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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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38 Responses

  1. zuzu
    zuzu February 21, 2006 at 1:20 pm | *

    Dammit, you swiped TWO thing I was going to write posts on!

  2. Echidne of the snakes
    Echidne of the snakes February 21, 2006 at 1:33 pm |

    Thanks for the link. You might also be interested in my post on the sexist VW ads. So much to raise the heart beat today!

    Link to the VW ads:
    http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_echidneofthesnakes_archive.html#114051282800442102

  3. Lies
    Lies February 21, 2006 at 1:33 pm |

    Every American should be outraged at the abuse. Is this REALLY how you want the world to see you? The people who are perpetrating these crimes are sadistic torturers, for whom this sort of thing is apparently ‘all in a day’s work’. The Americans at home don’t seem to care if some brown people are treated in this way, or so it seems. Besides, they probably deserve to be there, right? The arrogance of the USA makes me sick, sometimes, and this is definitely one of those times.
    And yes, I KNOW that not every American is uncaring, or thinks these people deserve it. Blogs like this are indeed doing their best to make people aware of what’s going on (something your ‘librul media’ has refused to do from the beginning). I say bombard the American people with pictures of what is being done in their name, not just in these hell-hole prisons but in Iraq, to (innocent) men, women and children. Nobody with any sense of decency can just stand by and let this continue. Peace (yes, I mean this literally) to all and keep up the blogging!

  4. Blitzgal
    Blitzgal February 21, 2006 at 2:03 pm |

    Regarding the “bad girl” phenomenon, conservatives wringing their hands over this issue isn’t at all new. I recall doing some research in college on women who commit violent crimes, and one of the books I found (can’t for the life of me remember the title) posited that the rise in female crime was solely the responsibility of the women’s movement…that again, telling women they can take control of their own lives means that more of them will be violent as a result. That book was written in the early eighties.

  5. Jason
    Jason February 21, 2006 at 2:21 pm |

    Echidne,

    It’ kind of hard for me to get too worked up about the VW commercials. Yeah, it plays on a stereotype of women nagging their boyfriends and men liking fast cars and the sound of the engine. So what? Aren’t there also commercials stereotyping men as smucks who don’t listen to what their girlfriends are saying? Men who don’t clean up after themselves or leave the toilet seat up. Are these stereotypes really that offensive to you? Give me a break. I just see thse adds as a humorous way to appeal to a targeted group. Young men.

    But I love the leap of logic that you can tell which guys are sexist because they’ll be driving a GTI. You live in a very paranoid world. Will women really boycott VW becuase these adds are that offensive? And boys that drive GTIs? Boy, you must be boycotting half of all consumer products if you’re that sensitive.

  6. Jason
    Jason February 21, 2006 at 2:39 pm |

    The problem with the ads isn’t just that they perpetuate negative “stereotypes” — it’s that they reduce women as goods to be obtained, just like cars.

    I don’t see the woman being portrayed as an object, I see the woman as playing a stereotypical “role” in the advertisement (although I didn’t see the ad, just going of Enchidne’s characterization). It’s the same role you see on sitcoms. Woman nagging. Man not listening. Or woman nagging is hindering man’s enjoyment. In this case, our hero, overcomes the nagging by buying a sports car where he can enjoy the quiet roar of his engine as he cruises.

    I am far more troubled by the ads that equate driving a cool car with getting the woman. Isn’t there an ad out there now where the man is test driving a car and makes the salesman bend down in the seat so he can imress an ex (and she says, “Frank, looks like you’re doing wellll.”). This VW ad just seems like a silly little joke.

  7. Jason
    Jason February 21, 2006 at 2:51 pm |

    Yes, the man is not portrayed as a smuck for being a jerk to his girlfriend. But this is a portrayal of a stereotype. I don’t think guys that watch this ad are going to say, “yeah, I guess it is cool to verbally smack down my girlfriend”. It might tickle their funny bones because it might have some ring of truth for them, i.e. maybe they feel like they’re girlfiends express their thoughts more than the guys would like–especially when he’s trying to enjoy driving a cool car. But these same guys won’t necessarily do the same with their girlfiends. Guys are able to distinguish between reality–that they should treat their significant other with respect–and laugh at a stereotype. I’m sure there are ads aimed at women that do the same thing, say, relying on a stereotype of a guy not listening.

  8. Magis
    Magis February 21, 2006 at 3:26 pm |

    The ads aren’t just pointed at men as a whole. The discreet target is what car people call the “boy racer.” The GTI isn’t that hot of a car, really. A Porsche or Corvette it ain’t.

    So it is, cynically if you wish, aimed at the young immature unsophisticated male without sense enough to know that it technically isn’t really much of a car. Take a vanilla Golf/Rabbit slap some no function eye candy on it and presto, a GTI. I’m sure it’s a more capable car than the standard model, but not much. I’m sure I offended some owner of such a creature but that isn’t my intent. Just saying how the industry markets to segments. They don’t care if they piss off women because so few women would purchase a car in that segment. VW would not market a Passat like this, different and more highly female segment.

  9. TangoMan
    TangoMan February 21, 2006 at 3:46 pm |

    Regarding the Italian rape case – Is the judgement really that unbelievable? I think there are two ways to look at this. The one that comes immediately to mind is that the girl’s previous sexual history is being used to diminish the severity of the crime and this, of course, is what all of the commenters at that other site are doing in their best Steve Gilliard imitations.

    However, the law could also be presuming that more harm comes to a virgin because the sex attack is her only experience with sex while the sex being forced on a girl who has already had sexual experiences (hopefully positive), while still harmful, is not as harmful, because the girl is a little better equipped to handle the crime by having other experiences to balance out the negative sexual assault.

    If the legal code is presuming that 14 year old girls are virgins and that any sexual assaults are going to be more traumatic simply from lack of previous reference experiences, then when presented with evidence that this isn’t the case the penalty should be different. You can look at this from the alternative angle, if you like, that the penalty should be increased if the victim is a virgin, for more harm has been done.

    Anyone want to make the case that nothing else but the crime should be considered in sentencing and that greater or lessor harm to the victim is immaterial to sentencing decisions?

  10. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz February 21, 2006 at 4:59 pm |

    Well, you know, if it were true that being raped is worse for virgins than the sexually experienced, the argument might be possible.

    And, to be crass, there is *nothing* that makes your stepfather shoving his cock down your throat LESS BAD.

  11. piny
    piny February 21, 2006 at 5:06 pm |

    Well, you know, if it were true that being raped is worse for virgins than the sexually experienced, the argument might be possible.

    And, to be crass, there is *nothing* that makes your stepfather shoving his cock down your throat LESS BAD.

    What evil_fizz said. Should we show lenience to criminals who murder children if their victims have siblings? After all, it’s much worse to lose an only child, right? And should we be more or less lenient towards rapists who rape women who’ve been sexually victimized before?

  12. Magis
    Magis February 21, 2006 at 5:19 pm |

    The crime is worse against virgins because they aren’t as marketable any more and pappa will have a harder time getting rid of her.

  13. piny
    piny February 21, 2006 at 5:20 pm |

    And don’t forget that we should be less harsh towards men who rape women who have lots of casual sex, because clearly, sex isn’t as important or intimate an act for them.

  14. TangoMan
    TangoMan February 21, 2006 at 5:26 pm |

    Jill,

    So should we do away with victim impact statements? What use does a judge have for hearing their side of the story once a finding has been determined? Criminal courts are not institutions designed to serve the retributive interests of victims, are they?

  15. Magnus Malmborn
    Magnus Malmborn February 21, 2006 at 6:00 pm |

    Jill, TM, the worst thing about robbery isn’t the stuff lost, but the violation of the person(s). Hence there is no difference between robbing the rich or the poor.
    Back to rape, it’s the same thing; It’s not the “bad experience” but the fact that she had her right to sovereignity over her body and mind forcibly taken away from her. Your question is a red herring TM, whether you include the circumstances or only look at the crime makes no difference since the essential issue stays the same.

  16. TangoMan
    TangoMan February 21, 2006 at 6:16 pm |

    Many rape victims report on the rapes impacting onto their healthy relationships, to varying degrees, and their struggle to disentangle the feelings of violation resulting from the rape with their feelings about healthy sexuality and how focusing on their healthy sexual history was an aid in the process of separating their feelings about sex from their feelings of personal violation.

    A virgin has no such crutch to lean on. Her entire sexual world is now defined by the rape. The virgin, unlike the non-virgin, can’t put the rape into perspective because she lacks such perspective.

  17. Hestia
    Hestia February 21, 2006 at 6:18 pm |

    If what matters in a rape case isn’t the actual crime but how it impacts the victim, then, conceivably, the rapists of people who don’t “act” like rape victims would be punished less severely than the rapists of victims who behave in an expected fashion. Which isn’t, unfortunately, outside the realm of possibility.

  18. Magnus Malmborn
    Magnus Malmborn February 21, 2006 at 6:46 pm |

    TangoMan, I think you argument is akin to a terrorist claiming credit for a new bridge since he blew up the old one. Even if the woman can “get over it”, that is her achievement, not the rapist’s. He shouldn’t be given credit for leaving a little rope for her to climb on, figurativerly speaking.

    Generally, I think criminals should only get a rebate if they have taken extraordinary measures to protect the victims, and I can’t see how that’s possible in rape cases. If the victim gets of lighter by chance or intervention by others, the criminal is not the one who should get credit.

  19. Christen
    Christen February 21, 2006 at 8:05 pm |

    I’m surprised no one has pointed out that rape is not about sex. The rapist uses sexual penetration as the weapon for the same reasons a man will assault a woman with any other weapon: to terrify and control, to punish, or out of rage.

    It is absolutely disgusting to suggest that a woman or girl’s experience with sex has anything to do with the experience of rape. All people will have varying abilities to recover from violent attacks, or something as minor as a stubbed toe for that matter.

    This whole thing makes me sick and it’s just too close to the attitude that rape is no big deal because it’s just sex.

  20. zuzu
    zuzu February 21, 2006 at 10:02 pm | *

    So should we do away with victim impact statements? What use does a judge have for hearing their side of the story once a finding has been determined? Criminal courts are not institutions designed to serve the retributive interests of victims, are they?

    Victim impact statements are only relevant during the sentencing phase. You’re probably aware that there are sentencing guidelines for judges, with some flexibility to take into account various mitigating or aggravating factors, such as the heinousness of the crime, the heinousness of the perp’s upbringing, the mental state of the perp, etc. The Victim Impact Statement is just one of the factors under consideration. But the thing is, the guilt and the particular charge have already been determined, and now it’s the job of the court to determine where in the range of sentences suggested by the guidelines the sentence for this offender should fall.

    By contrast, it appears that the Italian court is saying that the charge should be a lesser one if the victim is not a virgin, not that the sentence should be less severe. Think about the idea that whether someone should be charged with murder vs. manslaughter should depend on the character of the victim rather than the intent of the killer. Not whether the victim threatened the killer, mind you, but whether the victim was or wasn’t the world’s nicest person. Because that’s what happening here.

    With the murder case, the victim is just as dead whether or not he had a sterling character. In the rape case, the victim consented no more to having her stepfather’s dick stuffed down her throat as a non-virgin as she would have as a virgin.

  21. TangoMan
    TangoMan February 21, 2006 at 10:50 pm |

    the charge should be a lesser one if the victim is not a virgin, not that the sentence should be less severe.

    I disagree with your interpretation. I’ll admit that I don’t know the first thing about the Italian legal system, but when I read that the lessor charge “opened the way for the stepfather to get a lighter sentence” I interpreted the situation as being a choice of charging rape in various degrees, with sentencing being commensurate to degree. How do you interpret that report? The perp is still being charged with rape and he’s still serving a sentence but the investigating judge’s discretion on the virgin/non-virgin issue is exercised in the charging decision rather than in the sentencing decision, just like we distinguish between degrees of homicide in the charging phase. Now, we can assume that the Italian Legal System is immorally stupid and oblivious to widely held legal principles or we can assume that they proceed along a different procedural track to achieve the same results as our legal system. Our judges use discretion in the sentencing phase and it appears that their investigating judges assign more discretion to the charging phase. But hey, maybe every commenter who has no clue about how the Italian legal system works is completely right and their judges are complete morons. I don’t know that all of these commenters are wrong about their opinions of the Italian legal system and court officers.

    In the end, I’m reassured that so many people are arguing as they are in this thread and I assume that they’ll maintain their intellectual integrity when the topic turns to hate crimes legislation, which Jill mentioned above, and which is an abortion of legal principles sacrificed to inane post-modernist principles.

  22. Feministe » Mind the (Baby) Gap
    Feministe » Mind the (Baby) Gap February 21, 2006 at 11:17 pm |

    [...] Mind the (Baby) Gap
    Posted by zuzu @ 11:16 pm

    Jill touched on this in the Daily Outrage post, but I wanted to expand on it fu [...]

  23. Feministe » Mind the (Baby) Gap
    Feministe » Mind the (Baby) Gap February 21, 2006 at 11:18 pm |

    [...] Mind the (Baby) Gap
    Posted by zuzu @ 11:16 pm

    Jill touched on this in the Daily Outrage post, but I wanted to expand on it fu [...]

  24. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz February 21, 2006 at 11:26 pm |

    I’m going to stick to my guns here: your victim’s past sexual experiences have no bearing on the severity of your crime. (Lord knows what this would mean when talking about the rapes of sex workers…”Your honor, she’s just a whore (literally!), so it doesn’t matter.”) Come on.

    As a more concrete point, do you really want to be arguing that a man who raped his step daughter should get leniency?

  25. zuzu
    zuzu February 21, 2006 at 11:33 pm | *

    I interpreted the situation as being a choice of charging rape in various degrees, with sentencing being commensurate to degree.

    But rape in different degrees is a different crime. Murder 1 is different from Murder 2, for instance, as there’s a difference between manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and negligent manslaughter.

    Each degree is a distinct charge, with its own range of sentencing. And that’s in our common-law tradition. Italy is a civil law country, where punishment is much more proscribed than here. So if you hear that the judge’s decision cleared the way to a lesser sentence, you know — if you’re familiar with the idea of civil law systems — that it probably means that the stepfather was charged with a lesser degree of crime than he would have been charged with had the victim been a virgin — even though his actions and his intentions were no different. The differences between degrees in common law tends to depend on the mental state of the perp, not on the purity of the victim.

  26. Robert
    Robert February 21, 2006 at 11:35 pm |

    I think that everyone is missing the point on the Italian case. The guy was appealing as too harsh a sentence of 40 months for raping his teenage stepdaughter.

    A little more than three years for rape? WTF?

    The problem in the Italian legal/cultural system would seem to be a little deeper than an abstract question about how they handle mitigating factors.

  27. Lauren
    Lauren February 21, 2006 at 11:37 pm |

    Since when is a fucking VW an awesome car?

  28. kate
    kate February 21, 2006 at 11:41 pm |

    Jason: So what? Aren’t there also commercials stereotyping men as smucks who don’t listen to what their girlfriends are saying? Men who don’t clean up after themselves or leave the toilet seat up. Are these stereotypes really that offensive to you?

    Yeah, like its so damn funny to be characraterized and dismissed over and over again as being a mindless nagging hag who worries about toilet seats and clean kitchen floors.

    Jason again: It’s the same role you see on sitcoms. Woman nagging. Man not listening. Or woman nagging is hindering man’s enjoyment.

    and again..

    Jason can’t stop: Guys are able to distinguish between reality–that they should treat their significant other with respect–and laugh at a stereotype. I’m sure there are ads aimed at women that do the same thing, say, relying on a stereotype of a guy not listening.

    Yeah. Isn’t mom calling for you to take out the trash or your video game download done yet?

    Tangoman: However, the law could also be presuming that more harm comes to a virgin because the sex attack is her only experience with sex while the sex being forced on a girl who has already had sexual experiences (hopefully positive), while still harmful, is not as harmful, because the girl is a little better equipped to handle the crime by having other experiences to balance out the negative sexual assault.

    If the legal code is presuming that 14 year old girls are virgins and that any sexual assaults are going to be more traumatic simply from lack of previous reference experiences, then when presented with evidence that this isn’t the case the penalty should be different.

    I want to know. I really want to know why when a man cries in court that a preist touched him when he was 14 that the world cries with him and he walks away with a million dollar judgment.

    When a girl cries that her step father shoved his cock in her mouth and made her stimulate him at his command, everyone turns a deaf ear and she is left cold. Just tell me fucking why?

    Why in the name of hell do women have to continuously prove how, what and to what degree the ‘rape’ existed or did damage, but young boys being molested is considered a major social tragedy? Why?

    Is a preist in a more trusted position than a father, brother, uncle or step father? Tell me.

    Or is it that the thought of boys being ‘feminized’ in anyway makes the country get up and scream, but for women and girls to be raped, well its just another day.

    Tangoman gets me spinning again: A virgin has no such crutch to lean on. Her entire sexual world is now defined by the rape. The virgin, unlike the non-virgin, can’t put the rape into perspective because she lacks such perspective.

    Rape is a violation of one’s entire being. It is a violation of personal boundaries, it erases the sense of autonomy that we need in order to function properly in this individualistic culture. Women who have no identity or sense of value beyond being sexual tools, i.e., those who experienced rape repeatedly or once at a young age, have a very hard time developing an identity seperate from being an appendage that functions for the pleasure of others. Never mind children or young women who are victims of violent rape who have the above along with a severe and long lasting fear and confusion about intimacy and trust.

    The virgin can damn well put the rape into perspective if she has an IQ over 60. This culture and many others tell her she’s a whore. Everyday. Everywhere.

    Of course this obscufates the fact that rape is a tool to keep women mute, under control and living in fear. It is a message: “Remember I am a man, I am stronger and therefore I can control you. You exist to subordinate your will to me. Now you are my whore.”

    What more is there? What does it take to see that the outrage over sexual violence and oppression of women goes and in hand with further freedom for women? Is that such a difficult concept to grasp?

    Yes, I know, I impatience and bitchiness is not becoming but really. Its justified.

  29. zuzu
    zuzu February 21, 2006 at 11:42 pm | *

    I miss the VW ad with the two guys out for a drive who pick up a smelly chair.

    THAT’S the way you appeal to young men without alienating women. I’ve been quite pissed off about those stupid “fast” commercials for quite some time.

    Um, not that I’m likely to buy any car any time soon, what with having the subway and all. But still!

    And I can boycott Bentley, too!

  30. kate
    kate February 21, 2006 at 11:45 pm |

    And my proof reading sucked. Sorry. But really people its practically making me crosseyed and even my keyboard is going insane over all this bullshit being spewed in here.

  31. TangoMan
    TangoMan February 22, 2006 at 12:11 am |

    kate,

    those who experienced rape repeatedly or once at a young age, have a very hard time developing an identity seperate from being an appendage that functions for the pleasure of others.

    That’s kind of what I was trying to say. Perhaps the Italian system recognizes this harm and that it is worse for virgins because virgins have no other positive sexual experiences or partners to help them get through the trauma. This doesn’t minimize the trauma of rape for non-virgins but it recongizes the totality of the experience for virgins.

  32. TangoMan
    TangoMan February 22, 2006 at 12:19 am |

    Zuzu,

    The differences between degrees in common law tends to depend on the mental state of the perp, not on the purity of the victim.

    I agree. However, it’s the perceived mental state of the perp. The mental state isn’t established as a concrete fact but is open to interpretation. The murdered victim is still murdered. The rape victim is still raped. Again, I’m not claiming any knowledge of the Italian Criminal procedures, but it sure seems to me that if we don’t accept that their Supreme Court is composed of morons, then their legal tradition may allow for interpretation of harm to the victim to enter into the charging deliberation just like our common law allows interpretation of the perpetrators intent to influence both charging and sentencing decisions.

  33. TangoMan
    TangoMan February 22, 2006 at 12:30 am |

    evil_fizz,

    As a more concrete point, do you really want to be arguing that a man who raped his step daughter should get leniency?

    I’m not doing that though. The guy can rot in prison for decades for all I care. I’m interested in dispassionately exploring some issues on the peculiarites of the Italian legal system and allowing people to commit to certain lines of thought that are applicable to the principles underlying assinine hate and thought crime legislation.

  34. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz February 22, 2006 at 10:43 am |

    but it sure seems to me that if we don’t accept that their Supreme Court is composed of morons,

    You know, given some of the things their Supreme Court has said, I think the moron hypothesis is a heck of a lot more likely. To wit: a woman wearing tight jeans can’t be raped?

    Personally, I don’t think any of us known enough about the Italian legal system to comment intelligently on the subject. However, I can say with considerable confidence that the idea that a rapist deserves leniency because his victim wasn’t a virgin is ridiculous at best.

  35. Antigone
    Antigone February 22, 2006 at 11:53 am |

    I’m curious, why is it a bad thing that women are getting more violent, as opposed to PEOPLE being too violent.

    Women are more likely to be violent than in the past. Men have always been violent. Problem: People are too violent. Not “Women are too violent”.

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