Sunday, March 03, 2013

Misogyny Thy Name Is Oscar



The incredibly talented actor - Quvenzhane Wallis


Sometimes the misogyny is so public as to take one's breath away. And I am so damn tired of it all. Fatigued and weary.

As you must be.

And I try to lie down and be quiet after I stew for a few days. Should I write here about it all and rage yet again. But to be silent is a worse offence. I am appalled at what other women write/say: Oh it's just a few jokes, stop taking it all so seriously. These women 'asked for it', yeah - that same tired old trope is tossed out - the one which justifies the rapes of 'sluts'. And it hurts to see other women write “I'm not a feminist”. So complicit or stupid in their own denigration. What the hell do they think feminism means unless it is solidarity with all women and men, past and present, who believe in equality for all? Yeah, so I rise up off the floor of despair and write about such contempt again. And the contempt from my own gender makes it so much more heartbreaking.

A 9 year old child was sexualized amidst laughter at the Oscars. 9 years old. I'll let that sink in. To add that she's a black nine year old with a little puppy purse and a smile of such utter childish delight on her lovely face is to make it far worse. And many interviewers couldn't bother to learn how to pronounce her name. And so she had to sit and listen and learn how to smile through all that shyte. That devaluing shyte about women. And herself. And then, and I'm not surprised at all, The Onion, a satirical paper I've always enjoyed, Twitters the little girl is a c**t. And I hope, seriously, she doesn't know about this.

And boobs were sung about. Boobs of a woman (Jodie Foster) in a movie who was being raped on a pool table. Boobs of other actors - side boobs, full boobs. To the snarfles and guffaws of most men watching no doubt, but to the discomfort, I hope, of some of 'their' women sitting beside them. Would this hilarious song have worked if it had been about men's junk? (and yes, I am aware of that other post-Oscar revenge song). But we're talking here about women actors' boobs and a global audience of half a billion, many of them impressionable boys forming their own feelings about women.

I see so much regression for women in the world today. Where a woman in Ireland is sacrificed to her own dying foetus. When Roe vs Wade is revisited constantly in the US. Where in Canada the (male) anti-choicers are allowed to ring the bells for precious zygotes in parliament once in a while to keep us women alert and on our toes. Where a bill in the US supporting The Violence Against Women Act scrapes through with 138 members voting AGAINST it. Where battered woman in Ireland are housed in JAIL because the shelters are all full. Over 2,000 of these women running for their lives from men who will kill them are housed in JAILS. Where the US (a first world country, ha) still has no paid maternity leave and women (often single mothers) earn 60c for every dollar a man earns doing the same work. Where women are raped with dismal regularity in the armed forces and told to shut up or they'll lose their jobs. Where same sex marriage and adoption rights are still up for debate. Where most rapes go unreported because of fear of the horrific process of law. Where there is yet to be a woman president in the US and they are so abysmally represented in the Congress and the Senate.

And I'm not even getting into the treatment of women in Africa, India and the so-called third world.

I feel I could go on for years and years and not get to the end of writing about this constant threat to the so very little we have already gained and the ongoiing wearisome quest for even basic equality.

As full human beings.

And not just body parts.

A previous post about feminism was written here.

27 comments:

  1. So, well, YES.

    My fingers want to type avowals here about how you are my New Favorite Blogger For Life. Lest that be too strong an opening statement, I shall just say: thank you for your intelligence and passion and for pouring them both into your own special corner of the blogosphere.

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  2. I would love to think that it's not that way in my country. That only clodhoppers who do not count think that way. Not sophisticated people who make the laws and carry them out. But like I said, I would love to think that.

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  3. Thank you for this insightful essay. As a mother of three daughters and one grand daughter, I grieve for the awareness reached during the feminist movement and all but lost today. I am horrified by the role models being fed to young girls today. Have the advantages won by one generation become so much a part of the norm that they are carelessly lost by following generations?

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  4. Can I just agree with
    Jocelyn
    could add no better words.
    You are my new favorite
    and here I am at my dream site
    at the edge of the woods
    thousands of miles away and probably 10 years in age past you
    but you speak to my heart.
    Never stop writing...

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  5. I don't watch the Oscars because they seem to be self-congratulatory monuments to excess, so I had to google the song. And I almost wish I hadn't. As they were cutting to the faces of the unhappy actresses being sung about - why did no one stand up and tell the man to shut the fuck up? And oh, I'm so disappointed in the Onion. That was inexcusable.

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  6. I couldn't agree with you more, and on every count.
    Sometimes I comfort myself by remembering the epigram at the beginning of "Captain Blood" (Yes, (Captain Blood!")

    "He waas born with laughter in his heart, and a sense that the world was mad."

    Regarding the preceding post: I gave my 19-year-old son one piece of life advice.
    "Jeremy, Try to find out what you want to do, and follow your bliss; and be nice to people on your way."

    It's a poor comedy we've been forced to act in, but we CAN improve the dialogue.

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  7. It is sad that misogyny and racism refuse to go away from our lives. India is going through major upheavals in the cities due to this about which I have exchanged ideas with you. Quite where and when change will take place is anyone's guess and voices like yours must gain more audience.

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  8. Jocelyn:
    If even one woman wakes up as a result of this and starts calling this repression out, I will be happy!
    XO
    WWW

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  9. Irene:
    I'm probably preaching to the good choir!
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Sharon:
    I am very grateful both my daughters are feminists as is my 18 yo granddaughter. It is only by pointing out such inequities that the awareness is raised. And the regression is enormous. And being brainy for woman is a negative still unless she keeps a lid on it.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. OWJ:
    Yes we have seen far too much of slighting, lack of job promotions, our own uteri being the property of the church and state (so intermingled still it is difficult to tell where one leaves off and the other begins) and being castigated for our clothing, our hair, our weight, our looks, our age.
    Pile on that being the objects of consistent mirth re any of the above and you have a slave segment of society.
    One only has to look at the painfully altered appearance of so many women in the public eye.
    XO
    WWW

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  12. SAW:
    Not having teevee myself, I just caught the moments of the Oscars on the web. I have up on Oscars many years ago as it is a nausfest.
    Sometimes I am so glad I don't have exposure to the hours and hours of drivel.
    Professional female actors are slaves to the system too.
    XO
    WWW

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  13. Marc:
    And calling out the BS when we see it and the subjugation.
    Good advice to your son, I've said the same to my daughters. And my granddaughter.
    XO
    WWW

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  14. Ramana:
    And voices like yours too, Ramana, we need to yell this from the rooftops every time we see it.

    Enough of the second class status of the majority of our citizens.

    XO
    WWW

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  15. I'm sorry, WWW - this is where you and I disagree. You may have seen my views on the Oscars shindig....for which I am obviously in the "dog house" here.

    I cannot help but think that you are missing the point of Seth MacFarlane's satire. It was aimed strictly at the Hollywood crowd, who love to show as much of their boobs at every opportunity. He was not insulting any other female, and he didn't insult the nine year old girl either. He was aiming his remark at George Clooney.

    Taking the remarks made at this overtly back-slapping occasion between narcissistic millionaires and billionaires and extending them to the world at large isn't sensible in my view.

    Sorry WWW.


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  16. Oh Wise I am much older than you [about to be 79] and I see it differently. While what you said is true it is SO much better than is was not that many years ago. I don't count the Oscars - they are not of the real world anyway. I see US succeeding everywhere and to me succeeding means earning the same money as men. It does my heart so much good. When I see a woman going down a manhole or climbing up a pole I want to congratulate her and did for a long time but now they look at me like I am crazy because they take making that money for granted as well they should! I know so many women owning and running their own homes. Like you. That was impossible not that long ago. How well I remember not being able to get a bank loan after I left my husband - because he was my line of credit!When I owned my company I had calls asking for the President and when they got me they asked to "speak to my husband"!
    I paraphrase Gloria Steinham - last week she said something like ... a revolution takes 100 years - we are 40 years in - only half way there - women now know they are worth something - men have still to learn women are worth something and they, the men, have to learn to carry half the load.
    I find living in a small town it is discouraging because there are more small minds but nevertheless when I called a bylaw officer it was a woman who knocked on my door. Our mayor is a woman - we are on the move my dear. It is too bad a lot of men haven't been able to compete and are finding themselves lost and alone.
    The way I see this one the glass is half full!

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  17. Like Agent, I never watch the Oscars, or indeed any of these awards ceremonies that seem to happen almost daily. I prefer to look at the art itself rather than some trumped-up celeb-fest. They're always self-congratulatory, misogynistic and body-focused.

    And yes, subjecting 2000 vulnerable, brutalised women to the further brutality of jails is inexcusable.

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  18. T:
    We could debate this endlessly and differ so widely in the interpretation of what happened. Whether directed or not at Clooney, the repugnant remark involved a child sitting in that audience.
    And being millionaires or whatever is not relevant. These women are professional actors and were grossly insulted, diminished and demeaned to a huge world wide audience and their privacy invaded in some cases.
    XO
    WWW

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  19. Betty:

    It is fine to sit where we are in our lives of privilege in Canada and say I'm alright Jackie.

    I just read an article on a girl being just about beaten to death because she was raped by her stepfather and considered unclean.

    My protests will never cease. I am in solidarity with that girlchild and all those girl children mutiliated and debased and all women who do not have what we take so much for granted.

    I am extraordinarily grateful I have the life I have today but the battle hasn't even begun.

    XO
    WWW

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  20. You certainly summed up well all the shortcomings that women still face. We have made strides but we have ever so much further to go.

    I watched the Oscars mainly to see how the show compared with previous years since there have been different Producers/Directors from some in earlier years. Satire or not I thought the "boob" song was disgusting and was needlessly low level entertainment at the teenage sniggle level. Guess these Producers were willing to do anything to get a younger demographic -- FWIW the ratings went up this year after dropping several years.

    I think part of the host's duties is responsibility for the content he presents -- to see that it reflects awareness and sensitivity to all his audience. In this case, that included recognition and consideration that he had a child nominee in the audience. The host had many talents which could easily have made the program much more enjoyable for all ages.

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  21. Joared:
    As you can see, this post caused quite a lot of divisiveness and the loss of some good blog-buddies :(

    You sum up my feelings on it very well.

    And I thank you.

    I literally felt ill at the boob song, thinking how regressive and infantile, feeding to the teenage boy demographic. Sad.

    XO
    WWW

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  22. I didn't watch the Oscars, so I am totally unaware of the "boob song" and I think I will remain that way and not try to find out the lyrics of it. Yes, I am curious a bit, but will not waste any time on something that sounds so undignified and outrageous. I wish more women got into an uproar like you do, WWW, and made a great noise that sounded like terrifying thunder to the ears of the world. I hate to think we women still act like timid mice.

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  23. Wow Wise - this morning I returned to the comment I made re your post re the degrading of women at the Oscars. Rather amazed to see a little garbage can beside my post and when I hover it asks if I would like to delete my post. How did the garbage can get there I wonder? Maybe it just shows up when I log in?
    In any case Wise I had no argument whatsoever with your post. My almost first words are "what you say is true" and I quoted Steinham re "we are only half way there" etc. Of course women are still second class citizens!
    In case you think I was to the manor born think again. I have a grade nine education - come from a mentally ill family - worked two jobs most of my life [office during the day, waitress at night] had a "friend" try to rape me, raised my kids alone and could tell you stories about inequality that I imagine would raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Oh I forgot one of those - they locked me up in the nuthouse for 6 weeks and the CAS took my kids for several months. I know a bit about being a woman in our culture and I still say it is a hell of a lot better than it was during my time although we still have a hell of a long way to go - especially when speaking of women in the world rather than the Oscars.

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  24. Irene you missed very little, it was totally juvenile (I saw your boobs, whoopy shit)and demeaned every female actor in the audience.

    Yes I will be dead before I stop screaming!!

    XO
    WWW

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  25. Point taken Betty. I guess I was pretty upset over a dismissive post from someone else and carried it on to a response to yours.

    I apologise.

    We have seen too much in our lives Betty that any gains are immense. And they truly are.

    But the regression is stunning when it comes to shaming professional actors and their body parts and objectifying a female child as potential arm candy for a elder male.

    XO
    WWW

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