We often experience our bodies as a fragile encumbrance, rather than the media for the enactment of our aims. We feel as though we must have our attention directed upon our bodies to make sure they are doing what we wish them to do, rather than paying attention to what we want to do through our bodies

Typically, the feminine body underuses its real capacity, both as the potentiality of its physical size and strength and as the real skills and coordination that are available to it

An essential part of the situation of being a woman is that of living the ever-present possibility that one will be gazed upon as a mere body, as shape and flesh that presents itself as the potential object of another subject’s intentions and manipulations, rather than as a living manifestation of action and intention. The source of this objectified bodily existence is in the attitude of others regarding her, but the woman herself often actively takes up her body as a mere thing. She gazes at it in the mirror, worries about how it looks to others, prunes it, shapes it, molds and decorates it.

This objectified bodily existence accounts for the self-consciousness of the feminine relation to her body and resulting distance she takes from her body


— Iris Marion Young, Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory, 1990. (via ausfeminist)

(Source: insufficientmind, via thearabfeminist)

"In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female figure which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’

An active/passive heterosexual division of labor has similarly controlled narrative structure. According to the principles of the ruling ideology and the physical structures that back it up, the male figure cannot bear the burden of sexual objectification. Man is reluctant to gaze at his exhibitionist like. Hence the split between spectacle and narrative supports the man’s role as the active one of forwarding the story, making things happen. The man controls the film phantasy and also emerges as the representative of power in a further sense: as the bearer of the look of the spectator, transferring it behind the screen to neutralize the extra-diegetic tendencies represented by woman as spectacle."

— Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, 1989. (via ausfeminist)

(Source: insufficientmind, via yoursocialconstructsareshowing)


The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work. I would come home and I would see the red light flashing on my answering machine, and instead of being thrilled to hear from my friends, I would think, “What a lot of people that is to have to call back.” Or I would decide I should have lunch, and then I would think, but I’d have to get the food out and put it on a plate and cut it up and chew it and swallow it, and it felt to me like the Stations of the Cross.

And one of the things that often gets lost in discussions of depression is that you know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous while you’re experiencing it. You know that most people manage to listen to their messages and eat lunch and organize themselves to take a shower and go out the front door and that it’s not a big deal, and yet you are nonetheless in its grip and you are unable to figure out any way around it.


Andrew Solomon, Depression - The Secret We Share, TED talks (via feigenbaumsworld)

This is exactly it.

(via myatomscamefromstars)

(via melohde)

"Feminism names the oppression of women as wrong. Feminism makes bold statements about the rights of women. It sees misogyny and it interrogates it, denounces it and works to abolish it. There is no nuance when it comes to things which harm women. We stand against it. Regardless of where we are from. If you don’t believe that the position of women worldwide being secondary and subservient to that of men is wrong you are not a feminist."

— Terri Strange, Are You A Western Feminist? at The Arctic Feminist

"Feminism will make it possible for the first time for men to be free.
When you have got a woman in a box, and you pay rent on the box, her relationship to you insensibly changes character. It loses the fine excitement of democracy. It ceases to be a companionship, for companionship is only possible in a democracy. It is no longer a sharing of life together—it is a breaking of life apart. Half a life—cooking, clothes and children; half a life—business, politics and baseball. It doesn’t make much difference which is the poorer half. Any half, when it comes to life, is very near to none at all… In order to break down that distinction utterly, it will be necessary to break down all the codes and restrictions and prejudices that keep women out of the great world. It is in the great world that a man finds his sweetheart, and in that narrow little box outside of the world that he loses her. When she has left that box and gone back into the great world, a citizen and a worker, then with surprise and delight he will discover her again, and never let her go"

— Floyd Dell in Feminism for Men (1917)

Posted by Sociological Images.

(Source: socimages)


I did the thing you always do when you get on facebook: I looked for people with my name.

There are no real people who have my [blog alias] name [Jane Doe.] I shouldn’t be surprised: I don’t have my name. My name is a placeholder for anonymous women.

For me, it’s a name that frees me to say what I want about dating jackassery. Apparently, in other contexts, it’s a name for much more dire circumstances.

So I did a google image search for my name and I found the faces of unidentified, mutilated, murdered women.

This Jane Doe lived for a day after the attack, but was badly hurt and never spoke. She also never got the chance to tell anyone her name.

This Jane Doe was found in a canal with stab wounds in her chest and back

This Jane Doe was eight years old when she was decapitated.

This Jane Doe was reconstructed from skeletal remains found in Wisconsin.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; the name is a placeholder for the anonymous, after all, and who is more anonymous than a murdered woman? And of course photographs like this will appear — should appear — if I look for images of Jane Doe. These women deserve to be named, remembered, and their families deserve to know what happened to them.

But then, what am I to make of this Jane Doe? [graphic image of a mutilated female body]

According to the advertisement, this Jane is “a life-size female autopsy prop with ‘Y’ cut in chest and stomach with fake staples. Warning! The prop has nipples showing. Please ask for none if you so desire.”

So you can get this Jane’s nipples removed if they disturb you? That’s the part that’s disturbing? Her nipples?

I did an image search for John Doe and found: an aging punk star from X and an actor who played John Doe in a movie.

Perhaps it’s odd coincidence that an image search for Jane Doe gets photographs of unidentified murdered women and an image search for John Doe gets rugged, square jawed men, both of whom have “real” names in addition to their their “John Doe” stage names.

I don’t know if there are more unidentified murdered female bodies out there than unidentified murdered male bodies. I do know there are more photos of them when I do this search.

This hardly counts as data. Google searches usually just reflect what people click on when they do a similar search, and maybe people just like to click on mutilated, anonymous murdered women and handsome, square-jawed men.

The question remains, however: where are the John Does? If I scroll a little, I do find this: [tasteful image of a sketch, in pencil or ink, of a male face with three variations]
This John Doe died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His image was reconstructed from skeletal remains.

This John Doe constructed thirty false identities. When he was finally caught, he was called “John Doe” because authorities couldn’t figure out his real name.

I don’t know what to make of this. I initially just thought it would be funny to put up “Jane Doe” images on my facebook, since I can’t put up photos of myself. I didn’t expect to find that I mostly share my name with women lost to history and to justice. I didn’t expect my male counterparts would be musicians or movie stars or grifters or suicides. I’m glad I have a real name to go with my assumed one. I’m glad that I’m not really Jane Doe (even more, I’m glad I’m not *a* Jane Doe). I wish my mutilated female body never figured into anybody’s fantasy, and I wish no one ever thought it was ok to offer to remove my nipples if they should become more offensive than a mutilated woman toy…


— Angry Jane Doe, Namesake

"Because it is clear that human rights has become a dominant narrative that acts as a disciplinary force on both states and specific groups within society, it is important to trace its genealogy in order to demonstrate that it cannot simply be transposed on different contexts without cultural displacement occurring. […]
Conceptualizing human rights as a disciplinary force provides us with a means of understanding the complex processes and power relations inherent in the human rights culture, as Spivak calls it. Human rights can be viewed as a (neo)colonial discourse that has become so powerful that states must attempt to show that they are compliant with it. Because of this, human rights culture can be used to discipline states through pressure from both non-state actors and external actors. What is notable is that NGOs must also adhere to this human rights culture, even if this means reproducing violent representations and notions of respectability.
Julia Suárez-Krabbe writes, “in order to understand the conjunction of human with rights, it is necessary to appreciate how the idea of the ‘human’ emerged in close relationship with the question of rights, and how both of these notions were embedded in racist practices from their very beginning.” This point cannot be over-emphasized as the question of who counts as human is often taken for granted. It follows that only those conceptualized as human beings have the right to rights—and it is precisely because of this that it is important to interrogate the assumptions behind the human rights culture. Suárez-Krabbe goes on to argue that human rights can only ‘work’ when they are delinked from the context in which they emerged and concretized within a new context. She cites Boaventura de Sousa Santos who believes that certain norms can become ‘globalized’ in the sense that locals are then able to dictate the terms of application. While this seems as though it could resolve the dilemma of ‘universal’ human rights, I would question whether one can ever really fully delink human rights culture from its origins and its connections to European Enlightenment ideals and conceptualizations of man. I would agree more with Fanon’s conceptualization that views rights through the lens of the zone of being and nonbeing: “Fanon’s distinction between the zone of being and the zone of non-being proves important to understanding this suspension of rights. In the ‘zone of being’ – which is populated by those whose existence is in keeping with the norm – human rights are characterized by legality and protection. But in the ‘zone of non-being’ – which is inhabited by those against which this very normality is constructed – rights require victims, and more often than not these rights are articulated through logics of appropriation, exploitation and violence.”
[…] Closely tied to human rights culture are both the gender question and the democratization question. In positing women’s rights and democracy as central to the constitution of a ‘modern’ nation state, it is assumed that what these terms refer to hold some kind of universal validity. This serves to erase the context from which they emerge and the ways in which that context shaped our current understandings. Women’s empowerment, for example, now part of the majority of gender programs in civil society in Egypt, appears to have the capacity to travel from one part of the world to another without needing to undergo any significant changes. Thus women’s empowerment continues to refer to the legal and the civil—the economic and the social at a shallow level—rather than the structural. This not only maintains societal structures such as patriarchy and neoliberalism intact, it blurs imperial structures, particularly discursive ones, that continue to portray a liberal subjectivity as superior to all others."

thoughts of a post-colonial feminist: Human rights as a disciplinary force

(please see original tumblr post for footnote sources)

"I provide abortions because I trust every woman to make the best reproductive health care decisions for herself and her family. The decision to become a parent is one of the most important decisions people make in their life. As a mother and an obstetrician-gynecologist, I don’t believe pregnancy or parenthood should be forced on anyone. Abortion is an important part of caring for women, because 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime. It is a true privilege and honor to provide compassionate, high quality care to women throughout all stages of life."

— Lisa Bayer, MD. Portland, OR. - Physicians for Reproductive Health

(Source: bebinn, via seriouslyamerica)

"I would like to see us stop trying to be so damn civil to the people who are hurting us. I would like for us to stop thinking we need to prove anything to them. They need to prove to us that they can respect our lives enough to make social policy that stops battery."

— Andrea Dworkin, “Freedom Now”

(Source: et--cetera)


A final aspect of rape that should be briefly mentioned is perhaps closer to home. Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.

This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.

But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.

True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours.”


Doug Wilson, Quiverfull Christian Cleric