From The XX Factor, “Rape-Proof Pants”

For Slate, Ellen Tarlin writes:

BBC News reports that a court in Rome ruled that “Women in jeans ‘cannot be raped.’ “ What a wonderful coup this information will be for parents of girls. Just imagine, you no longer have to worry about preserving your daughter’s virtue; just buy her a pair of jeans. And to think of all the things that young women have had to avoid for years: staying out late, walking home alone after dark, perusing dark alleys, dressing too provocatively, letting a boy drive her home. No longer a worry! Just put some jeans on under your prom dress! This could also be a terrific boon to the clothing industry, although I suspect that while chastity jeans would be a big seller among parents, not so much for the teens.

Pinked-up pugilists pound paternalistic pr*cks

In the impoverished Indian district of Bundelkhand, notorious for a history of banditry and violence, a gang of women vigilantes are wearing pink and knocking heads together as they confront a misogynistic culture and bureaucratic corruption.

[Movement founder Sampat Devi Pal] is difficult company. Those not showing her the utmost respect get crude abuse. Yet in a place where expectation of female restraint is so faithfully observed, only someone as irascible as Pal could defy it. I meet her husband in the couple’s home, which is built in a ditch with plastic sheeting for a roof. He is mute and utterly obedient to her every order. Later, an astonishing role reversal takes place as half a dozen loyal and obedient male hangers-on are sent running at the snap of her fingers to fetch us tea and guavas.

My admiration for those who oppose institutional and cultural injustice is mingled with an anxious hope that the day will come soon when Pal and her companions can turn to more peaceable means of achieving their ends. You can read the rest of Raekha Prasad’s report at The Guardian.

Perhaps not unexpected, this.

The WordPress software conveniently compiles a list of the search terms which lead people to this blog. Here, for your interest and contemplation, is a selection of a dozen of the search terms which led visitors to Hoochie Woman this month:

-peeing women bushes
-girls peeing in bushes
-robot women
-pictures of female robots
-women robots
-extra arms
-androgynous hillary clinton
-futuristic robot
-sick fetish
-sexy calvin ads
-objectification blog
-men peeing in bushes pictures

The most popular search term: “fetish.”

At least no one can say we’re doing nothing more than preaching to the converted. So, welcome, erotically inquisitive web surfers! Come for the fetish, stay for the feminism.

You’d prefer if they HATED Yale sluts?

I was reading the Hartford Courant, and I found out that some Yale frat boys went to a game and held up a sign: “WE LOVE YALE SLUTS.” Naturally, people are complaining about it.

What ever happened to free speech? These fraternity members shouldn’t be punished at all. If we start punishing people for being idiots 99% of the country would be in jail. It does not work both ways, women in general cannot ask to be placed on a pedestal and at the same time act like drunk sailors. Respect is something that is earned. What’s the big deal? Boys will be boys, especially in college. Look at the popular “role models”: Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, etc… no one seems to mind that THEY are sluts.

The women need to let it go, and not be some damn uptight over the situation. Get on with learning and doing something more productive. Going to college means getting an education. And these kids certainly have gotten one with their prank. The lesson learned is: If you are a man, you do not make jokes about women. You just don’t do it, no matter how funny or innocent or transient it may be.

When did everyone lose their sense of humor? Does Yale require you turn it in upon admission? I thought the PC craze disappeared years ago. These very same women are the one at the frat parties dropping there pants I’m sure. We are no longer allowed to joke or have a bit of silly fun. We must all keep our heads down, our mouths shut and our hands in our pockets, well except if you are a comedian of a certain race, then it’s “funny” when a joke is told about a person of another race. Tell the prissy pigs to bag it & grow up!

College boys can be crude and unruly any female who has higher education knows that! She usually also knows how to roll her eyes and move on! Stop sweating the small stuff sweeties!! Life can be a lot tougher than horny heckling from some fellow ivy leaguers! Frat pledges do something stupid and tasteless things. Is this news to anyone?

Some one needs to learn how to laugh at themselves… We are a society full of bleeding hearts who will grasp at any straw just to feel accepted. This is unbelievable. So what? Some kids had a sign that was stupid and crude… Please tell me why this is such an affront? They’re young and stupid, let them enjoy it while they can for heavens sake. Why have we raised children with such a critical lack of self esteem that some fools with a stupid sign who were probably drunk off their asses “hurts their feelings.” If the kids beat a feminist I could understand the outcry, but this is ridiculous.

The university is too worried about being politically correct than it is concerned with the perception of the average American who realizes this is JUST A JOKE! As a member of a national fraternity, I realize this isn’t the classiest thing to do. But lighten up! There are a lot bigger problems in our world than a blurry picture of a message some drunk 18yo scratched on a piece of paper! Step back and put this in perspective

A message for the women who are upset about this: Get back in the kitchen. Oh yeah, and dinner BETTER be on the table when I get home from work. Was it in poor taste? Sure. Nevertheless, how insecure are you to take it to this extreme? In addition, why would you project your own insecurities in crowds of people or “men” as you say on others?

Liberty is being able to say what you want to say even if no one likes it. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech did not say, “I have a dream that one day my children and women will be treated better than other children.” His dream was to be treated the same perhaps that should be all of our dreams. These women need to get over themselves. Women are now the majority on campus and men the minority, I say protect the minority’s right to expression! They should only get so worked up over honor killings. 95% of guys (who are not gay) would just laugh at this. I’m sure the bitches at the Yale Women’s Center will get over it. These sluts need to grow up.

… I hope that some readers were shocked by what is written above. I don’t have any defense for it, and I don’t need any. That’s because I didn’t write it (except for the first graf). Rather, this kettleful of testicular idiocy is a patchwork of readers’ comments posted after the article on the Courant website.

The Courant editors give the frat boys a pass right off the bat in the article title: “Pledges’ Prank Rankles At Yale”. See? Chill out, ladies! It’s just a prank, not a manifestation of an epidemic attitude of masculine superiority. Just a prank: not just an unusually visible example of the common, rampant hostility toward women.

It is staggering to me that so many men are willing to make excuses for anyone who derives amusement at the derogation of someone else. I’ll say here, as I have said elsewhere and will continue to say, loudly and to whomever is willing to hear it: we need to return to a culture of shame. Let’s not blame just the sign-maker, the sign-holder, and those in crowd who sniggered when they saw the sign. Our indignation needs to be directed at everyone around them who failed to decry this detestable behavior. And of course at the commentators whose words I stitched together for this blog post. So righteously they defend the right of man to derogate woman; so cowardly they hide their identity behind online anonymity.

For more about feminism at Yale: junior Jessica Svendsen argues coolly and cogently in the Yale Daily News that despite gender parity among the undergraduate population, the “paucity of female faculty” continues to send a message of feminine inferiority.

Oh it’s sooo serious.

When asked about his involvement with super-sexy-super-witty-super-model-super-singer Carla Bruni, President Sarkozy responded: “It’s serious”, according to a CNN sound byte during NH primary coverage.

However, a little YouTube digging revealed his ACTUAL answer: a five-minute response that ranged widely through the historical precedents for asking a president such a question, the difficulties of human relationships in general, and the ludicrousness of the media caring so much about the personal life of a man who is fundamentally like any other… which goes hand-in-hand with the contemporary media misconception that being covert about one’s private life somehow corresponds to corrupt and nontransparent leadership (COUGH Bill Clinton).

I wish the current U.S. Presidential candidates could give this kind of response to media badgering. It was bitingly sarcastic, well-informed, and evinced a level of sophisticated contemplation beyond mere pre-press-conference maneuvering (“Being the President of the Republic doesn’t guarantee one the right to happiness–no more happiness than anyone else has. But no less, either”), and it certainly wasn’t cut into slogans meant for endless replay in news commercials. He reminisced about the days when “A chacun sa vie” (“to each his own”) was the reigning philosophy when it came to personal presidential matters, and it made me miss those days, too.

Ironically, carrying on about this for so long–even though he was criticizing the nature of the question–actually lowered his approval ratings, since citizens complained he was spending too much time talking about his relationship and not about real politics… imagine THAT public response in OUR country…

Sarkozy’s tone and perspective remind me of Hillary’s sarcastic response to the fact that people don’t find her “likable”: “That hurts my feelings! …but… I guess I’ll just have to carry on, somehow…” And, to reference the over-played Hillary-tears-up tape, her message that behind the rehearsed responses to debate questions, beyond the stark polling numbers, she is deeply and personally invested in making our country a better place and in pointing it away from what she sees as a darkening future is… refreshing (and sounds a little like that guy who just won the peace prize). As much as I don’t like Sarkozy, and though I am reluctant to vote for Hilary, that kind of meta-level perspective is what we’ve been sorely missing in the presidency lately; without it America has gotten into serious trouble.

These little glimpses of politicos’ evolution States-side and abroad give me at least a little hope. But if I have to go through a whole election year watching CNN cut rich, challenging rhetoric down to “It’s serious,” and furthermore have to watch candidates cater to that simple-minded standard, I’ll have trouble believing my vote is in any way ‘informed,’ or that our election process is anything more than a tabloid-triggered shot in the dark.

[This cutting diagnosis of media’s preference for sound bites over reasoned responses — and for sexual gossip rather than political intelligence — comes from Julie Johnson, editor of Clarion at Boston University. When she told me how CNN had chopped President Sarkozy’s responses, I shook my head first not at the infantilitzation of our public discourse, but rather at the sad fact that media outlets find it profitable to fix their cameras on the face and body of politicians’ partners like Carla Bruni or Camilla Parker Bowles. How offensive that mascara should play any role in a campaign plan; that it can and does speaks to the pervasive view of female companions as possessions owned by men in power. Are the male companions of female candidates subjected to this scrutiny? I don’t believe they are, since that deep-rooted tradition of political dimorphism lodged in our media psyche favors men, demeans women, and altogether ignores those outside the heteronormative groove. –CivilizeMe ]

Crass Interference: Taking pot shots at the wifely candidate

A classy knockdown of Senator Clinton’s credibility as a candidate is circulating the Net:

In a news conference Deanna Favre announced she will be the starting QB for the Packers this coming Sunday. She claimed she is qualified to be starting QB because she has spent the past 16 years married to Brett while he played QB for the Packers. Because of this she understands how to pick up a corner blitz and knows the terminology of the Packers offense. A poll of Packers fans shows that 50% of those polled supported the move. Does this sound idiotic and unbelievable to you? Yet Hillary Clinton makes the same claims as to why she is qualified to be President and 50% of democrats polled agreed.

In her classy response, Boston University philosophy student Shanna Slank gets right to the point in uncompromising but nonviolent fashion:

What is required when in the role of First Lady of the White House is quite different from that which is required when in the role of First Lady of the NFL. This is a silly parallel to draw. I would be interested to know if whoever authored this tid-bit is at all informed about Hillary’s activities during her husband’s presidency. Let us also not forget that she was elected and re-elected to the United States Senate all on her own. On my count, that’s first-hand experience in two of the three branches of the federal government, which is more than any of the other current candidates can lay claim to. Make whatever character judgments you’d like about Senator Clinton; however, questioning her qualifications by likening her (and, for that matter, reducing her) to someone’s wife and the wife of an NFL athlete at that, does not bode well for assumptions that will be made regarding one’s own intelligence.

Thanks to Shanna for sharing this sexist email litter and her riposte.

Barbie is a suffragette! (compared to Disney’s Belle)

What does the pink-and-purple cabal of the Disney princesses offer young, consumerist girls? The promise that wussiness, passivity, and being pretty warrant all the rewards of happily ever after. Barbara Ehrenreich makes a case against the princesses at The Nation:

… what a sorry bunch of wusses they are. Typically, they spend much of their time in captivity or a coma, waking up only when a Prince comes along and kisses them. The most striking exception is Mulan, who dresses as a boy to fight in the army, but–like the other Princess of color, Pocahontas–she lacks full Princess status and does not warrant a line of tiaras and gowns. Otherwise the Princesses have no ambitions and no marketable skills, although both Snow White and Cinderella are good at housecleaning. … In Princessland, the only career ladder leads from baby-faced adolescence to a position as an evil enchantress, stepmother or witch. Snow White’s wicked stepmother is consumed with envy for her stepdaughter’s beauty; the sea witch Ursula covets Ariel’s lovely voice; Cinderella’s stepmother exploits the girl’s cheap, uncomplaining, labor. No need for complicated witch-hunting techniques–pin-prickings and dunkings–in Princessland. All you have to look for is wrinkles.

Ehrenriech’s essay is a stirring indictment. Her analysis helpfully zeroes in on just those reasons we should discard the tulle ‘n’ tiara squad, whose gentility and superficial benevolence serve to somewhat deflect our contempt.

Burka Power?

In Danielle Crittenden’s final post about a week long experiment called “Islamic Like Me: Taking on the Veil,” in which Crittenden wore a Burka (a loose garment which covers the entire body with just an opening for the eyes, usually worn by Muslim women) for a week, she responds to those who defend freedom of choice saying just how much better off women in the West are. Throughout the week, she received varying comments about her objections to the Burka saying, for example, that she couldn’t see well and that she couldn’t eat without spilling food on herself like a baby. Well, wow.

First, let’s rejoice in the comforts of that wonderous American culture in which – wowie! – nothing is wrong! Women have so much freedom here to wear what they like (preferably the most showy of outfits), eat what they like (preferably rice cakes, also air is ok) and spend the day how they like (preferably working out, letting other people make decisions about their bodies and pursuing careers in which they may not get paid as much as people with different body parts).

Crittenden touched on some of these “pressures,” not acknowledging the fact that they cause unhealthy obsession, lasting physical alteration and sometimes death. Three cheers for spending 3/4s of the day trying to figure out how best to lose 50 lbs in one week. Three cheers for not teaching women how to get to know their bodies and love them. Three cheers for being walking uteruses. I’m not saying it’s ok to oppress women elsewhere and I do agree that the consequences in some sects of Islamic culture are absolutely brutal, but our culture is nothing to brag about.

Second, lets not ignore the absolute close minded idiocy of this woman. Because how can women from other cultures ever possibly live with themselves when they are not surrounded by the loving embrace of our government and high ideals, right?

Take a step back from your tiny perspective, Crittenden, and recognize what is just as problematic and oppressive a country as others.

p.s. The “amighty” man contributes to this here blog – we love Zach!

“Knocked-up” examined more closely at Slate

Over at Slate, Meghan O’Rourke turns the spotlight of her “Highbrow” column to the sexist endorsement of male autonomy and female obligation in Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up.”

Who’s surprised to see misogyny in a movie with this title? “Having a baby” is what happens when adult parents operate together to produce a child. When slovenly, unmotivated men underestimate their reproductive might, that’s when a chick gets “knocked up.” It’s a phrase that captures male potency and female receptivity as differences in power, rather than mechanically dissimiliar reproductive roles.

(I do remain unconvinced that we should shed a tear for the demise of the ‘female slacker’.)

feminist thought and action at boston university