On the (Rest of the) Net.

“If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem. [Haverford]

Speaking of menses, if you like to wear your heart on your sleeve there’s now a t-shirt to celebrate getting your rocks off whilst on your period. Too bad it’s from the dubious American Apparel… [Birdee]

I’m going to Washington, D.C. in six weeks (New York in two and a bit!) and if the U.S. federal government shutdown is still in effect, Alyssa Rosenberg has compiled a list of non-governmental things to do in the city. [ThinkProgress]

Preorder your copy of Filmme Fatales issue three, in which I write about sex work in For a Good Time, Call…, along with many surely great pieces on feminism in film.

The season of the witch is upon us, what with The Witches of East End and American Horror Story: Coven premiering in the U.S. this week. The New Inquiry‘s latest issue is all about these supernatural ladies; subscribe for only $2 a month for all their witchy goodness. Some of the features are also available on their homepage.

Chris Brown was raped as a child; he was not “raring to go” and it was not “every boy’s fantasy”. [Feministing, Flavorwire]

Texas Governor Rick Perry claims his doddering wife “misspoke” and “put the wrong word in the wrong place” when she admitted that she thinks abortion should—or “could”—be the choice of a woman. It make me sick that Perry feels the need to infantilise and “correct” his wife for her apparent conversational faux pas because it doesn’t jive with his policies. Luckily there may be a new Governor on the rise for Texas, the unquestionably pro-choice filibustering Wendy Davis! [Feministing]

To rape-joke or not to rape-joke, that is the question. [Bitch Magazine]

Pop stars and “Naked Hot Body Fatigue”. [Jezebel]

Women in the World also discuss the feminism of Britney Spears’ “Work, Bitch”.

Image via Birdee.

TV: Private Practice—“Rape is Rape”.

 

While at times it felt like Violet and Sheldon were reading from press releases regarding sexual assault in the military and the sexual assault of men (the episode was shot in partnership with RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network), you have to applaud Private Practice for being the most progressive of Shonda Rimes creations, what with last season’s rape of Charlotte and Addison’s speech about being one of only 1700 abortion providers in the United States.

Last night, Sheldon treated a soldier who’d been raped by his supervisor while on a tour of duty in the Middle East. There’s always stigma attached to male victims of sexual assault, and Rick questions his masculinity and his inability to fight his attacker off. As Sheldon says, “If a man doesn’t fight back, it makes him question whether he’s really a man.”

Rick hasn’t told his wife, Kelly, about his assault, but she knows he’s suffering from some kind of PTSD because he flinches at her touch and their sex life is non-existant.

When Rick finally gets the courage to confess what happened to Kelly, with Sheldon’s support, she pulls away from him, asking if he’s trying to tell her he’s gay because he didn’t escape the assault.

“How is that [being raped by one man] even possible? You’re a soldier,” Kelly marvels, as if the two are mutually exclusive. “Why didn’t you stop him?”

Selfishly, Kelly confesses to Sam, a friend of the family, that Rick is supposed to protect her; yeah, ’cause I’m sure that’s the first thing that ran through his mind when he was ambushed from behind and sodomised.

Credit to a show that is often overlooked in favour of its older sister show, Grey’s Anatomy (how else do you explain Seven pushing the show back to an 11:15 start time on a Thursday night? Some people have to work on Friday morning!), for a sensitive, realistic and non-judgemental portrayal of a not-often-discussed topic: male rape in the military.

Related: Top 11 TV Moments of 2011.

Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

Image via Pop Talk.

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses*.

 

Horrible Bosses, despite being a “sophomoric”, Judd Apatovian-esque, “toilet-humour”-filled outing, was much better than I thought it would be.

However, putting aside how hilarious it was much I enjoyed it, there were some race and sex issues I wanted to discuss.

  • “Take us to the most dangerous bar in the city.” Which just happened to be full of black people. Racist much?
  • Men being sexually harassed by their hot female boss isn’t an issue. While Jason Bateman’s Nick and Kurt, played by Jason Sudeikis, have douchebag-asshole-psycho male bosses who are making their lives hell, Charlie Day’s Dave is being sexually harassed and manipulated by his “maneater” boss, Julia, played by Jennifer Aniston. She accosts him in her office wearing nothing by suspenders and a lab coat, she sprays him with a dental irrigation hose in the crotch to “make out the shape of his penis” and blackmails him with photos she took of them together while he was passed out in the dentists chair and she was half-naked. While the movie made it plain as day that what Dave was experiencing was pretty distressing, his buddies brushed it off, saying that in comparison to their bosses, his doesn’t sound so bad.
  • Crazy, manipulative bitches can have “the crazy fucked out of them”. This is an age old trope whereby uptight, bitchy, mentally ill and a myriad of other negative personality traits in women can have them gone, so long as they get a good fuck. Apparently, this isn’t the case, as Julie’s just as crazy as she was before Kurt slipped and fell into her during his reconnaissance mission.
  • Male rape doesn’t exist. Much like how True Blood dealt with it, when Dave cries rape after Julie shows him the aforementioned photos, his friends brush it off with a guffaw, saying there’s no such thing and if only they were “raped” by a boss as hot as his. Fail.
  • There’s such a thing as being “more rapable” than someone else. When their plot looks all but foiled by a comedy of errors, someone (probably Nick, the most level headed one) mentions the possibility of going to jail. Kurt says he can’t go to jail because he’d get raped like there’s no tomorrow. Nick says he would too, and Kurt asserts that he’s more rapable than Nick. They bring Dave in as tiebreaker, and he sides with Nick being more rapabale, as prison rapists go for “weakness” and “vulnerability”. Regular rapists do, too, if Dave’s dental chair experience is anything to go by!

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Related: Bridesmaids Review.

Rachel Berry as Feminist.

Male Rape on True Blood.

Elsewhere: [Persephone Magazine] Gorgeous, Sexy, “Crazy”: The Fetishisation of On-Screen Mental Illness.

Image via IMDb.

TV: Male Rape on True Blood.

 

True Blood is known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to sex scenes. Graveyard rape fantasies, BDSM, and head-turning vampire sex. But let’s get one thing straight; last night’s gang rape of Jason Stackhouse by the Hot Shot werepanther women was not a sex scene, as some reviewers have been calling it.

But, while it is most definitely a glorified rape scene, it is also an exercise in slut-shaming and male-rape denying.

When asked about the scene, True Blood creator Alan Ball said,

“It’s kind of interesting to see the kind of guy who really gets his sense of worth from his sexual prowess to all of a sudden to be kind of objectified and sort of [laughs] used against his will.”

Slut-shaming by any other name.

The idea that someone who is sexually promiscuous isn’t really raped because they’re just getting their “comeuppance” is horrifying.

Jason even echoes Ball’s perspective, perfectly portraying how some rape victims feel as thought their attack was their fault. And why wouldn’t they? Unless you’re a young virginal woman dressed head to toe in a burqa walking alone down an alley at night and are attacked by a man in a mask and report it immediately, you’re not really raped. Jason says:

“As much as I love it, every bad thing that has ever happened to me is because of sex, [he enumerates on his fingers] jealous boyfriends, becoming a drug addict, being accused of murder… Maybe God’s punishing me for having too much sex. He’s like ‘Jason Stackhouse you have fucked too many hot women, now let’s see how you like it.’”

Hoyt goes on to compare his relationship problems with Jessica to “kind of” being like Jason’s sexual assault—and let’s not forget his potential werepanther turn!

You wouldn’t catch (most) women trying to compare their relationship problems to a friend’s rape; maybe that’s because in a lot of peoples’ eyes, and Ball’s, apparently, male-rape doesn’t exist.

Sure, Jason was drugged with Mexican Viagra, but it is still possible for a man to become physically aroused whilst not being mentally aroused, just as it is for women.

Bitch magazine puts it best:

“… When a rape clearly occurs onscreen and we call it something else, that contributes to a culture that says straight men can’t be victims of rape, especially if they’re young and attractive and enjoy sex with women.”

It will remain to be seen whether True Blood handles the aftermath of Jason’s attack realistically, or if he lapses back into his fun-loving, iron-pumping, consensually women-fucking ways, without any acknowledgement of what happened to him. Oh, and there’s that whole werepanther thing…

Elsewhere: [Bitch Magazine] True Blood: A Werepanther Rape is Not a “Sex Scene”.

[Feministe] True Blood Season Four & Female-on-Male Rape.

[Thought Catalog] On Rape in True Blood.

[Jezebel] Ass-Kicking, Rape & Fairy Godmother Murder.

[Tumblin Feminist] HBO’s True Blood, Rape & Sexual Slavery.

Image via Bitch, Jezebel.