it didn’t drive men into uncontrollable lust.
    Don’t listen to the libertines here that claim men can control their penises when they see naked lady parts, whether they be legs, arms or eyes and tell your sisters and yourself to wear your burqas at all times!
    Anything else just contributes to our moral decline.

  16. ildi says

    In fact, where conservatives and feminism theory often agrees – is on attitudes about men. Wether male sexuality, or male behavior. They just disagree upon it’s source.

    Conservatives think it’s biology, genetics, or hormones, which causes men to be raving uncontrollable beasts who need to be tamed by women through marriage. They would rape any woman who does the slightest to invite them sexually. They beat people just for fun and at the slightest provocation.

    Feminism theory thinks it’s socialization, society/patriarchy, which causes men to be raving uncontrollable beasts who need to be tamed by feminism through being taught not to rape/not to beat their wife/to treat women equal. They would rape any woman who does the slightest to invite them sexually. They beat people just for fun and at the slightest provocation…and are taught (by who?) to love oppressing women for its own sake.

    Interesting hypothesis you have there, buckaroo! What’s up with the “men are raving uncontrollable beasts” thing? Who are these conservatives and feminists?

  17. Schala says

    Who are these conservatives and feminists?

    Anyone who argues against rape by men only, thinks men need to be taught to not rape, that men “think only about one thing”, that men “will do anything to get it”, that men “always want it” (ie perpetual consent, but also scary). Anyone who thinks DV is clearly one-sided patriarchal violence (by men), with very few female perpetrators who are probably only fighting in self-defense or for mental illness reasons.

    Anyone who warns their daughter against bad men, but thinks their son is fine, because bad women don’t exist or are very rare.

  18. ildi says

    Do you know a lot of conservatives and feminists who see things in such black-and-white terms?

  19. Schala says

    I know very few people personally. And I want to affect change globally, not within a small circle of 15 people.

    I go by what media says. And media says only men are perpetrators. That we have to tell men not to rape. That women raping is no problem, no issue, not even a good amount. Female pedophiles? Can’t even exist apparently. And DV is presented officially (as a whole) as “violence against women”, worldwide.

    Anyone who support such campaigns. Are those I mean.

  20. smrnda says

    First, I’d like to say that I don’t think anyone that I’ve ever talked to, even self-described radical feminists, believes that *all* men are lascivious perverts or potential rapists. It’s perhaps common, probably stands out a lot and is perhaps encouraged by media or our culture in some way, but plenty of men *don’t* rape women or yell sexually explicit comments at women walking by, so it seems fairly evident that plenty of men don’t have this problem and those that do are making excuses. Then again, I’m young and I didn’t live through second wave feminism.

    On the issue of ‘teaching men’ (or I could expand this to attempting to teach anyone not to engage in a negative behavior) there are going to be people who will not need the lesson, though there will be some who do, and I think well constructed educational materials can do a good job. The university I worked or years back did a video on racial sensitivity that I thought was good, where the feedback from white people who saw it was that it was helpful and didn’t make them feel like they were automatically bad. I’ve seen rape prevention education handled well and handled poorly.

    In terms of the nudity, I really don’t think this is too different from a lot of adverts which pretty much just depict women as eye candy. I’m not sure that you can ever examine nudity without putting it in the context of how it’s depicted and how and where it is viewed, and the general attitudes of the society. Sometimes nudity is brave and subversive, other times its trite and banal, and can even be dehumanizing. Sometimes I’m not even sure how to categorize something I see.

    I wish knew more about the UK scene since I don’t feel like I know enough to really put this in context.

  21. ildi says

    I go by what media says. And media says only men are perpetrators.

    That is not the same as “conservatives and feminists say men are uncontrollable raving beasts.” The media reflects the public narrative that rape and domestic violence is a crime of violence perpetrated by men against women and other men (such as prison settings). The media is silent on the idea that women can rape or be the perpetrators of domestic violence. This reflects the opinion of most people. I don’t think this thinking is fomented by a nefarious cabal of conservatives and feminists.

    That we have to tell men not to rape.

    That’s not a media narrative. The media is more inclined to put the onus on women to avoid rape; women need to learn how to defend themselves or not put themselves into harm’s way or not dress so provocatively or not drink and leave themselves open to being raped. I’m pretty sure that conservatives and feminists differ on what the solution should be to stop rape. Given that male rape by women is totally under the radar by society in general, the message for telling men not to rape is to put the onus men, not just on women.

    Female pedophiles? Can’t even exist apparently.

    The media reports enough of these cases in my neck of the woods. Just the other day there was an article in the news about sexual abuse occurring in juvenile detention facilities, and that the majority of the abuse reported was by women employees against male juveniles.

    So, society in general thinks of men as the more aggressive gender more prone to violence. If feminists buy into this social narrative but say that these behaviors are socialized and that we can change this cultural behavior, then that is a step in a positive direction over the conservative narrative that men by nature are brutish and violent, and the only way to protect the womenfolk is by hiding them from men’s sight or making sure they are under the protection of a man, don’t you think?

  22. fmcp says

    First, Ally, I’m really enjoying your writing, in part because it makes me think more deeply about how I approach feminism – it’s good to be challenged by the perspective of a men who have been hurt and angered but are still communicating well. (I’ve always been bothered by the variant of feminism that pathologizes heterosexual sex, but I encounter it so rarely that I hadn’t realized it was still impacting people so negatively.)

    That’s not what made me delurk, though. I wanted to respond to Kevin (#8). Kevin, when I was groped on the subway, the three transit employees that I reported to either literally ignored me or told me how I should have reacted. They didn’t take me seriously, there was no real report taken and I knew I shouldn’t bother telling the police. How could the media possibly have published anything? I gather things are worse in Japan, but groping isn’t rare here (Canada). It’s just something most people don’t bother talking about. I don’t thing men are slavering beasts as a rule, but the bad guys are out there. I’ve met them.

  23. Adiabat says

    Abear (15): “Back in the good old days they used to have skirts to cover up furniture legs so it didn’t drive men into uncontrollable lust.”

    Urban Myth I’m afraid. It’s true that the Victorian’s put covers on the legs of piano’s but it was to keep them from getting damaged. Even then most Victorians didn’t bother.

    Interestingly, at the time English Victorians thought that Americans were prudish, and thought that Americans put covers on piano legs out of modesty. Again, this isn’t true.

  24. Ysidro says

    Thanks Adiabat for debunking the table leg myth. That one always gets me. I also wonder how someone can believe that, but maybe they think furniture fetishes were more common in the past.

    As for feminists thinking men are uncontrollable lust monsters, while that may be true for some individuals, it’s more a belief among prudish and pruitanical cultures. You know, the ones that tell women to cover up otherwise they’ll get raped. That’s a patriarchical culture telling them to cover up and not telling men not to do wrong. Because apparently we’re incapable of it.

    I’ve never heard a feminist say it, though I’m sure there’s at least one solitary individual out there. One, or even a few, does not make an entire movement though.

    Jumping too deep into “this is what people think men are like!” avoids the real issue. Which I thought was the point of Ally’s post. I do disagree with his statement that it’s not about sex. It’s not about arousal, but it is about tittilation. It’s still sexual, just on a different level. And it’s still inappropriately objectifying. But not because us mens are all uncontrollable sexual beasts.

  25. Schala says

    I don’t think this thinking is fomented by a nefarious cabal of conservatives and feminists.

    Doesn’t matter. People have a faculty called critical thinking. If they uncritically agree with this stupid notion, then they’re my enemy. If they critically agree with it, then they’re my enemy’s leader.

    That’s not a media narrative.

    Yes it is

    http://www.salon.com/2013/03/08/can_men_be_taught_not_to_rape/

    This is a media. This is recent. This is telling men, first degree (not satire), that they need to be taught not to rape.

    Note that the media puts the onus on men to avoid being raped, as well. By not caring about them one bit if they do get raped (he got lucky narrative, or he should have fought his assailant off).

    Given that male rape by women is totally under the radar by society in general, the message for telling men not to rape is to put the onus men, not just on women.

    But thinking that male rape by women doesn’t exist (or is 1% of rapes, same deal) is totally the problem to start with. And anyone who thinks it is true is not an ally of mine, and also not someone who wants to achieve equality. The onus should be on all rapists not to rape, gender-blind. The offensiveness comes from gendering it. It presumes male guilt and female helplessness. If it was gender-blind it would be merely misanthropy, seeing everyone (men and women both) as Homer Simpsons who need to be told not to do the most basic things wrong.

    So, society in general thinks of men as the more aggressive gender more prone to violence. If feminists buy into this social narrative but say that these behaviors are socialized and that we can change this cultural behavior, then that is a step in a positive direction over the conservative narrative that men by nature are brutish and violent, and the only way to protect the womenfolk is by hiding them from men’s sight or making sure they are under the protection of a man, don’t you think?

    No I don’t think so. Because they say that we can change men’s socialization when patriarchy is gone, over, toppled. But patriarchy cannot be toppled, because it has no substance. It’s like trying to unplug Skynet. But it’s the fucking internet. The internet has no “mother modem” like in South Park. Similarly, patriarchy has no one tyrant to impeach. It will NEVER be toppled, so men’s socialization will never change – since feminism is predicated on helping men only indirectly through helping women, it will never achieve its aim.

  26. Copyleft says

    So, the feminists who teach/preach patriarchy theory are basically ensuring a perpetual-victim status for women, much like Bush’s vauge and never-ending War on Terror(TM). How nice and convenient for them.

  27. smhll says

    I think the underlying thinking goes something like this.

    When women are told that if they reveal too much cleavage in a bar men are justified in raping them (or even they have caused the risk of rape to increase) then women who believe this are going to be likely to be nervous when men look at naked breasts, even in the newspaper. Yes, this reflects a belief that men’s lusts are dangerous. The idea doesn’t appeal to originate from the nervous woman, but to get into her brain from an external source.

  28. Schala says

    Yes, this reflects a belief that men’s lusts are dangerous.

    But this cannot be, ilbi said there is no narrative telling men they’re dangerous and beastly. Apparently, I made it up or something. It’s not at all a very prevalent Victorian notion espoused by both conservative/religious people and mainstream feminism with regards to men’s behavior, not at all, which is why no one thinks men are violent or rapists by default. Or that they are ‘defects’ that stem from maleness.

  29. Schala says

    Obvious /s in post #29

    The Duluth Model, and VAWA and notions of “protecting women and children” (over 100 years old) all put the lie to this.

    Men are acceptable victims, it’s horrible when women are victims.

    But tell me we live in a culture that condones and encourages violence against women, in a way it doesn’t encourage violence against men (I mean, violence against men is just encouraged and condoned 1000x more, but go ahead).

  30. Schala says

    This is part of this “men are socialized to be evil and will always be evil” I’ve mentioned:

    http://veryfashionable.tumblr.com/post/53941890241/commanderabutt-elcorspectre#notes

    “2) As you were raised in a society with a patriarchy, your behavior will be based in the sexism taught by your society. Even the most well intending man can and will still do things that are harmful to women’s rights, usually without even noticing it! Men are taking away women’s rights, not just politicians.”

    “Whether you mean to or not, you are almost certainly taking away rights simply by being a normal man in today’s society because your very upbringing was a sexist one. ”

    “All men are a part of that puzzle, whether they are in congress or a little boy pulling on a girl’s ponytail. We’re built to perpetrate this system.

    And as a last point, the “men” that is referred to is, of course, talking about today’s society’s men. You should hate that “men” too! If you don’t want to be sexist then you should hate that you were raised to be harmful to women! You should be angry too!

    Having to deal with being considered an oppressor because of your sex is a small price to pay for women’s empowerment, furthering equality, and women’s rights and safety.”

    Tl;DR

    Men, you’ll be treated decently and not generalized and treated as oppressor…when violence against women stops existing, forever, in all instances and from all sources (ie never).

  31. lorn says

    IMHO a lot of this issue, nudity and how people react and what blow back that has, evaporates if nudity is more common. Hang out with nudists and, after an initial adjustment period, you find that nudity disappears as an issue. Curiosity and fascination is multiplied by the inaccessibility of the subject. A fan dancer implies far more exposure than is actually being provided. A good one does it in a way that is far more fascinating and titillating than the same woman standing there flatfooted and completely naked.

    In some ways this is a simple matter of supply and demand. In an interview with a young man from a nation which demands that their women be completely covered in a shapeless shroud he waxes poetic over the excitement of catching a glimpse of her toes or eyes. The shape of her fully covered hip as the fabric drapes around it causes a thrill. The female form becomes an obsession.

    I’m not saying that if we go Ferengi, an imaginary SF culture where the women wear no clothing, that sexism, rape and misogyny will magically disappear.

  32. Schala says

    I’m not saying that if we go Ferengi, an imaginary SF culture where the women wear no clothing, that sexism, rape and misogyny will magically disappear.

    Especially since sexism and rape affect more than just women.

  33. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    And as a last point, the “men” that is referred to is, of course, talking about today’s society’s men.[1] You should hate that “men” too![2]

    1) The only thing wrong with that statement is that everyone perpetuates sexism; it’s cultural, and I’ll be damned if any of us manages to escape it entirely.

    2) You do realize that “Men unconciously perpetuate sexism” isn’t “I hate men”, right?

    Ally

    Here is a fundamental truth about men: we hate getting erections at inappropriate moments.

    You’re confusing sexual arousal with having an erection. For me, at least, the former is possible (and common) without the latter.

    Murdoch has always wanted The Sun to be something that families could have lying around the breakfast table.

    That, to me, makes page 3 seem far, far worse. That Murdoch wants the objectification of women to be a family friendly thing is pretty gross.

    There is a tendency among some feminists to assume the worst of male sexuality.

    There’s a tendency for this to be overblown, at least as far as I can tell.

    On the other hand, I’d prefer if we could have that debate and that campaign without the need to further demonize male sexuality.

    I’m not seeing this. The best case you had was a personal story that you admitted was possible (for the record, I’ve seen similar things, such as men leering at underwear models and commenting on how good the women around him would look in them); that story preceded what the author described as the real issue (“But more than anything, it’s about the sense of entitlement, the presupposition that an entire page of a national newspaper should be given over to the sexual gratification of men, and we should tut and tolerate and turn the other cheek while the Sun’s anti-rape campaign languishes in the women’s section, as our problem.“)

    Male sexuality isn’t being demonized. A specific expression of it is.

  34. lorn says

    IMHO a lot of this issue, nudity and how people react and what blow back that has, evaporates if nudity is more common. Hang out with nudists and, after an initial adjustment period, you find that nudity disappears as an issue. Curiosity and fascination is multiplied by the inaccessibility of the subject. A fan dancer implies far more exposure than is actually being provided. A good one does it in a way that is far more fascinating and titillating than the same woman standing there flatfooted and completely naked.

    In some ways this is a simple matter of supply and demand. In an interview with a young man from a nation which demands that their women be completely covered in a shapeless shroud he waxes poetic over the excitement of catching a glimpse of her toes or eyes. The shape of her fully covered hip as the fabric drapes around it causes a thrill. The female form becomes an obsession.

    I’m not saying that if we go Ferengi, an imaginary SF culture where the women wear no clothing, that sexism, rape and misogyny will magically disappear. I am saying that a more casual attitude toward nudity and exposure to nudity in the form of art objects would serve to inoculate the population against excess emotionalism and moral panic related to nudity. It may also serve to, in some way desexualize nudity.

    People are programmed to look at beautiful things. We gaze at flowers and sunsets without shame or intention. The human body can be gazed upon in much the same way if the form is not so rarely seen that its exposure becomes a spectacle deserving profound moral consideration and focus.

  35. Schala says

    1) The only thing wrong with that statement is that everyone perpetuates sexism; it’s cultural, and I’ll be damned if any of us manages to escape it entirely.

    Read the entire thing, it basically says men have a silver spoon since birth, by virtue of being male. They oppress women, without knowing it, simply by existing and doing mundane non-oppressive things, like working, or raising their family.

    And also that men merit their mistreatment, dismissal, and being viewed with contempt as long as violence against women exists in any form whatsoever (and come on, we can’t completely eradicate violence under all its form against ANY demographics, except by completely eradicating said demographics).

    It’s really of the “men are evil”, “I can hate my oppressors” and “until patriarchy do us part” (never). And while it sounds over the top, it’s not radical feminist (I know how to spot them in text), it’s liberal feminist (ie mainstream), but by a very vocal/passionate and misguided person.

  36. Schala says

    You’re confusing sexual arousal with having an erection. For me, at least, the former is possible (and common) without the latter.

    The latter is also possible without the former.

  37. says

    I know some feminists get very upset and the “pro-sex” feminists preferred label. Even if they don’t directly says that other feminists are anti-sex, it’s implied with their terminology. However, Ally’s quote is a good example of why they aren’t off base. Despite what you might hear or MRA sites and from conservative Christians, you will rarely, if ever, hear a feminist with any significant platform saying all het sex is rape or anything along those lines, but you do see plenty of implications that men feeling lust toward women is inherently oppressive from anti porn and prostitution campaigners, which is the angle a lot of the anti page-3 people are taking. (As opposed to pro-sex feminist view that it frequently oppressively in context because of how men are socialized to act on this or because it undermines women’s ability to be taken seriously in other roles.)

  38. Jacob Schmidt says

    Read the entire thing, it basically says men have a silver spoon since birth, by virtue of being male.

    If this is what you’re trying to get across, why didn’t you quote the bits that say that?

    Nevermind, just read it, and no it doesn’t. The closest to “silver spoons” is this bit: “We live in a society with a patriarchy. This means that, as a man, you have more rights than a woman. Whether you wanted it or not, you have them, so you have to live aware of this!

    And also that men merit their mistreatment, dismissal, and being viewed with contempt as long as violence against women exists in any form whatsoever (and come on, we can’t completely eradicate violence under all its form against ANY demographics, except by completely eradicating said demographics).

    Or until power is equal, which is what the author actually said.

    And while it sounds over the top, it’s not radical feminist (I know how to spot them in text), it’s liberal feminist (ie mainstream), but by a very vocal/passionate and misguided person.

    You know how to spot them in text? You do realize that radical feminism deals with patriarchy, right? “Radical” doen’t describe how extreme they are, it describes specific beliefs.

  39. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    The latter is also possible without the former.

    True. It’s really annoying to get them from leaning into tables at work.

  40. Schala says

    You know how to spot them in text? You do realize that radical feminism deals with patriarchy, right? “Radical” doen’t describe how extreme they are, it describes specific beliefs.

    I know it doesn’t mean extreme. But it often translates into Extreme Misandry and Women Are the Most Oppressed on Earth (and Racism comes from the oppression of women too!). When you start to hear extreme claims of female disempowerment in the 20th and 21st century in the Western world, you can be almost certain it’s a radfem. Bonus if she hates trans women because they invade their safe space, and turn lesbians into straight women (because a True Lesbian won’t sleep with an Oppressor TM, even a former one).

    Mainstream feminism is mostly pro-trans, nowadays. Not up to speed completely, but better than many.

    Nevermind, just read it, and no it doesn’t. The closest to “silver spoons” is this bit: “We live in a society with a patriarchy. This means that, as a man, you have more rights than a woman. Whether you wanted it or not, you have them, so you have to live aware of this!”

    Sure sounds like silver spoons to me. Name me one right men have that women don’t have that isn’t about reproduction (because men have less rights in reproduction anyways).

    And if we’re talking about more ingrained stuff like cultural attitudes, services to victims, life expectancy, care about health of that sex and general life happiness – well, it doesn’t show what he or she thinks it does. It shows utter disregard and even contempt for any need specific to men or even complementary to women (ie DV shelters for men), attitudes that misandry is either fine as is, or fine because of past oppression, or doesn’t exist. Disbelief or uncaring about nearly all violence against men (with very few exceptions).

    Doesn’t sound like having more rights. Sounds like being more oppressed.

  41. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    But it often translates into Extreme Misandry and Women Are the Most Oppressed on Earth (and Racism comes from the oppression of women too!).

    The racism accusation is new, at least. Yeah, I’m not buying it.

    Sure sounds like silver spoons to me.[1] Name me one right men have that women don’t[2] have that isn’t about reproduction[3] (because men have less rights in reproduction anyways).

    1) You think “more rights” means “wealthy”?

    2) The right to control their own body.

    3) “But these don’t count” isn’t a convincing argument.

  42. Schala says

    “2) The right to control their own body.

    3) “But these don’t count” isn’t a convincing argument.”

    Against what? Control their body…

    Men have “the right” to abstinence, or to pay for 18 years. But keep thinking they’re ADVANTAGED by this.

    Pro-choice people rarely tell women “you should have kept it in your pants!”, but they do tell men that.

    Maybe its biology and a “fact of life”, but we often have laws that take this into account, to rectify and equalize. That’s one area where we should level the playing field. Basically, a potential father could either opt out, (renounce fatherhood and all its rights and obligations) or opt in (signify he wants the rights and obligations), and then we will have “my body my choice” for both men and women – that is, no involuntary servitude for anyone (and yes, threat of debtor’s prison for not paying is forced labor).

  43. Jacob Schmidt says

    Men have “the right” to abstinence, or to pay for 18 years.

    Hello, false dichotomy.

    But keep thinking they’re ADVANTAGED by this.

    Child support enforcement is abysmal. In the year 2000, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Institute for Research on Poverty:“Despite a quarter century of public effort to improve private child support, the proportion of single mothers receiving child support has remained unchanged at about 30 percent.

    Pro-choice people rarely tell women “you should have kept it in your pants!”, but they do tell men that.

    Pro choice people are generally for comprehensive sex-ed, which involves abstinence.

    Basically, a potential father could either opt out, (renounce fatherhood and all its rights and obligations) or opt in (signify he wants the rights and obligations), and then we will have “my body my choice” for both men and women – that is, no involuntary servitude for anyone (and yes, threat of debtor’s prison for not paying is forced labor).

    When there’s consistent and easy access to abortion, I’ll take this argument seriously. Until then, all we’ve accomplished is sticking the responsibility solely with women.

    Now we’re way off topic. I’ll let you have the last word, but I’m done responding.

  44. says

    @37: Not to further derail and already derailed thread, but not only are non-arousal-based erections possible, they’re essential for good penile health, and are a marker for overall health status.

    When you stop having morning woodies, check with your doctor. You probably have developed high blood pressure, or atherosclerosis. Or both. Severe enough to be treated.

    Here endeth the medical lesson for the day.

  45. Schala says

    When there’s consistent and easy access to abortion, I’ll take this argument seriously. Until then, all we’ve accomplished is sticking the responsibility solely with women.

    There is in Canada, and I’m not sure which US state bans it. I think its legal in the UK, France, Japan, and lots of other countries as well. But yes, not 100% of places.

    And this “we’re not even touching your issue until ours is ALL fixed to the last minute detail” is why people flee from feminism. This whole “wait til we got ours, then we’ll tell you “Screw you, we got ours”” mindset.

  46. Schala says

    ” This whole “wait til we got ours, then we’ll tell you “Screw you, we got ours”” mindset.”

    Which is what happens with rape crisis centers and DV, by the way.

  47. carnation says

    The most offensive thing about page 3 is that it is contained in something claiming to be a newspaper.

    Is it sexist and objectifying? Of course it is.

    As for the demonisation of male sexuality, give me a break already. Male, heteronormative sexuality is the mainstream.

    There is male and female priviliges in this area. It’s more acceptable for women to talk about their own masturbation and same sex experiences than it is for men to do the same. Men are less chastised for promiscuity than women. Generalisations, but accurate ones.

    Feminists don’t demonise male sexuality in any meaningful, effective r widespread way. Feminism has led to greater freedom for women sexually,and by proxy, the men they are having spec with.

    Everyone’s a winner :)

  48. Schala says

    As for the demonisation of male sexuality, give me a break already. Male, heteronormative sexuality is the mainstream.

    Male sexuality is presumed to be tainted, to be tainting as well (ie having sex with a man taints a woman). It’s presumed to be aggressive, violent, uncaring, selfish. Opposite female sexuality which is presumed to be sexual, and a gift, something that is bestowed/awarded to meriting men (ie a positive thing). And its presumed gentle, sensual, intense, natural.

    Who cares who spread those attitudes? The claim is they’re demonized, not that someone specifically did it.

    Feminists don’t demonise male sexuality in any meaningful, effective r widespread way.

    One has to wonder who organized the anti-rape meetings at university levels. The meetings that tell women that they have resources, should be able to say no in any circumstances and to be very afraid because 1/4 will be raped. While men are told to respect a no, that they should turn themselves and their friends in if they rape, and that lots of men would rape if they thought they could get away with it.

    Basically lots of man-bad woman-good. The bad things with this discourse, besides trying to induce paranoia-level fear in women, is that it’s gendered. Consent is something only women can give, only to men. Men ask, women give. It’s not only presumed in interpersonal relations, but in every single tip about safe sex, about rape and from parents, teachers, peers and what not. Kinda hard to even fathom men can be raped (from women or men themselves) everybody says they always want it.

    Who is spreading it?

    Because I can’t see the very conservative giving sexual advice besides abstinence before marriage.

  49. carnation says

    @ Schala, I’ll respond this once, but not to anything you’ve written, as before it’s expansive gibberish devoid of reality.

    As an MRA, you believe feminism is a well funded monolith waging a war on men and boys. Everything you see is seen through your MRA tinted lenses. Delusional, vitriolic conspiracy theories.

    It’s sad.

  50. Schala says

    As an MRA, you believe feminism is a well funded monolith waging a war on men and boys.

    Wrong, I’m not a MRA.

    Feminism is well-funded, but I don’t think it wages a war on men and boys.

  51. a p says

    This piece is terrible!

    The fact that Page 3 exists in The Sun is a clear embodiment — even a celebration — of power imbalance between males and females and its willful perpetuation by mass media and popular culture. By targeting heterosexual men (and I just know some troll is going to interject that it also targets lesbians), The Sun sends a clear message that het men=The Default and everyone else, particularly women=Other. And the writer totally misses those points. Instead they focus on:

    * justifying the presence of Page 3 images as a logical inclusion in a newspaper with a “predominantly male market” (you know, because mostly only heterosexual males who enjoy casually inserted pornography read newspapers)
    * minimizing the cultural message of Page 3 by referring to it as “a daily couple of nipples”
    * downplaying the “sexiness” of Page 3 images to indicate to women that these images are really no big deal in the minds of men viewing them
    * scoffing at feminist critiques of porn and of objectification of women, while thinly pretending to support feminist philosophies and practices

    At least the author gets one thing right: the last line of the piece is “Whatever Page 3 might be about, it is really not about sex.” Yeah, that’s true– it’s about imbalance of power.

  52. says

    The meetings that tell women that they have resources, should be able to say no in any circumstances and to be very afraid because 1/4 will be raped.

    The meeting I sat in for (I’m male, BTW) actually said 1/6, but close enough I suppose.

    As to the bolded part, are you trying to suggest there ought to be circumstances where women can’t say no? If so, that’s about the most vile thing I’ve ever heard.

    While men are told to respect a no, that they should turn themselves and their friends in if they rape

    You see a problem with turning in and prosecuting rapists? Really, anyone should turn in a rapist, but you seem to be attempting to paint good advice as a satanic Anti-Male™ conspiracy with this one.

    and that lots of men would rape if they thought they could get away with it.

    The studies themselves are behind paywalls, but there are actually studies indicating that 15-35% of men actually would (I’d avoid the semantic “lots”, as I prefer to talk in percentages and relative amounts); given that plenty of people want to commit crimes but are deterred by legal penalties, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

    A few links that quote said surveys (they name the studies, if you’re interested in seeing if free versions are available):

    http://www.uic.edu/depts/owa/sa_rape_support.html

    http://studentorg.richmond.edu/svav/facts.htm

    As to the rape issue, I’ve yet to meet a feminist (outside of the usually older, still transphobic types, that is) who didn’t unconditionally condemn raping men. Many will, however, become annoyed at the fact that the subject is always brought up in an attempt to derail any discussion of women’s issues, and this irritation can very easily be mistaken for not caring.

    And to put the lie to your “feminists don’t deal with any other issues until ALL OF THEIR ISSUES ARE COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY FIXED” claim, look at this site; plenty of feminists here who not only argue against patriarchal structures (which I’d argue are at the root of male rape not being taken seriously), but also advocate for the LGBT community, race issues, and others.

  53. B-Lar says

    It’s a core doctrine among modern feminists that male sexuality is inherently evil.

    I couldn’t believe that anyone actually believed this until I saw it typed with my own eyes. Incredible.

  54. carnation says

    @ B_lar

    Welcome to the whacky world of MRAs!

    Scroll up to where you’ll see an MRA, albeit oe in denial, claim that feminism is “well funded”

    @ Schala

    You sheepishly regurgitate MRA “theory”, you quoted MRA blogs, you believe NRA nonsense about feminism. In why way aren’t you an MRA?

  55. Adiabat says

    Can someone point out the problem with page 3? I’ve seen vague allusions to things like “objectification” and “power” but no actual arguments. Apparently it’s ‘obvious’ but no-one seems capable of spelling it out without using buzzwords.

  56. Schala says

    As to the bolded part, are you trying to suggest there ought to be circumstances where women can’t say no? If so, that’s about the most vile thing I’ve ever heard.

    You see a problem with turning in and prosecuting rapists? Really, anyone should turn in a rapist, but you seem to be attempting to paint good advice as a satanic Anti-Male™ conspiracy with this one.

    Reading comprehension, by a book about it:

    Read this and weep:

    The bad things with this discourse, besides trying to induce paranoia-level fear in women, is that it’s gendered. Consent is something only women can give, only to men. Men ask, women give. It’s not only presumed in interpersonal relations, but in every single tip about safe sex, about rape and from parents, teachers, peers and what not. Kinda hard to even fathom men can be raped (from women or men themselves) everybody says they always want it.

    Here, full house with Aces.

    Why can’t you read my entire post before answering stuff I *already* answered in the SAME post?

    You sheepishly regurgitate MRA “theory”, you quoted MRA blogs, you believe NRA nonsense about feminism. In why way aren’t you an MRA?

    1) There is no MRA theory. Only some people talking about men’s rights who identify as MRAs. I said so before – there is no patriarchy theory in MRA, and no doctrine you must accept or become “anti-MRA”.

    2) Agreeing with certain people does NOT mean you identify with that group. Or I would be Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Atheist, Islamist, Hinduist ALL AT ONCE. Because I’m sure there’s more than a few precepts OF EACH that I agree with, probably by accident. I’d also be feminist since I believe in rights for women and equality (a precept often forgotten).

    3) Which MRA blog did I quote? Please note that the blog owner MUST identify as MRA for this to count. And I didn’t cite AVfM.

    4) I believe NRA nonsense about feminism? I don’t think the National Rifle Association cares about feminism.

    5) In what way am I not a MRA? I don’t identify as one, I disavow membership in any group of advocacy and ANY label about it.

  57. Copyleft says

    Speaking of delusional and vitriolic, I see that carnation is still posting personal attacks with nary a reprimand from Ally. But since every post from carnation helps demonstrate the irrational, ideological fanaticism of radfems, I say keep up the good work!

  58. Jacob Schmidt says

    Adiabat

    Apparently it’s ‘obvious’ but no-one seems capable of spelling it out without using buzzwords.

    The focus on Page 3 seems to me to miss the broader point, but more precisely, my problem with the tradition is not the nudity, but the way that it uses women as decoration, implying that a woman’s most significant role in the news media is to provide eye candy for a predominantly male market.

    Schala

    Well, fuck it. The derail seems permanent now.

    Who cares who spread those attitudes? The claim is they’re demonized, not that someone specifically did it.

    Copyleft: “It’s a core doctrine among modern feminists that male sexuality is inherently evil.
    Ally: “There is a tendency among some feminists to assume the worst of male sexuality.”

    In any case, knowing whose doing the spreading tells us who to watch out for and who to oppose. Writing long rants opposing the demonization of male sexuality at a group of feminists who already agree is a waste of time and annoyingly common.

    There is in Canada, and I’m not sure which US state bans it.

    There are dozens of resrictions in the US, and constant attempts to make the restrictions tighter (including one such attempt that would make rape victims and their doctor liable for “tampering evidence” should they seek an abortion; it got changed to just the doctor being liable. I’m not sure if it passed.)

    And this “we’re not even touching your issue until ours is ALL fixed to the last minute detail” is why people flee from feminism.

    This isn’t what I argued, which makes yor first line at 57 look hilarious. The point is that your arguement can only reasonably apply to narrow groups when your trying to make it universal. There are literally billions of women worldwide who don’t have feasible access to abortion, and millions of them live in the states, canada, UK, etc. The reasons for infeasibility vary, from health restrictions to financial/transportation issues (when there’s only two abortion clinics in your state and you’re broke, taking a a few days off work to spend a few hundred on buses and motels just isn’t gonna happen) to being verbally harrassed and abused by your community or family. Despite legality, some women just don’t have access, and giving the father a route out of responsibility is just asinine.

    There is no MRA theory.

    Hence the quotation marks.

    Agreeing with certain people does NOT mean you identify with that group.

    Quick question: Am I a feminist?

    Just agreeing with them doesn’t make you part of their group. Agreeing with their core doctrine pretty much does (you don’t get to argue that you’re not really christian when you believe in the divinity of Jesus). The fact of the matter is, whether or not you identify as an MRA, you talk like one consistently. If you don’t like the label, then cool. I won’t call you one. There’s virtually no difference from where I’m sitting, though.

  59. Jacob Schmidt says

    Copyleft

    Speaking of delusional and vitriolic, I see that carnation is still posting personal attacks with nary a reprimand from Ally.

    The fact that you think ‘MRA’ is a personal attack deserving of reprimand is just hilarious.

  60. Schala says

    There are literally billions of women worldwide who don’t have feasible access to abortion, and millions of them live in the states, canada, UK, etc. The reasons for infeasibility vary, from health restrictions to financial/transportation issues (when there’s only two abortion clinics in your state and you’re broke, taking a a few days off work to spend a few hundred on buses and motels just isn’t gonna happen) to being verbally harrassed and abused by your community or family.

    There’s abortion, much more effective contraception (and many more options too), some even working post-conception. Then there’s adoption. Safe haven laws – aka baby box. And you can always refuse to name the father.

    (when there’s only two abortion clinics in your state and you’re broke, taking a a few days off work to spend a few hundred on buses and motels just isn’t gonna happen)

    Move to a town with public transportation. One with more than 500 people. You’re likely to have an abortion clinic closer then. And if you prefer not to, consider that a choice. You assume the extra costs of transportations, or bring the baby to term (which doesn’t force you to raise it, even less pay for it), or move away from there to a more ‘lively’ place. Any way this happens, you’re not a slave. You have rights and options. Men have none. They have the right to sexual silence, fallible contraception…or to permanent infertility.

    Men can have an opt out without ALL options being available all the time to all women.

    It might happen that some super-controlling men force their wife/sister etc to carry the baby to term and to take care of them. We should intervene against those tyrants as they are found, and have laws against sequestration and slavery (and we do most of the time). I don’t think they represent even a significant minority worldwide however.

    And social disapproval? Who cares.

    I’ll get massive social disapproval for being trans. As long as it doesn’t affect my basic rights of living conditions (ability to get housing, employment, healthcare, etc), I shouldn’t complain. Not because it’s a choice, or because it’s just or fair. But because no one can do legal actions against it.

    It has to be changed at the socialization level, and this will only happen with massive global attitude changes. Ergo, in a matter of generations, not days or weeks. I can protest for pro-trans stuff, and I don’t deny it can do good stuff. But it won’t have immediate changes, and I shouldn’t expect it. Legal changes we see now are from efforts started in the 1970s.

  61. Schala says

    The fact that you think ‘MRA’ is a personal attack deserving of reprimand is just hilarious.

    Carnation doesn’t just think MRA is an attack (which is just as bad as using ‘gay’ as a slur, when its obvious, regardless of gay’s neutrality), he or she thinks people who are anti-feminists in any way are deluded, misogynists and devoid of logic.

    That’s a personal attack.

  62. Adiabat says

    Jacob Schmidt: “the way that it uses women as decoration, implying that a woman’s most significant role in the news media is to provide eye candy for a predominantly male market.”

    Well, I dealt with that further upthread, echoing Copyleft who worded it better:

    “Any time someone veers away from the facts to describe what those facts “imply” as ‘the real message,” they’ve shifted from rational discussion into paranoid speculation.”

    Firstly, you need to show firstly that page 3 is using “women as decoration”, and state what you mean by that. Secondly, you need to provide some support for what you think that “implies”, something like “it implies this because…”, and maybe a rundown of common readings of the situation, and justification why you think that one is the most likely. You know, an argument. Otherwise what you have quoted there isn’t an argument, it’s a couple of unsupported beliefs presented as “obvious” facts. I reject them.

    Thirdly, you need to show that the readership of the Sun is a predominantly Male market. Quite difficult since the readership of the Sun is 45% female*, but I suppose Ally left himself enough wriggle room by using the word “predominantly”. I would argue that 55% is close enough to equal that I would advise against calling it “predominant”.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_(United_Kingdom)

  63. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    Then there’s adoption. Safe haven laws – aka baby box.

    If you can find adoptive parents, awesome. I’m all for that. Not everyone can. Safe haven laws are entirely inadequate, however, as well as benig specific to the US.

    Move to a town with public transportation. One with more than 500 people. You’re likely to have an abortion clinic closer then. And if you prefer not to, consider that a choice.

    Oh, fuck right off. Being too poor to get an abortion means being too poor to move. It’s not a goddamn choice. And good luck if you live in Ireland, or any of the other dozens of countries that outright ban abortion.

    They have the right to sexual silence, fallible contraception…or to permanent infertility.

    Funny, you just asserted that fallible contreption as reliable alternative. But for men, it isn’t enough.

    And social disapproval? Who cares.

    You do, as long as men are the victims. Or wasn’t that you going on about the social disapproval of male sexuality?

    As long as it doesn’t affect my basic rights of living conditions (ability to get housing, employment, healthcare, etc), I shouldn’t complain.

    For the fuck of all sakes. First of all, social disapproval is a driving factor in clinicians refusing to presribe contraception to women, necessitating abortions in the first place. Second of all, being harrassed and abused out of having an abortion isn’t a choice any more than being harrassed and abused into sex is a choice. That’s the fucking point.

    Not because it’s a choice, or because it’s just or fair. But because no one can do legal actions against it.

    This is absolute bullshit. Courts take into account personal issues all the time, including things like hostile environments.

    which is just as bad as using ‘gay’ as a slur, when its obvious, regardless of gay’s neutrality

    No it isn’t. Being gay isn’t a choice, being an MRA is.

  64. Jacob Schmidt says

    Fucking borked quotes. You’d think I learned my lesson. Anyways.

    Adiabat

    Firstly, you need to show firstly that page 3 is using “women as decoration”, and state what you mean by that.

    I need do nothing. You asked for an argument that didn’t use buzzwords, that was it. But fine. Women are being used as decorations because the way they look (specifically, their secondary sexual characteristics) is being used to sell the newspaper. Every page of the newspaper is made to sell the newspaper.

    Secondly, you need to provide some support for what you think that “implies”,

    Seing as I didn’t make that claim, no I don’t. I think Ally’s description is a bit much.

    Thirdly, you need to show that the readership of the Sun is a predominantly Male market.

    No I don’t (why is ‘male’ capitalized?). I need to show that page 3 is marketed at a predominantly male group. That, at least, is obvious, since selling images of women’s secondary sexual characteristics isn’t gonna go far with any other group than men (sure, there are women attracted to women, but I doubt Murdoch is marketing to lesbians).

  65. Schala says

    No it isn’t. Being gay isn’t a choice, being an MRA is.

    Not according to carnation and a plethora of people who think I’m a MRA. It’s not a choice, its a slut that gets tarred on you.

    Like being gay, not because you have sex with or date men, but because you have feminine mannerism or a feminine occupation/hobby. It’s INTENDED as an insult.

    My boyfriend calling me “a she-male” isn’t intending an insult, if he ever does it. He won’t call someone else that. But I know that only because I know him personally, and it’s not meant to humiliate.

    The same cannot be said about someone you don’t know.

    Oh, fuck right off. Being too poor to get an abortion means being too poor to move. It’s not a goddamn choice. And good luck if you live in Ireland, or any of the other dozens of countries that outright ban abortion.

    If you’re too poor to move, then you have nothing of value, right? Can’t you just take a baggage, put some changes of clothes in it, and say bye to your old life?

  66. Schala says

    You do, as long as men are the victims. Or wasn’t that you going on about the social disapproval of male sexuality?

    When it informs official policy on rape? It’s a bit more than just rumors I would say.

  67. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    When it informs official policy on rape? It’s a bit more than just rumors I would say.

    Sure. And verbal and physical harrassment at the entrance to abortion clinics (as well as harrassment from family) is a bit more than rumors. Seriously, how did you go from harrassment to rumors?

    If you’re too poor to move, then you have nothing of value, right? Can’t you just take a baggage, put some changes of clothes in it, and say bye to your old life?

    I’m too poor to move cities. I can’t do it because A) there’s no realistic chances of getting a job that could support me should I move, and B) moving entails giving up on much of my education, as well as the money I have saved for emergencies (which, for many, would be their source of payment for medical emergencies such as abortions). Note that I don’t consider myself poor, and yet finances are enough to keep me from moving.

    In any case, no one should have to pre-emptively move to avoid loosing the right to control ones own body. Blaming women for this is just disgusting.

    Not according to carnation and a plethora of people who think I’m a MRA. It’s not a choice, its a slut that gets tarred on you.

    Like being gay, not because you have sex with or date men, but because you have feminine mannerism or a feminine occupation/hobby. It’s INTENDED as an insult.

    If you’re against using an identity as an insult, then fine. I personally avoid it.

    But the identity of MRA is a choice. You may be called one against your will, but actual MRAs choose to be MRAs. It’s not comparable to ‘gay’.

  68. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    My boyfriend calling me “a she-male” isn’t intending an insult, if he ever does it. He won’t call someone else that. But I know that only because I know him personally, and it’s not meant to humiliate.

    Are you saying that a close friend using slurs on you is better than a stranger doing it? You won’t find any consistent agreement on that one.

  69. says

    The whole male abortion thing is based on a false analogy. If a woman gives birth, she can’t just unilaterally get out of financial responsibility for the child. If she doesn’t want custody and the father does, she’ll have to pay him child support. The idea of abortion isn’t to get out of financial responsibility, but to get out of the pregnancy, which isn’t a problem for the man. Granted, it has the effect of ending financial responsibility, too, but that’s not the purpose.

  70. Schala says

    Are you saying that a close friend using slurs on you is better than a stranger doing it? You won’t find any consistent agreement on that one.

    You’ll find a current of black people who think using “nigger” between them is fine, but not when a white person does it.

    You’ll find a current of gay and lesbian people who think using endearing degendering terms (like “let’s go girls”) between them is fine, but not when a heterosexual person does it.

    You’ll find a current of trans people who think using “tranny” between them is fine, but not when a cis person does it.

    With one exception: If the person that says it is personally known and trusted to not be prejudiced against their group. It’s usually better to refrain from those slurs in public because of that (someone could overhear and not understand the subtext).

    My close friend does not intend it as an insult. I know this because I personally know this person enough. I can’t say that about the bank teller or the waiter.

    It’s called reclaiming, by the way. And is only considered legitimate usage of reclamation when done by the initial and majority target of the slur (ie trans women for tranny, as trans men have historically been ignored, not tarred with insults).

  71. Schala says

    The whole male abortion thing is based on a false analogy. If a woman gives birth, she can’t just unilaterally get out of financial responsibility for the child. If she doesn’t want custody and the father does, she’ll have to pay him child support.

    Don’t name the father, or in some cases, go to Utah. Also, safe haven.

  72. Jacob Schmidt says

    You’ll find a current of black people who think using “nigger” between them is fine, but not when a white person does it.

    You’ll find a current of gay and lesbian people who think using endearing degendering terms (like “let’s go girls”) between them is fine, but not when a heterosexual person does it.

    You’ll find a current of trans people who think using “tranny” between them is fine, but not when a cis person does it.

    I don’t think you know what “consistent” means.

    Don’t name the father[1], or in some cases, go to Utah[2]. Also, safe haven.[3]

    1) This does literally nothing to alleviate financial burdens.
    2) ‘Cause just anyone can get to Utah.
    3) From the Child Welfare Information Agency (page 4):”Approximately 34 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico do not prosecute a parent for child abandonment when a baby is relinquished to a safe haven.

    Which means 16 states can prosecute the mother for abandonment (though some of them allow the use of safe haven’s as a defense). Safe Haven’s are also US specific. They don’t exist in Canada, for instance (except for one out west, I think).

  73. Schala says

    1) This does literally nothing to alleviate financial burdens.

    Yes, you can alleviate 100% of it. Adopt the kid out. 100% of the burden gone, not yours now. Someone else (not you) will pick up the slack.

    Don’t name the father and he won’t even KNOW he can claim fatherhood.

    2) ‘Cause just anyone can get to Utah.

    Utah override the father EVEN if known.

    3) From the Child Welfare Information Agency (page 4):”Approximately 34 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico do not prosecute a parent for child abandonment when a baby is relinquished to a safe haven.”

    Which means 16 states can prosecute the mother for abandonment (though some of them allow the use of safe haven’s as a defense). Safe Haven’s are also US specific. They don’t exist in Canada, for instance (except for one out west, I think).

    In practice, mothers are never prosecuted for it. And there are safe haven places in Canada, laws I don’t know, but places for legal abandonment with no problems? Yes definitely.

    There’s also laws on the books about not wearing loose pants and something about ducks, and sodomy laws…and way way more. That no one in their right mind will EVER prosecute.

  74. says

    Schala: None of the options you’ve presented involve the mother being able to stick the father with all the responsibility for the child, so i don’t see how letting fathers do this to mothers would make things more fair. If the father doesn’t know about the child and the mother doesn’t report him, he won’t have any right to custody (I have no idea what we could do about this short of keeping DNA on file for everyone), but he also won’t pay child support.

  75. Schala says

    Schala: None of the options you’ve presented involve the mother being able to stick the father with all the responsibility for the child, so i don’t see how letting fathers do this to mothers would make things more fair. If the father doesn’t know about the child and the mother doesn’t report him, he won’t have any right to custody (I have no idea what we could do about this short of keeping DNA on file for everyone), but he also won’t pay child support.

    Option 1, the mother wants the kid, the father wants the kid, they live together.

    Easy peasy, birthing and they live together ever after, provided there isn’t a divorce.

    Option 2, the mother wants the kid, the father doesn’t want the kid, living arrangement irrelevant.

    The mother can “not name the father” in which case he gets no responsibility (until he’s named, even in the future, and retroactively to boot), but also no rights.

    The mother can name the father, and he’s stuck for 18 years of child support regardless of his involvment.

    Option 3, the mother doesn’t want the kid, the father wants the kid, living arrangement irrelevant.

    The mother can abort. The mother can give the baby away through baby box.

    The mother can “not name the father” and adopt the kid away.

    Option 2 sticks the father with all the responsibilities. He can’t opt out. He can only hope the mother choose to leave him out of the kid’s life AND doesn’t need welfare (if you need welfare and the father is known, the state will force you to demand child support before providing one cent).

    What I propose is that the father should be informed in a reasonable delay (before 6 months pregnant) and then have the right to opt-in or opt-out financially (and his other parental rights as well). Whichever option is better (opt in or opt out) I leave to lawyers.

    I think it will result in a LOT less unwanted kids and also a LOT less deadbeat dads.

    If the father chooses to opt-out, or not opt-in, the mother can choose to
    1) Abort
    2) Adopt the kid out
    3) Keep the kid and pay for the kid herself (no child support possible)

    In full knowledge of this before the kid is born.

    If the father changes his mind too late after agreeing, well, he’s on the hook, just too bad.

  76. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    Yes, you can alleviate 100% of it. Adopt the kid out. 100% of the burden gone, not yours now. Someone else (not you) will pick up the slack.

    “Not naming the father” isn’t “adoption”.

    Don’t name the father and he won’t even KNOW he can claim fatherhood.

    How do you think pregnancies happen? Do you think most of them just happen at random, with guys that they’ll never see again? Most pregnancies happen in relationships where the father will almost certainly know if the child is carried to term.

    Utah override the father EVEN if known.

    Literally irrelevant to what I said.

    Option 2, the mother wants the kid, the father doesn’t want the kid, living arrangement irrelevant.

    The mother can “not name the father” in which case he gets no responsibility (until he’s named, even in the future, and retroactively to boot), but also no rights.[1]

    The mother can name the father, and he’s stuck for 18 years of child support regardless of his involvment.[2]

    1) The father is literally giving up his rights in this case. He doesn’t want custody or anything to do with the kid, remember?
    2) ““Despite a quarter century of public effort to improve private child support, the proportion of single mothers receiving child support has remained unchanged at about 30 percent.”

    In any case, in option 2, either the mother protects the father from responsibility, or both the mother and father share responsibility.

    Option 3, the mother doesn’t want the kid, the father wants the kid, living arrangement irrelevant.

    The mother can abort.[1] The mother can give the baby away through baby box.[2]

    The mother can “not name the father” and adopt the kid away.[3]

    1) Not always. We’ve been over this.
    2) Had I the power, I’d change this. If the mother wants to adopt the baby out, she should have to name the father, and he should be given a choice in the matter. If he wants it, she should have to pay child support according to her ability to (the same should work in reverse).
    3) This is the same as [2]

    Option 2 sticks the father with all the responsibilities.[1] He can’t opt out.[2]

    1) No it doesn’t.
    2) He shouldn’t be able to at this point.

    What I propose is that the father should be informed in a reasonable delay (before 6 months pregnant) and then have the right to opt-in or opt-out financially (and his other parental rights as well).

    No. If we’re gonna bring in opting out (in an ideal world, I think we should; we’re just not there yet), it has to be before sex happens. You don’t get to, after the fact, run away from all responsibility. This must be discussed before hand, and it must be verifiable.

  77. Jacob Schmidt says

    I think it will result in a LOT less unwanted kids and also a LOT less deadbeat dads.

    You think that giving fathers a legal way out of paying child support will result in less fathers not paying child support?

  78. Schala says

    You think that giving fathers a legal way out of paying child support will result in less fathers not paying child support?

    I think parents will think twice before having the kid. Not a “we’ll see later” mindset and then complain “the father left” when he didn’t want a kid in the first place and said so.

  79. says

    @schala: Your option 2 results in the mother and father having shared responsibility, not sticking him with 100% of the responsibility. Your solution results in sticking the mother with 100%. It isn’t equivalent at all.

    I don’t see how you could think your plan would result in fewer deadbeat dads unless it’s just a trick of definitions where they still wouldn’t be paying child support, but wouldn’t be expected to, in which case you haven’t solved anything, or you think women only go through with birth because they are expecting a windfall from the dad.

  80. Jacob Schmidt says

    I think parents will think twice before having the kid. Not a “we’ll see later” mindset and then complain “the father left” when he didn’t want a kid in the first place and said so.

    We’re done here. I think’s it’s pretty clear that you have no idea what you’re talking about at this point. Very few people have that attitude. The idea of parenting without being able to support their child scares the crap out of most people. And women are not choosing to bring the child to term lightly. Most do it knowing that if the father bails, there’s they’re at a serious disadvantage getting adequate support.

    Honestly, “think twice”. As if that isn’t happening already.

  81. Schala says

    I don’t see how you could think your plan would result in fewer deadbeat dads unless it’s just a trick of definitions where they still wouldn’t be paying child support, but wouldn’t be expected to, in which case you haven’t solved anything, or you think women only go through with birth because they are expecting a windfall from the dad.

    Some mothers are, not all. But that’s already something. It would reduce the burden of the state (which is what lawmakers care about the most, wouldn’t want to up taxes now), and the burden of absent parents, plus there’ll be less fatherless kids (since they won’t even be born).

    I don’t see how that’s a bad thing.

    Women who give their child for adoptions are not paying for the kid. How is this different from men not paying child support for a kid they didn’t want? I fail to see how it’s a difference of kind instead of degree. The support is for the child. The support is not given. In both cases.

  82. says

    @Schala: It’s different because if the father knows about a kid, the mother can’t give the kid up for adoption without the father’s consent. Even if she says the father is unknown and he later finds out, this is grounds to challenge the adoption. See the Baby Jessica case, for instance. Also, a mother can’t involuntarily stick the father with 100% of the responsibilities for a kid by giving them up for adoption.

    Would you be willing to amend your proposal to say that if a mother gives notice she intends to give birth, but not to keep custody of a child, the father should get full custody with no expectation of aid from the mother? THat would at least be theoretically neutral, unlike your current proposal.

    I also don’t get where you are coming from when you say this would save the government money unless you assume that a large percentage of women only don’t get an abortion because they think they will be getting money from the father. If this isn’t true, it would lead to an increase in single mothers who aren’t collecting child support, meaning lower household incomes, meaning the government spending more on WIC, food stamps and welfare.

  83. Pen says

    I can’t help thinking that the reason many women suppose that Page 3 is the salient tip of a huge iceberg of slavering male sexual desire is because so many other women have told them that Page 3 is the salient tip of a huge iceberg of slavering male sexual desire.

    I think it’s likely to be because many heterosexual women have literally no idea what heterosexual men see in women. They have to presume that page 3 is there for something, and since it doesn’t look even remotely cute to them, what should they imagine?

  84. carnation says

    @ Pen

    That’s an interesting point. Since page 3 has a huge audience, of men and women, it’s at the very least suggesting an ideal type of female form that men can/do/should find sexually arousing.

    It’s ersatz erotica, same with the Chippendales.

    The main issue with page three is that is is very much out in the open and normalised.

  85. Adiabat says

    Jacob Schmidt(65): “I need do nothing. You asked for an argument that didn’t use buzzwords, that was it.”

    Except that it’s not an argument, and I said why. I was pointing out what you need to do if you want it to be considered an argument. But obviously you don’t “need” to do anything, just if you want what you posted to be taken seriously.

    “Seing as I didn’t make that claim, no I don’t. I think Ally’s description is a bit much.”

    Sorry for making the assumption that you supported an argument by, strangely enough, presenting the argument when one was requested. Not that it’s an argument until someone actually provides what is required to take it beyond a couple of unsupported beliefs.

    I guess my original request for an actual argument as to why Page 3 is a problem still stands.

  86. Lucy says

    @Kevin

    “You might be interested to know that in North Carolina (the state where I live), it is not against the law for women to go topless. In fact, there’s an annual topless rally which is attempting to make female toplessness as normative as male toplessness. No arrests have been made, despite howls of protest from the religious right.”

    There is a difference between going topless and being paid to go topless.

    @abear

    “Back in the good old days they used to have skirts to cover up furniture legs so it didn’t drive men into uncontrollable lust.Don’t listen to the libertines here that claim men can control their penises when they see naked lady parts, whether they be legs, arms or eyes and tell your sisters and yourself to wear your burqas at all times!
    Anything else just contributes to our moral decline.”

    There is a difference between wearing a burquh and being told to wear a burquh.

    There is less of a difference between commercialising women’s sexual availability (page 3) and putting a commercial value on women’s sexual unavailability (burquh).

  87. bierir says

    My husband tells me that he does get an erection looking at similar pictures, so some (perfectly normal and dwell-adjusted) men obviously have a different perception of page 3 than you. This fact does not go away by just negating it.

  88. says

    Image: Novak Djokovic celebrates with a bottle of champagne after winning the final against Andy Murray on SundayPhotographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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