Last month, American discussion site Reddit banned an online community that glorified and incited violence against women. The subreddit is believed to have had up to 40,000 members or “incels”, which stands for ‘involuntarily celibate’.
The following is an excerpt from ‘”I Hate Feminists!” December 6, 1989, and its Aftermath’.
‘On December 6, 1989, at around 5 p.m., as the women engineers-to-be at the École
Polytechnique were studying or writing their end of term examinations, Marc Lépine, a twenty-five- year- old man dressed in army fatigues, went up to the second floor of the school and entered a classroom occupied by about sixty students, female and male. He separated the class into two groups and told the men to leave. When he was alone with the women students, he proclaimed: “I hate feminists!” He fired. Marc Lépine left fourteen women dead and fourteen people wounded.
‘The Montreal police department had given the media a summary of his motives as expressed in the suicide note found on his body; with the note was a list of women and men he had been planning to murder, women who were pioneers in their fields (including the first woman firefighter and the first woman police officer) [and] well known feminists.
A recent article offering men advice about how to proposition a woman wearing headphones – encouraging them to block her path to prevent her from ignoring them – rightfully provoked a major backlash. But the backlash also brought a certain phenomenon to wider public attention – the fact that women sometimes wear headphones as a way to avoid unwanted approaches in public.
The public conversation on violence against women tends to focus on sexual assault and domestic abuse. We talk less about the routine intrusions women experience from men in their everyday lives, even though this is the most common form of sexual violence.
My recent research looked at how women navigate interruptions, intrusions, and harassment from unknown men in public. What was most surprising was how all 50 of the women I interviewed significantly underestimated the amount of work they were putting in to avoid intrusions by men in the street, and the impact this had on them.
They recognised that they were making certain decisions about routes home, or where to sit on public transport. They spoke about using sunglasses or headphones in order to create a shield – a way to give the impression that they didn’t hear that man making a sexual comment, or didn’t see that other man touching himself as he walked behind them.
Many categorised their clothes in relation to safety. Scarves were seen as safe – handy for covering your chest. The colour red was, for some, seen as unsafe – too bright, too obvious, too visible. Some even adopted particular facial expressions, trying to balance “looking tough” against the desire to not be told to “cheer up” by a man they’d never met before.
The women I spoke to knew they were doing some of these things but other behaviours were less conscious. They hadn’t really reflected on how much energy went into avoiding unwanted contact below the surface and how their freedom was affected.
Image: The FederalistRead more
Content Warning: This piece contains graphic descriptions of mainstream pornography.
We need to talk about porn. We need to have a huge, comprehensive, massive undertaking of a conversation on the complex, contentious, divisive thing that is porn. What is not needed is relegating porn to something between children and their guardians, or something for teachers to deal with. It affects all of us, whether we like it or not. We all have a responsiblity to be part of this conversation, even if we are not using it. This thing is huge, and soundbites and one liners will never put a tidy lid on this sprawling mess.
Here are some search terms which I came across during a brief scroll around Pornhub.Read more
Professor Gail Dines has spoken out about the United Airlines controversy wherein passenger Dr Dao was brutally assaulted. Professor Dines asks where is the same outrage for women suffering violence in pornography?Read more
Over the past few years we have been shocked by the dramatic rise in domestic violence. We have seen a State Government taskforce established and generous funding pledged from the Federal Government in order to put an end to domestic and family violence. Despite this the problem grows and the pornography industry thrives. Once only freely available in the online space, pornography has now has successfully transitioned into the mainstream. Just look at the Fifty Shades Franchise.Read more
Researchers have found a direct link between seeing girls as sex objects and showing aggression towards them in teenage boys.
Boys who agreed strongly with statements such as "girls are only good for their body", "it's OK to treat girls as objects" or "girls are only used for pleasure" were more likely to be aggressive towards girls – but only if they were not members of a gang, according to a study published in the journal Psychology, Crime and Law.Read more
When it comes to pornography, there is no shortage of opinions. We've compiled responses to some of the more common arguments from defenders of the porn industry.
I was recently scrolling through social media when a disturbing sponsored ad showed up in my feed. It instantly didn't sit right with me. Women's body parts were featured coming out of holes in the wall, hands, feet, arms and legs with accessories and clothing dangling off them. There were no heads, no faces, just limbs.