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Archive for January, 2007

I’ve been watching TV shows about crime for years. I have always really liked these shows – anything to do with police or lawyers or criminalists or profilers. I’ve watched them faithfully – all the Law and Order shows, the CSI shows, the other stuff that comes along about serial killers and missing persons and bad-ass lawyers.

Well, tonight I made a decision to stop watching these shows. I watched a particularly disturbing episode of Law and Order: SVU, in which a serial rapist was targeting the same victims over and over again and tracking their ovulation so that he could impregnate them. Then, I watched an episode of Criminal Minds in which a guy kidnapped three teenage girls and held them until they turned on each other and one of them was killed out of desperation and sensory deprivation.

Now maybe it’s because the moon is in my sign today, or something, but I was really overwhelmed by these shows. And it reminded me of something Twisty has said about Law and Order: SVU being basically a show that exploits and pornifies the sexual torture of women for our entertainment. And you know, I think she’s right. Every episode there’s another mutilated and raped female body on display. But the show is never about the victim, not really, even despite the word being in the name of the show. It’s about the crazy guy who’s torturing women sexually. And look, isn’t he creepy and weird and twisted and insane and interesting. And entertaining. And it all just pushes sexual violence further out of the realm of something that happens everyday in far less sensational ways, and it makes us less sensitive to it in real life. And I don’t want to be desensitized to the occurrence of sexual violence in society.

So that’s it for me. I am not going to subject myself to watching these TV shows anymore. I’m done with these explicit, graphic crime shows and the glorification of psychotic rapists and killers for entertainment purposes. DONE.

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so apparently, the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions and make our planet viable for future generations is a big old pinko plot to suck money out of rich countries. Really. So says the Prime Minister of Canada, in an official letter leaked today and published on the Liberal’s website.

This is the latest in a series of barbs exchanged this week by the Tories and the Grits. The Tories, for the record, started it with negative ads directed at the Liberal party’s new leader, Stephane Dion, slotted to run during the Superbowl this weekend. Might I remind you that we are NOT in the midst of an election.

Oh, and today, Canada’s Environment Commissioner got fired.

Also, the Sydney Tar Ponds are about to get buried.

Good to know how our elected officials are spending/wasting their time/our money.

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child rapist gets 4 years

Darrell James Smith, just convicted of sexually assaulting two children and videotaping one of the attacks, was sentenced to 4 years in prison today. Public outcry over the sentence has called it too lenient. The judge who made the ruling has defended the decision, saying that a prison sentence is a harsh sentence.

4 years is enough time for sexually assaulting two young children? And creating child pornography in the process? 4 years is enough? Considering most sexual assualt cases in Canada end in a stay, and many of those who are convicted get probation and house arrest, in comparison a prison sentence is harsh. But is it sufficient punishment for traumatizing two children?

I say, no it is not. No it is not enough.

For society to take crimes of sexual abuse seriously, our courts need to also take them seriously. And this is not enough.

Read about it here.

UPDATE: I just read an article in my local paper here about a man in Sydney who is getting NO JAIL TIME for raping FOUR children. Where is the consistency? Oh, I think I get it – Smith made child porn, so he gets jail. Sure, that’s perfectly sensible. whatever – I’m jsut getting more and more disgusted with the so-called ‘justice’ system.

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seriously. Sam sent me a link to this article, in Aussie online mag The Age, which is all about these men who earn their living teaching other men to be smarmy in bars and other social events. I post it as fair warning to women: men are willing to pay someone to teach them how to trick you into thinking they are charming so they can get into your pants. And some men are willing to take that money.

Wellington has taken at least a dozen phone numbers tonight, but he has no intention of using them. Tonight’s about business, not pleasure: it is his job to teach men the art of seduction. He is a professional pick-up artist.

“At a very young age I learnt that I liked these soft, curvy, nice-smelling things called girls,” Wellington says. “So I started to teach men how to be better in their presence.” That’s putting it mildly. [emphasis mine]

Wellington and his friend James Marshall run a business called The Natural, offering weekend workshops in seduction. These cover skills such as body language, conversation, presentation and “touch training”. Two days of intensive, one-on-one tuition costs $880.

So, these guys think they are teaching men how to be “natural” with women. It couldn’t be that they’re teaching men how to be sleazy and dishonest? Why is it that teaching men to be confident with women is automatically about tricking women into thinking the man is something he’s not – smooth, suave, charming? Then again, the whole thing is about performance – gender is one big long performance, an imitation that really has no original in the first place, and why shouldn’t we just learn to be different at it? I dunno, maybe because nothing is honest in this world anymore! Nobody knows how to be honest with one another! At least, not when it comes to sex. Here’s more:

“What we’ve got now is a big generation of closet heterosexuals being quite asexual in their approach to women. They become their best friend, but their own worst enemies. I call it ‘Best Friend Syndrome’.” Marshall calls such men “moths”.


“Hovering around the light, banging their heads against it occasionally,” he says. “People occasionally say to me ‘you guys are womanisers, this is a sleazy thing to be teaching’. And I say, ‘well, what I think the most sleazy thing is pretending to be a girl’s friend for three years waiting for a moment of vulnerability’.”

Marshall and Wellington aren’t alone in their belief that men are now sexually neutered and need to regroup. [emphasis mine]

Oh yeah, men are ‘sexually neutered’ in our society. Everything from advertising to movies to TV to music to fashion treats women like objects to be used for male sexual graitification, objects that couldn’t possibly have a sexuality of their own to express, but men are ‘sexually neutered’ – sure, I’ll buy that. When monkeys fly out of my ass.

Get ready, girls. This is how they do it. Memorize this shit, so you know exactly what to watch out for (for the record, the guys in this article don’t teach this method, they teach one that they claim is more ‘direct’ – this method comes from asshats in California who run a similar woman-tricking business):

“Indirect gaming” is counterintuitive. Don’t talk to the “hot babe” (HB) or “super hot babe” (SHB) you’re interested in; talk to her friend and look like you’re having a great time. Next try a “neg” — a backhanded compliment to show the woman you are indifferent to her beauty.

(“Beautiful nails — are they real?”; “Nice dress — I saw it on another girl just a minute ago.”)

Once the HB’s interest is piqued, you could lead her up a “yes ladder”, asking questions that require an obvious affirmative answer. (“Can I ask you a question?” leads to “Are you adventurous?” leads to “Can you prove it?”).

Gross, right? Treat her a little bit like shit, then she’ll like you and think you’re clever and charming. Women, learn these methods well. Don’t get sucked in.

[One man] has a different agenda; he has paid for wingmen services, but will not say with whom. He refuses any form of identification, but is at pains to explain that he is no Average Frustrated Chump.

“In the year or so I’ve been in the Lair I’ve approached probably 10,000 women and slept with about 100.” But he says there was a problem with the “quality of women”; the wingmen services allowed him to zero in on better “targets”. [emphasis mine]

“Sarah” is that sort of target.

She believes she uncovered a pick-up artist on a date last year. “We were at a bar just talking and it became quite obvious that this guy had a method,” she says. “He was very smooth, very attentive, very focused on the conversation like there was no one else in the room.

“But when I challenged him he was quite honest with me — he told me how he has a particular way of picking up women, that he usually picks them up just for sex, that he would never go for somebody who’s not a ‘9’ or a ’10’ on a scale of 1-10.

“He said to me ‘you’re not a 9 or a 10 but, I don’t know, I was intrigued’.”

A classic “neg”, but Sarah wasn’t biting. So the PUA went for broke and suggested to Sarah that she might like a slot on his “sexual roster”.

“I pulled away and said ‘sorry, I don’t go on people’s rosters’. I’m single and I’m thinking to myself, ‘is this what I’m out there facing’? I’m hoping to God I don’t come across them too often.”

Sarah says the revelation of pick-up strategies made her feel physically ill.

“There’s no serendipity or consideration for the other person’s feelings. It was just so male-centric and one-sided that I was just absolutely disgusted.

“I feel like we’re saturating ourselves with the desire to be with somebody and not actually just going out and living our life and being open and giving ourselves a chance. And the pool of respectable gentlemen is narrowing.”

Three cheers for Sarah! God, the ego of these men – “quality targets”? Jesus. Where is there any room for honesty, for authentic feeling (beyond sexual arousal)? With all the trickery going on here, we only distance ourselves further from the chance for anything genuine at all. Didn’t these people see “Hitch”?

Wellington and Marshall heartily disagree. They say their “direct” method eschews the Jedi mind tricks and ridiculous aliases of the “indirect” school.


“It is ‘natural game’ and it’s direct,” Marshall says. “Being honest; showing that you think they’re attractive; showing that you admire them; or showing your intentions straight off.

It’s not about the opener, not through what you say — it’s just how you’re feeling inside and how you’re expressing that.”

Note: these ‘direct’ moves include things like how to stand, when and where to touch a woman (on the arm, the on the small of the back), and *exactly what to say*. Yeah. Real “natural.”

So, this is what we’re dealing with out there in the world of hetero dating. Predators teaching men to be predators. And getting paid very well to do it. Maybe I’ll start a business of my own, and I’ll call myself a date doctor, and instead of teaching men sleazy tricks to get into a woman’s pants, I’ll teach them how to actually treat women with respect. But, oh, wait – a business like that won’t make any money! The ones that make money are the ones that teach men to trick women. Because apparently, some men would rather learn how to trick a woman than learn how to be respectful and genuine.

[Sam, muchos gracias.]

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Erase Racism Carnival 8

sorry, I’m a little late in posting a link to this instalment of the Erase Racism Carnival at Trying to Follow. It’s quite excellent, with lots of video clips, so be sure to check it out!

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Twilight Zone: well, one of my co-workers is moving, so we had a going away shin-dig for her last night, at her favourite bar. It’s a country bar, maybe the only one in the city (I don’t know for sure, I don’t keep track of these kinds of things). I’ve never been there before, seeing as I don’t like country music too much. When I walked in with my peeps, it felt like entering the twilight zone, or maybe another planet. And I was the alien.

It felt so weird – I was so completely out of place. In fact, I’ve never felt so out of place before. I guess it’s custom there for the owner of the bar to call out people who are celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and going-aways onto the dance floor and make them objects of gawking and gaping, then force them to start the dancing off. This happened to my group, yours truly included. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. It was awkward. The song was something about riding a cowboy.

There was a band, and a lot of people who were really quite good dancers who go there regularly to cut a rug. There was one girl who was the hit of the party, she kind of pranced a bit and leapt like a leprechaun or an elf when she danced. Nobody was out of place, though – except for me.

I don’t really understand the whole fake fashion-cowboy thing. We live in a city, and there aren’t really a lot of horses and cows around here. The girls kept saying to me, “maybe you’ll find yourself a cowboy, Thinking Girl.” I kept saying, “here are no cowboys in here!” If you’ve got no livestock, you’re not a cowboy. Sorry.

Arrogant Bravado: I did however meet a guy who was quite amiable and chatty. And talking to him brought me to a realization.

Here’s the thing: when I go out, I like to dress nicely, and fix my hair nicely, and put on makeup I might not wear on a daily basis, and wear pretty shoes. (there’s a whole ‘nother discussion that can be had around this femininity practicing, and the patriarchal nature of these things that I claim I like to do, that I claim I choose to do, and pressures and coercion and feminine beauty ideals and marginalization, but that’s not the point right now.) So when I go out, I look pretty good. Also, when I go out, I go out to have a good time, to have fun with friends. I don’t go out self-consciously, looking to meet a potential boyfriend or find someone to take home. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my motivation for leaving my house on a Friday night. So, when I go out, I’m having a good time, and I’m pretty comfortable and confident with myself.

So, sometimes when I am out with friends, men approach me. Typically, these guys are arrogant, smarmy, pushy, and obnoxious. They almost always mention something about how I look, my outfit, my hair, my shoes, or my lipstick. Often they say something about liking confident women. And then they have nothing else to say, except “Can I buy you a drink/Do you want to dance/Come here often/Do you have a boyfriend?”. And they don’t seem to get it that I am not interested. They are pushy. And so eventually, I have to “be a bitch” to make them go away. (by “be a bitch”, I mean I have to tell them directly and clearly that I am not interested and to please leave me alone. I’m not usually rude about this, but I am firm. If it doesn’t work the first time, which it often doesn’t, then I unfortunately have to be rude. This usually includes the phrase “Fuck off”.)  Alternatively, they seem nice enough, and so I agree to let them buy me a drink, and then they seem to think that accepting a drink means I will go home with them. At which point I have to “be a bitch” to make them go away. And these are the guys who actually have the “courtesy” to talk to you – unlike the Octopi-guys who simply approach you from behind on the dance floor and start grinding their crotches against your ass or hip. Yes, really.  At which point I have to “be a bitch” to make them go away. So these encounters almost always end with me “being a bitch.” Which is fine, so long as they go away.

Is this a familiar cycle to anyone else? It seems like, with most of my friends, we all have experiences like this.  And we all find it tiring. Of course, the Arrogant Bravado Strategy is often successful, thanks to deeply encoded gender scripts that tell women to be coy and shy and reserved and wait for the man to make a move first because otherwise you’re a SLUT and to also choose a man that seems like he’s strong and capable and brave. Which is why guys continue to employ it.

Which brings me to the guy I met last night. He fit the typical pattern, but he wasn’t all that smarmy (at first?). He actually just kind of came off as a bit nervous. He told me he and his buddies thought I was attractive (“not that it matters, but my buddies and I voted you the best-looking girl here” – gack, voting on women’s appearances like women only leave the house looking nice to be rated like pieces of meat), that he would like to buy me a drink if it wasn’t obvious I was completely sober (which I was), asked me “where’s your boyfriend?” and subsequently why I don’t have one (“I don’t particularly want one” was my answer, which he found funny and “honest”) and that this was his first time there, and was it mine too? He then went on to tell me that he finds women don’t respond well to the usual way men approach them in bars (The Arrogant Bravado Strategy), and even when he feels he is jsut “being friendly,” women respond to him the way they respond to the smarmy asshats. And so he’s learned to downplay his approach. He also told me that he “would never expect anything from a woman” just because he had bought her drinks for her, and that he thinks this expectation some men seem to have is ridiculous, considering buying a woman drinks might typically cost a guy about $20-30 depending on how many and how expensive the drinks, and the going rate for a blow job from a prostitute is more than that (I cringed at this comment too). Then he went on to say that these guys really piss him off because they give guys like him a bad name, and asked how many boyfriends I have met in bars (0) and why I thought that might be (I said I don’t think a bar is a great place to meet people), how big my family is, and when I told him I have no brothers or sisters he told me that meant I was “highly intelligent and very sensitive”, which he could also tell by the way I behaved in the 3 hours he had been watching me. At which point I politely told him I had to go, and I left. (Hint: telling someone you’ve been watching them for 3 hours is creepy.)

So, my realization. Actually it was a two-fold realization: 1) this is the Alternative Nice-Guy Strategy guys use to talk to women in bars – distancing themselves from the typical smarmy guys who use the Arrogant Bravado Strategy makes them appear a million times better in comparison when they’re really just being polite and normal (at least for a while), and 2) it must be hard for men to talk to women they find attractive in bars, or other social settings, but particularly bars, which have a weird dynamic all their own. Even if this guy was using the Alternative Nice-Guy Strategy, that he feels he needs a strategy to talk to women is kind of sad.

Which brings me full-circle to the Arrogant Bravado Strategy: Part 2 of my realization necessitates (or so some men think) Part 1, the Arrogant Bravado/Alternative Nice-Guy Strategies. Because it’s not easy to talk to women in bars, societal pressures of masculinity firmly in place, the Arrogant Bravado guys have to work up the nerve. And so, the arrogance. The bravado. The pushiness. The obnoxiousness. Throw in a couple drinks of liquid courage and the package is complete. Considering that appearance is the only thing we have to go on when we first meet someone new, here come the compliments about how a woman looks. And when a woman appears quite confident, a man has to at least match that, if not overcome it, with confidence of his own (or so say the rules of patriarchal intergender bar-room interaction). Which is maybe why I have always thought when men say they like a confident woman, what they mean is that it’s more of a challenge to dominate her (what fun!). Conversely, with the Alternative Nice-Guy Strategy, at least the nervousness about talking to a woman you find attractive can work in your favour.

So, that’s my analysis of gendered bar behaviour. What do you think about this, readers? What have your experiences been? How do you normally approach someone you find attractive? What attracts you, or repels you, when you meet someone new? Since my experience is only heterosexual, how might this differ in same-sex scenarios?

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Marc Andre’s tag

this one is 5 things you people don’t know about me already. Hmmm.

1. I really like pyjamas. I would spend everyday all day in them if I could. I don’t ever ever wear them out of doors, like the kids do these days, but I sure do love wearing them inside my house.

2. I kind of collect beach glass. I’m not obsessed with it or anything, but I do seem to have quite a bit of it. I’m kind of thinking of making something out of it, like a picture frame or something. I am drawn to it, I like how smooth it is. And beachcombing is the most relaxing thing ever. Those of you who don’t have any ocean nearby, you’re really missing out.

3. I don’t drink coffee. I hate the way it tastes, and I even hate the way it smells. I do like chai, and tea. But not everyday. Coffee is gross.

4.  I drive a VW Beetle. Stick shift. 1999. Indigo. It’s a bit banged up, because whenever I lend it to my father he ruins something. It’s got a cold weather package, so the seats and side mirrors are heated. I love my car. And I just paid it off, so now it’s all mine.

5.  I don’t have any tattoos. I will never get one. I can’t think of anything that I could see wanting on my body for the whole rest of my life. That’s a serious commitment. That said, I love other people’s tattoos. I like the stories that people have about their tattoos, and I especially love sleeve or bodysuit tattoos. It’s like wearing your life story on your skin. I’m kind of obsessed with the show Miami Ink. I think Kat von D is the best!!!! and Ami James is hot.

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