Today is Blog Against Sexism Day. I'm not entirely sure who decided that (the blogger I just linked to?), nor do I particularly care, since I think it's a fine idea to turn some of the razor-sharp minds in the blogosphere to combat the issue of sexism.
As the cantankerous Twisty Faster has noted, it isn't that hard to find some sexism in your daily life:
All you have to do for inspiration is turn on any TV or open any magazine or go to any movie or walk through any department store or observe through narrowed eyes any boyfriend or read any Hemingway story, then count the ways in which your oppression is fetishized.
I'm not sure I understand the part about oppressing my fetishism (or is it fetishizing my oppression?), but yeah. What she said.
If you think it's that tough to find egregious examples of sexism in our supposedly more enlightened age (hah!), you'd better think again. There seems to be no shortage of ijits trying to fuck women over, literally, figuratively or both. Here, for your collective outrage, are a few examples I've stumbled across in the last month or so.
We begin with this legal decision from Italy. Reuters, as reported by the New York Times, brings us this lovely tidbit in which an Italian court held that whether an incest victim is a virgin or not is a mitigating factor in the trial of the accused.
ITALY: NONVIRGINITY LESSENS SEX ABUSE CHARGE, COURT SAYS Sexually abusing a teenager is a less serious crime if the girl is not a virgin, Italy's highest court said in a ruling. The court ruled in favor of a man who forced his 14-year-old stepdaughter to have oral sex with him and appealed a prison sentence of 40 months, arguing that the fact that the girl had had sex with other men should have been taken into consideration at his trial as a mitigating factor. The court agreed, saying that because of the victim's previous sexual experiences, her "personality, from a sexual point of view," was more developed and that therefore the damage to her was less than if she had been a virgin. The decision, which drew a barrage of criticism, opened the way for the stepfather to get a lighter sentence.
I hope I don't have to point out to you, dear readers, how absurd and how offensive this is. I suppose it would make a great pro-abstinence poster for anti-abortion groups to hand out (instead of condoms, which -- unlike abstinence posters -- would in fact be likely to make abortion less frequent): "Choose Abstinence. So when your mother's dirtbag husband sexually abuses you, he gets the maximum sentence possible." Because everyone knows that slutty little teenage girls who aren't virgins just aren't that traumatized when they're abused by their nasty-ass pedophile stepfathers.
Or about the hue and cry over a vaccine for cervical cancer recently released. Fifteen years of studies show the vaccine is "100 per cent effective in protecting women against infection with four strains of human papilloma virus that together cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers." Why should we balk at giving a vaccine to women that, essentially, reduce cervical cancer rates by 70 percent?
Because the vaccine is most effective when administered to preteen girls, and the mere fact of administering it might somehow (pay special attention to the dubious causality this embraces) encourage young girls to have sex, since they know that having post-vaccination sex will no longer expose them to the virus that causes cervical cancer. In other words, let's raise a girl/woman's risk of contracting cervical cancer in order to eliminate the mere possibility (based on no evidence and some pretty offensive assumptions about young women and sexuality) that some vaccine she gets when she's still playing with Barbie dolls might turn her into a slut.
How about the judge in Illinois who tried to force a woman, testifying at the trial of her (I suppose I have to say alleged?) gang rapists, to watch a twenty-minute videotape of the rape? The judge tried to hold her in contempt of court for refusing to watch it. Even though it would add nothing to her testimony since she was unconscious at the time the rape and therefore couldn't testify as to anything that happened during that twenty minute time period. And of course, the defendants were claiming it was consensual: what gal wouldn't want to bask in the pleasure of her unconsciousness while multiple assholes fuck her, another asshole write obscenities on her legs with marker, and kind-hearted observers spit on her?
And last but certainly not least, let's consider for a brief moment the nasty trend toward plastic surgery directed at women's genitalia. Yes, it is possible to spend several thousand dollars getting yourself a designer vaginer. Some goofy woman in Texas actually paid $5000 to a plastic surgeon to give her a new "hymen." That way her dorky husband could have the "thrill" of deflowering her all over again. Now don't get me wrong: if you live in an oppressive Islamist society and you're gonna get killed if your husband doesn't find a hymen on your wedding night, maybe a hymenoplasty is justified. (Query, however, why someone with $5000 wouldn't just move the hell out of there and skip the new hymen.) But just to give your husband the dubious thrill of pretending the woman he's been with for all these years is a virgin? (Not to mention giving yourself the pain of having your cherry popped again.) Don't stop there, though; I'm sure your porn-watching husband would want you to consult with Dr. Fuckwad [not his real name], a plastic surgeon specializing in "the aesthetic surgical enhancement of the vulvar structures, labia minora, labia majora, mons pubis, perineum, introitus, hymen." You can get "Augmentation Labioplasty," in which fat from other parts of your body is removed via liposuction and inserted into your labia, to make them look as plump as Lisa Rinna's lips. Or perenioplasty, to "provide a youthful and aesthetically appealing vulva" -- because everyone knows how nasty and ugly those vulva are.
All right, I'm starting to depress myself.
Don't be sexist. I mean it.
When you see someone else being sexist, kick ass and take names.
And for God's sake, don't waste $5000 on some dopey rehymenization process. Buy a lifetime supply (unless you're Kathy, in which case it's more like a year's supply but that's okay because she makes such beee-yoo-tiful things) of Koigu instead. Sheesh.
If you'd like to surf some of the other blogs who've pledged to post about sexism today, visit Vegan Kid's page.