Friday, February 10, 2012

WE HATE YOU LITTLE FUCKING GIRLS

Haha, this isn't a post about how Throbbing Gristle is misogynist (though that would be pretty fucking funny since, despite years of loving essentially their whole body of work, and that song in particular, I don't honestly know much about them), but just some more thoughts about shitty scene themes.
Heads up: image of an industrial flyer below contains sexified lady image.

As I told y'all in my introductory post, it grieves me that a scene that purports to be countercultural is so damn mainstream in the shittiest ways. Today I will whine about the constant sexualization of women in gothy/industrial flyer imagery.

Sexualization is legitimately and truly harmful. I'm not making this shit up. The American Psychological Association says so, too! Dig it:
There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality. Sexualization occurs when
  • a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
  • a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;
  • a person is sexually objectified—that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
  • sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.





Part of being socialized as a woman is having repeatedly driven into your brain that all you're good for is being sexy, and you begin to develop your whole self worth around this concept. There ain't a damn thing wrong with being sexy, and enacting sexiness can be fun and fulfilling, but it is destructive in a big way to be held to such narrow conceptions of sexiness and have its necessity constantly reinforced and reified by every excrescence of the dominant culture-- even when you don't watch TV or read magazines there's still the billboards and bus shelter ads. And goddamnit, the goth/industrial subculture isn't much better.
Thinking back to when I was a regular at gothy/industrial nights/shows/events, the flyers regularly capitalized on images of pr0n-approved women's bodies, often without heads or faces, leaving us with sexualized body parts, incomplete and lacking in humanity. Some of these were local models and women I knew. Just now, from my work compy, I did google image searches for "goth flyer" and "industrial flyer," and I invite you to do likewise to see what I'm getting at. While the results for industrial flyer are less egregious, they almost invariably feature sexy women. If you read my bio on the sidebar, you may have gathered that I am all about women. But if an archivist from another planet were to attempt to reconstruct our scene based solely on the flyers generated for events, they would have no choice but to conclude that we are every one of us a sexy lady who fell into a vat of make up, latex, and hair dye. From an objective stance it's just sort of weird that essentially every flyer ever features an image of a woman. While I'm the first to admit that I'm not much of a dude-gazer, considering that men make up such a huge part of the scene and are the primary and most celebrated creators of the music it's all about, why are we not seeing them? I'd love to hear other people's thoughts, particularly people who generate flyers, on why this is. All I got is that it's a depressing mimic of mainstream marketing gimmicks. Some of the image results are kinda adorbz and invite us to identify with the subject and appreciate her complexity, but most of them are just there to be looked at and seem to have no spark of human inspiration or energy. Here's a particularly distasteful example from LA.
Because Jayzus. What is that really supposed to communicate to us?




And in our tradition here at Industrial Anti-Oppression of highlighting things that are not terrible, I have so much love for this flyer from Columbus, OH.
Is it coincidence that it promotes a night DJed by a woman?














In closing, I would like very much to echo Kraftwerk in saying that I don't want to be a Sex Objekt.

17 comments:

  1. Does IBTP person write about queer porn at all? Like crash-pad? I feel as if I am always on this line of feminist waves and never fully in one. I support queer porn like crash pad. I admittedly watch het porn sometimes even though i think it's fucked up (my weakness of like for visual stimuli willst pretending the dude is actually a dyke is not necessarily defensible). I also completely support (and practice) BDSM, and even can be ok with dude dom/ female sub stuff, but I also see how male-run culture has created a supremacy for goreanism which worries me- though I also feel it is not my place to ever tell women what they should be into, nor is it my place to tell them they are fucked up for liking anything.

    So, in short, I'd be interested in reading more of the rad fem takes on the rare nuggets of pornography like crash pad that seem different from all of the others and on queer bdsm and on how bdsm scenes tend to be more consent oriented than vanilla scenes, yet are still full of misogynistic dudes who pretend bdsm when really they are just rapists who want a platform to make it seem like they are not...

    I am always so divided on this. I do not have shame most of the time anymore for my desires and who I am, but I do constantly have an analysis of my own possible tendencies towards patriarchal traits as a masculine person, even though socialized as a lady.

    Oh man, I am gonna stop now just rambling on and on... Any links are appreciated.

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    1. PS I support sex workers! I wanted to make that clear if my comments on het porn being fucked up did not. All women in porn have my support as I cannot judge their choices and from what I understand, there are a variety of motivations for it.

      PPS Sorry for sort of derailing your post on sexualization of ladies in industrial to ask questions about porn. ha

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    2. Something that really irritates me about the local scene is exactly this. I boycot one promoter entirely because their shows are always combined with some form of BDSM trappings and they are promoted entirely with the use of one of their performers rather than the bands theoretically headlining....

      It also tends to attract a certain type of person from outside the scene for one reason and one reason only.

      It's both dishonest AND insulting to those of us who like stompy noise in our stompy places and sex in private.

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    3. Arquinsel, we agree! Did you ever see this group? Pretty awesome: https://www.facebook.com/groups/174180396732/

      As a BDSM person who has participated in my share of fetish nights, I really liked it much better when fetish nights combined with goth was a rare fun thing once in a while. I believe the mixing of fetish and industrial is part of the reason the scene has become sexualized and apolitical in so many ways.

      And also, women jello wrestling or dancing in vinyl on stage is NOT FETISH and straight women making out for dudes is NOT FETISH and NOT QUEER. I can't stand that shit... When haujobb was here once, I was standing next to Myer during a "fetish" portion of the show and he says to me "This is what you call fetish in America?"
      "Well, no. But I guess some people do." I said with a saddened shrug.
      "This is fucking stupid." he said.

      Back in the days of dungeons and such, and the occasional fetish night where it combined with a musician, it was much more fun. It's pretty much denigrated BOTH fetish and industrial music at the same time...

      I agreed.

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  2. Heh, back when Strig was on facebook they invited me to a group called Rivetheads for the Separation of Industrial and Fetish or something to that effect. It was pretty great, making cracks about how sometimes we just want to have the stompy times without a flogging booth in the corner. I remember of my own attendance at theatrically-themed industrial/fetish events that I would not have shed a tear if the elderly fellow in the captain's hat, boot, and leather thong had absented himself.

    IBTP is aware of 'queer porn' and 'feminist porn' but regards it with a jaundiced eye. http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2007/04/28/reader-actually-asks-spinster-aunts-opinion/

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  3. I never saw that group. I'm not a huge believer in internet politics (although SOPA etc seems to have worked... kind of) so I just register my complaints directly with the local promoters.

    I have literally zero interest in it, being boring and "normal" in my sex life. Oddly enough that seems to put me in the minority everywhere I go, but I'm fine with that. The thing that *really* annoys me is people constantly inviting me to things and never taking no for an answer. The default assumption that you like X and therefore like Y AFTER CORRECTION is just... why?

    Also seeing people, usually girls, getting involved in some impromptu show at a club and being visibly and thoroughly disgusted by the whole thing but stuggling through to "fit in"... that's not what I signed up for.

    I disagree that those things aren't fetish though, they are definitely *someone's* fetish, just not necessarily mine, yours or the wall's. I'm not bothered what people want to get upto, but if I've paid to see, pulling an example out of my ass *cough*, Angelspit live I don't want to have to sit through a suspension piercing show before hand. I *definitely* don't want to end up trapped in the room with it due to the space requirements.

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    1. Ha I guess I mean that fetish shows used to have dungeons and dudes in diapers and stuff. Fetishes that people needed in their lives to be sexually happy. Women dancing on stage and making out is not fetish, however sexy. It's just every day drunk girls only they're wearing black instead of khaki.

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    2. For some people the girl being drunk is a prerequisite for sex.

      (Yes yes I know.... all kinds of wrong).

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    3. If only the men I've watched weren't so inclined to just go for anything on offer I'd have been able to replace "girl" with "other person". Ah well, if everyone had taste and class then there's be nothing special about it.

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    4. Oh I think the way you said it was appropriate and within feminist rhetoric to an extent as dudes often try to get ladies drunk for the premise of sleeping with them, which then makes consent a grey area at best and nonexistent at worst. Ah alcohol, how I do not miss thee at all...

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    5. I've sadly seen both sides do it. I quit drinking when I was eighteen and pub life afterwards was amazing. It's like being Jane Goodall except you don't have to gain their trust if you show up after 11PM. It also gets you into fights, because people don't like the idea of someone remembering their dumbfuckery. Same applies to illegal drugs too.

      On reflection, I don't really remember why I ever went out.

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  4. Also god-dammit blogspot has the shittiest thread-management I've ever seen....

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    1. saaaalllllriiite. We get ya ;-)

      Thanks for the link. i read it and am not entirely sure I agree because I think she is still leaving out some important points about radical queer porn. I definitely owe some of my own sexual liberation to queer porn (specifically actors who make it a point to show their consent processes, tops who flip, different bodies and genders, etc) whereas I think "feminist porn" is something a bit different... But I am open to continue thinking about all of this stuff. I do think queer porn can eb a form of expression, especially when it's the kind done for each other and not for the dudes... I dunno... thinkin thinkin!

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  5. Good post, and a complaint I've had for some time, re: flyers. Please, no more naked girls covered in blood wearing gasmasks. Beyond being sexist, it's just hacky.

    Oh, and the topic of Throbbing Gristle, you should totally read the Drew Daniels (of Matmos) 33 1/3 book about 20 Jazz Funk Greats. The stuff in there about both the making of the album is amazing, but beyond that there's a wealth of interesting information about the sexual politics of (and in) the band that I found really enlightening.

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  6. I think one of the most disturbing things about this post is that, since you wrote it, about 80% of the traffic to this blog comes from searches for "little fucking girls" or "little fucking girl".

    The world is horrible.

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