Meat-eaters, revenge porn and the niqab: What I read this week

Hi folks and welcome to my new, hopefully weekly, section in which I share with you some of the interesting and thought-provoking articles, blogs and pieces of literature I’ve read throughout the week.

For a while now I’ve been regularly pinning links to my Pinterest board with the intention of ‘coming back to them’ and then never doing so. The problem, of course, is time and the fact that the vast majority of it is spent at work, in my full time (paid) job. So although every feature or opinion piece I read might spark a thousand ideas for a post, finding the time to actually sit down and write that post is another story. But it occurred to me that this need not mean I couldn’t share what I’d read. After all, if they spark a thousand ideas for me, there’s a good chance they’ll do the same for you. And I like to think that’s part of what I’m about – sharing ideas, informing, getting people to think in new or different ways.

As ever, if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please leave a comment or drop me a line via the contact page.

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Victims push laws to end online revenge posts – New York Times

Revenge porn is when the disgruntled ex-boyfriend posts pictures of his ex-girlfriend either naked or engaged in sexual activity on websites such as myex.com or submityourex.com and other variations on that theme.

This issue has me tied up in knots. On the one hand, it’s appalling that we live in a world where humiliating, degrading and shaming your ex-girlfriend (via the non-consensual submission of a naked or sexually explicit picture of her on the internet) is an acceptable, indeed feasible, way for a man to seek retribution. And it’s despicable that as yet no legislation exists that allows the ex-girlfriend to seek satisfactory redress. On the other hand, the fact that being naked and sexually active is viewed as inherently humiliating, degrading and shameful for a woman is not ok either.

THIS reaction of one victim of revenge porn is quite refreshing (XO Jane, Jan 2013) although she does point out she’s only ok with it because it doesn’t show her face.

Ultimately, I suppose the point is that when you share pictures like this, you generally do so with an assumption (even a categorical agreement) of confidentiality and in posting revenge porn, that contract, such as it is, has been broken.

If you’re interested in this issue, there’s another good article HERE (Guardian, Jan 2013). Also, in the interests of fairness, I should say there are a few sites out there dedicated to shaming men (such as this unusually personal and devious one) although they are far less common.

Let’s face it – the niqab is ridiculous, and the ideology behind it weird – Independent

Ok, the headline is obviously provocative but the actual content is a lot more balanced and I have to say I largely agree. This recent spate of articles comes out of a debate here in the UK over whether a Muslim medic ought to be allowed to cover their face and whether in doing so this would compromise the rights of the patient.

In terms of hospitals and the courtroom, of course everyone should comply with the relevant law but I would never support an all-out ban. In terms of the wider debate, I remain divided. My instinct is to dislike the veil and I entirely reject the premise of some arguments I’ve heard from Muslim women who claim dressing modestly makes them feel safer or more respected but I also realise that religious expression is an intensely personal and complex thing.

THIS article is also worth a read (Telegraph, Sep 2013). But do also check out THIS one from Shelina Zahra Janmohamed (Al Jazeera, Sep 2013) who draws some interesting parallels between women wearing the veil and women wearing mini skirts and high heels.

Why Manly Men Think They Must Eat Meat – Good Men Project

This one struck a particular chord with me as I have recently emerged from a vegetarian phase (down to taste rather than ethics, I have to say). I also really enjoyed the irony of anyone who drinks Bud Light considering himself ‘manly’ given that it’s essentially fizzy water. I actually sent a FREE one back on a plane recently because it was so crap (and I’m a journalist – we’re not known for turning down free booze).

Men Still Trying To Fancy Lady Gaga – Daily Mash

Yeah, I know what you’re going to say. I shouldn’t rise to the bait but something about this grated on me. I also know it’s the Daily Mash so EVERYTHING is ripe for the lampooning and I’m normally totally on board with that but I still couldn’t silence the angry voice in my head that wished (perceived) lack of sex appeal wasn’t always the first thing men try to fling at a woman when they dislike her.

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2 thoughts on “Meat-eaters, revenge porn and the niqab: What I read this week

  1. Superb. I enjoyed your blog very much. I am also somewhat perplexed by the niqab. It seems wrong. But what about tolerance and choice? I was especially struck by Selina’s article and her request that we stop patronising Muslim women by assuming that they have somehow been brainwashed into believing this to be a valid choice. I think the voice of women that choose to wear the niqab is bizarrely absent and ignore in this debate.

    • Oh yes, and speaking of choice and the niqab. I recently saw a theatre show about two sisters, both of whom would consider themselves feminists. Rosana is a queer artist, who challenges perceptions of sexuality and Amy has been a sex worker, lap dancer and porn actor. Both of them performers were naked on stage for a large portion of the time. Amy told the audience that being involved in porn was her choice. She likes sex and wanted to try it. She found she enjoyed it and it paid well. When she moved to Berlin, she worked as an escort and found this to be equally fulfilling. She is now considering working with disabled people as a sex surrogate as in the following website http://www.tlc-trust.org.uk. I don’t think the women in question would enjoy the comparison but I guess there are similarities between Amy’s situation and the women Shelina is talking about. Both are assumed to be, at best, deluded about their choices being valid and are generally marginalised and objectified. G x

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