Before ten years are over, the Devil’s in it if I have not sucked out some of the life-blood from the mysteries of this universe, in a way that no purely mortal lips or brains could do

February 7, 2014 § Leave a comment


Consider, for instance, the experience of Boulet, a male cartoonist who, at one point, posted his work online under a female pseudonym and was stunned by the number of insulting, sexualised and misogynistic comments “she” received, having never experienced the like while posting art under his own name. More recently, a man who pretended to be a woman on OK Cupid – with the aim, ironically enough, of proving to a female friend that online dating was easy for women – quit after only two hours, shocked and disgusted by the deluge of gratuitous, aggressively sexual messages he received. And just last week, a male friend mentioned to me that, since he’s started playing a female character in an online game, he’s been getting hit on by other players – not grossly, but enough that he’s noticed the difference. That exchange prompted me to go on Twitter and ask if any other guys who’d had similar experiences would be willing to share them; what came back, however, was an even more interesting anecdote, wherein a female gamer noted that several men of her acquaintance have preferred to play as – and pretended to be – women in MMORPG environments specifically in order to scam male players.

Which opened up a rather breathtaking possibility: what if the respective myths of the Fake Geek Girl and Fake Gamer Girl are actively being perpetuated, not through the whore-user predations of evil ladies, but because a cynical, sexist subset of male geeks are using stereotypical, strawman portrayals of women to manipulate their peers? If this is what’s happening even some of the time, then not only might it account for the massive dissonance between female experiences in male-dominated gaming spaces (as documented by sites like Fat, Ugly or Slutty and Not In The Kitchen Anymore) and male accounts of the same exchanges, but for the ongoing pervasiveness of the stereotype. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I mused, to have some data on that!

So I went and did some research. And guess what? There is dataread more

PHOTOGRAPH: Taj Bourgeois

I know men are supposed to be visual creatures but it’s the music I can’t stand

December 30, 2013 § Leave a comment


I’ve tried to bite my lip on the No More Page Three campaign…

I find Page 3, with its large picture of boobs taken with the woman’s consent, actually somewhat better than all of the other pages of longlensings and body-shaming and gleeful rubbing over celebrities and their mental health, and so forth. That’s not even including the frequent bouts of overt racism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism that pepper its foul pages. The whole publication is absolutely fucking vile, and participates actively daily in outright harassment of women who have the misfortune of being famous, or poor, or brown, or whatever other excuse they can conjure to invade their privacy and pretend this is somehow in the public interest…

Now, one could say this campaign is a transitional demand in ending the objectification of women. However, that’s ignoring the fact that objectification is itself a symptom; the problem of objectification did not magically spring from nowhere… that’s assuming that No More Page Three is actually about objectification, which many of its supporters argue it is. I’ve read the text of the No More Page Three petition. I read it before deciding–with all of these criticisms already in mind–not to sign it. And it is just about boobs.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: [unattributed]

The Bolshevists are behind the labour unrest – but this man is behind the Bolshevists

July 17, 2013 § 1 Comment


Can you imagine ever reading a story about how guys have it so good while they are young men, only to discover too late the price they’ll likely pay for fucking around in college and holding off on relationships until they have had some experiences? No? Me either…

Throughout the piece, we are reminded that in spite of how strong/feminist these women are, that they didn’t want their names printed or their number of sexual partners…

ZOMG. WHO THE FUCK WANTS THEIR NUMBER OF SEXUAL PARTNERS EVER PRINTED ANYWHERE EVER FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER? Why would any woman be obligated to share her number of sexual partners with a reporter? To put her money where her vagina is? Also, there’s no mention of a slut-shaming culture to help contextualize their choice to remain anonymous, just that the women don’t want to give their names…

So there you have it. A super balanced look at the how young women at the top schools are continually reshaping our notions of feminism, choice, and equality and how it affects their lives, er, lack of husbands.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Julian Baker

Don Giovanni is a certain type of male homosexual. Neither extreme, Tristan or Don Giovanni, is compatible with heterosexual love

March 27, 2013 § 1 Comment


In August 2011, the Japanese company Manuscript was forced to amend the settings of its new software application, Karelog (“Boyfriend Log”), in response to consumer complaints. Drawing on GPS technology, the service allowed users to log in from a computer to track another person’s phone. In the program’s first release, these surveillance capacities also stretched to include accessing the mobile’s call history and remaining battery life. Promotional material for the product targeted anxious girlfriends wanting to know the whereabouts of partners. But within days of the campaign going public, anti-virus software giant McAfee labelled the app a “Potentially Unwanted Program.” This was because users had no way of knowing that the technology had been installed on their device or what information was being logged and sent. The problem was not so much the capacity of the application (GPS tracking is already used for caring purposes of other kinds, such as parents keeping tabs on their children). The crime was that women were encouraged to install the app without partners’ permission. The language of internet security literalised the threat that the program posed as an example of everyday spyware.

Facing the media the president of the fledgling software firm, Yoshinori Miura, admitted the product launch involved some cynicism:

We were still a largely unknown company, so I thought that we could grab attention by focusing on anti-cheating programs, but we went too far. I didn’t think we [would] get so much criticism .

The official apology also addressed the gender assumptions inherent to the application design, since its aesthetics showed clear allegiance to the established traits of Japanese kawaii, or “cute”. Still, press reports admitted that there was nothing about the technology that stopped it from being used by both genders. Steve Levenstein at Inventor Spot wrote:

it takes no knowledge of Japanese to know the pink & lacy graphics at the Karelog website are designed to attract a female demographic. If that’s not enough, check out the image of a big-eyed black kitty (with pink hair bow a la Hello Kitty) gazing longfully at her Android-phone-clutching, pants-wearing tomcat. With that said, there’s no reason why anyone of any gender can use Karelog to spy on anyone of any gender. Let the paranoia-fest begin!

While Boyfriend Log was notable for the headlines it received in English-speaking media, gendered assumptions also affected the release of similar surveillance programs in the US in recent years. iTrust, for instance, is an iPhone application that reveals whether or not a significant other has been tampering with one’s text. In contrast to Boyfriend Log, iTrust turns the tables to allow phone owners to maintain privacy. A fake “home” screen locks the cellphone while its user is absent and records any traces of interfering fingers. In the demo video for the program, a female voice-over describes a failed attempt to read her boyfriend’s text messages in a moment of boredom. Like the men offended by KareLog’s marketing, the casting of a ditzy-sounding girlfriend did not escape the notice of commenters responding to the story on industry stalwart Mashable.

Women are the investigatory agents in each of these examples, whether deliberately, in the case of KareLog, or more casually – indeed, recreationally – in the case of iTrust. The worried partner is gendered female, seen to require stability and transparency through the surveillance of her wandering male.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: [unattributed]

What is’t distracts you? This is flesh and blood, sir

February 13, 2013 § Leave a comment


Look, I’m not saying that women never cheat because they feel insecure – I am 100% sure that they do. I’m not saying that some people don’t have genuine troubles that mean they could do with the help of a relationship counsellor or sex therapist. As mentioned above, there are myriad reasons why women might stray from a relationship, and I expect Robert Weiss has correctly pinpointed some of them. But are these really the most common? Is it really more likely that you have an intimacy disorder than that you like having sex?

And more importantly, where is the research that actually backs up these ’5 reasons for female infidelity’? Because as far as I can see, none of the links in the article go anywhere more substantial than a blog that’s over a year old which includes a slightly longer but no less speculative list, and a journalistic puff piece advertising a website for married people to have affairs…

Is there a similar article in which Weiss dissects the 5 reasons for male infidelity? If it’s based on the same level of research, and skewed just as heavily to reflect society’s bias about gender and sexual drive, I suspect men would be asked to choose between statements such as  ‘my wife didn’t suck me off enough’, ‘I was horny’ and ‘she had really lovely tits. Wahey.’…

Weiss’s speculation, which presents women as feeble creatures incapable of having sexual desires that aren’t motivated by a deeper emotional need, is being presented as ‘fact’, when he’s presented no evidence to back that up.

This is exactly the sort of thing we have editors for: to identify facts, and sort them from self-interested waffle. Self-interested waffle: I’ve cheated on partners before but I don’t want you to think I’m an awful person. Facts: women get horny, grass is green, and the Huffington Post can utterly fuck off.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Lina Scheynius


Chocolate, as everybody knows… (let the reader imagine here a description of its making)

January 28, 2013 § Leave a comment


Dwayne showed up again and we headed back upstairs for further roof sex. Yay, roof sex!

I was enjoying the view from my doggy style position when it all went tits up. Metaphorically.

Trevor showed up on the roof. My initial reaction was “feck off, we’re busy!”. Dwayne asked if I minded, and – rather distracted by the penis inside me – I shrugged it off, saying “yeah, sure”, because I don’t mind random people watching me fuck so long as they don’t actually cheer.

Except then he came round in front of me and got his penis out, evidently wanting me to suck it off.

Um. No. That’s not the way it works. I’m not a fecking magnet. Just because you flap your bits around in front of me does not mean I’m going to automatically attach myself to them. And this guy, I didn’t fancy him, I’d never had a proper conversation with him – this was not a penis I wanted to be involved in.

“No, I don’t want to.”

Except the penis didn’t go away.

“Don’t want to.”

The penis didn’t go away.

I stopped moving, propped myself up on my hands instead of my elbows, looked Trevor straight in the eye.

“I don’t want to do anything to you. Put your cock away.”

That worked, but I decided right then that I was going to leave as soon as possible. I should never have to ask three times to not be eiffel towered. Never.

I allowed the sex I was currently involved in to end, then told Dwayne it was getting late and I needed to go home. I think Dwayne got unhappy vibes from me; he was quiet and withdrawn as he walked me to the subway. I kissed him bye and reminded him that I was flying home in two days, then walked home and went to sleep in my own bed.

I’m angry. I think that kind of treatment is completely inappropriate. Firstly, I’d informed Trevor just 30 minutes ago that I didn’t want to play with him. Secondly, I shouldn’t be asked to take part in any kind of deviant sexual behaviour without prior negotiation. Look, I hang out in fetish clubs. I’m used to people I don’t know asking for all kinds of weird shit, but that’s the point: they ask. They don’t just get their bits out without any prior negotiation. Thirdly, even if you decide to ignore the first two, “no” should be a cast-iron line in the sand. If someone says “no”, you back off. Instantly, without questioning the other person’s decision or trying to persuade them to change their mind.

It makes me wonder how those people view women, or more precisely, women who enjoy casual sex. When it comes to sex, making assumptions based on someone’s prior behaviour is dangerous. “She slept with me once, so she’ll do it again”; “she slept with my friend so she’ll sleep with me”; etc. That is not necessarily true and believing it is means that you end up with the kind of situation described above. A more insecure girl, someone who has problems saying no, would probably have gone ahead and done it even if she didn’t really want to. If you think that kind of thing is okay, you need to reconsider how you view sex and sexual partners. I guess that in some ways I’m lucky that I have the lady-balls to turn people down; I’ve only had sex with one person I didn’t really want to (in a kind of didn’t know how I was going to get home, sort of said I didn’t want to but he seemed so disappointed and upset I consented regardless type of way) and I learnt my lesson from how shit I felt the next day. Never again will I be guilted or intimidated or be forced into having any kind of sexual contact that I don’t want to have.

To be honest, two guys at once, from both sides of me, is a fantasy of mine. If Trevor had taken the time to ask me before I got naked if I was okay with that, I might well have said yes, and then this would have been a “yay threesome!” type post. But he didn’t. So fuck him.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Michael Sippey

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