Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Christine Rankin needs a...

If you were an activist in 1998/1999 you can probably finish that chant, if you weren't then consider yourself lucky (the answer is 'spanking' for those who can't figure out the rhyme).

I hated that chant. This was partly because I thought it was a bad idea politically - we were helping the Labour government (and their predecessors), excape the blame for the effects of their policies.

But it was also because I believe that threats of sexual violence against women are unacceptable - no matter how much I dislike the women. I found that chant creepy and I remain convinced that it would have never have been used against a man.

I had several very frustrating conversations about that chant (one guy's response was "I use it because I think she does need a spanking" - gee thanks for clarifying that the misogynist undertones weren't just undertones for you). I never felt that I had done enough at the time to fight against that chant, and those who used it.

That's why I ask everyone to go and read this whole thread at Pandagon. The one male blogger there wrote that he wanted to ask Ann Coulter: "would it turn you on to get violently fucked in the ass by a screaming Al Gore, hissing 'this is for Max Cleland, bitch!'"

Unfortunately that sort of stuff isn't as rare as you'd hope. But what was cool was the reaction. There's a lot there, but my favourite summary was this: "The problem is that sexist language doesn't discriminate between attacking someone because you dislike them and attacking them because they're female." But go read the thread, particularly if you think that misgynist attacks on women are OK, as long as the women are evil.

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