Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Halloween 2018: Raped and Murdered Women, and Statistics. It Doesn't Get Scarier Than This.


Halloween Is Upon Us

It seems that Halloween is happening this year, too, and we wish, of course, to maintain our readers in the style to which they have been accustomed. That is, we wish to edify and delight them with a Halloween Horror toilet blog post, as we have done every year since we started bog-blogging (except for the years 2015-2016, which were apparently lost in a frenzy of agonised multi-tasking).

However, it increasingly seems to us that the greatest horrors are not constituted by decomposing corpses; murderous, flesh-eating zombies; or even an onslaught of manic, sugar-hyped children knocking on one's door in the dark. The greatest horrors are the atrocities happening around us every day, and which are considered normal.

Swedish Rape Statistics

Ponder, for instance, the fact that in Sweden, a country with a population of roughly ten million, it is estimated that 100 rapes take place every day. Ponder the fact that only a small percentage of these are reported to the police. Then ponder the fact that of the cases reported, only a small percentage lead to prosecution. Then ponder the fact that rape is a hard crime to prove legally (there are usually no witnesses, it is one persons's word against another, etc), and that only a minority of cases lead to a conviction. Ponder the fact that this very common crime, mostly committed by men against women, is usually entirely consequence-free for the perpetrator. Ponder the fact that many people still blame the victim, asking what she was wearing, drinking, and saying, and in fact questioning whether she is telling the truth. (It is commonly asserted that a woman accusing a man of rape has a lot to gain from lying. We can't personally think of anything she might gain, but can think of a few things the accused man can gain from lying about what happened, like for example not being sentenced to prison.)

Are you scared yet? If not, let's look at statistics from the pamphlet Våldtäktsbrottets hantering i rättskedjan ("The administration of rape in the judicial system"), from Brottsförebyggande rådet, Brå (The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention).

Of the circa 6,700 rapes that were reported to police in Sweden in 2014, around 90% were committed against a woman or girl. Breaking down that percentage into categories, among rapes committed against children under the age of 15 during the year 2014, 90% were committed against girls. Within the age span 15-17 years, the percentage of rapes committed against girls was 97%, and among rapes committed against persons over the age of 18, 96% were committed against women. 85% of these crimes were committed indoors. The suspects were, in 98% of the cases, men.

When small children are subjected to sexual violence, the perpetrator is most often an adult family member or relative. For the age span 12-14 years, the perpetrator is most often a friend or acquaintance. For adults, the perpetrator is most often a current or previous partner, or an acquaintance.

Out of these cases of rape reported to Swedish police in 2014, 21% led to prosecution. However, Brå estimates that only a minority of rapes are reported. In Nationella trygghetsundersökningen ("National safety survey"), a Brå publication from 2014, it is estimated that a total of 223,000 sexual violence crimes were committed, against an estimated 62,000 individuals, in Sweden in 2012. Out of these, an estimated 10% were reported to police. (In the latest survey, published in 2018, no similar estimation was offered.) And this is one of the most gender-equal countries in the world, where the proportion of reported rapes compared to actual rapes is one of the least bad anywhere.

Men Murdering Female Partners

What is clear from this onslaught of statistics is that a vast number of sexual violence crimes are committed by male persons, against female persons. If only that were the end of it. However, a terrifying (we are not using the word lightly) number of men murder women. In Sweden, an estimated 17 women are murdered by a current or previous partner each year. According to Nationella trygghetsundersökningen from 2018, of those subjected to violent assault, 40% of women reported being assaulted by a partner, whereas only 3% of men who had been subjected to violent assault reported being assaulted by a partner. It is against this backdrop of violence that we must view the murders: around 90 persons are murdered in Sweden each year, of whom a third are women, of whom roughly half were murdered by a current or previous partner (source for this section: Brott i nära relationer, en nationell kartläggning (2014)). The woman is commonly subjected to threats and abuse before being murdered. The majority of these murders happen in the home, with no witnesses. Ponder these facts without feeling chilled to the bone: we dare you.

A common question that people ask, in relation to domestic violence, is, "Why doesn't she just leave?" There are many answers to that question, but the main one is perhaps that the most common time for a woman to be murdered by her abusive partner is when she is trying to leave him. Sweden is a country with a well-developed social security system, where women are expected to work and not be economically dependent on a man, where there are women's shelters and a national domestic violence hotline. And still 17 women are murdered by their partners every year.

Why is the question so seldom, "Why does he abuse her?" Why is the question so seldom, "How come this is happening in our midst and we see nothing?"

Let's look at statistics from some other countries.

The UK

It is estimated that two women are killed every week in England by a current or former partner. In Britain, "nine in ten women killed during 2016 were killed by someone they knew, 78 women were killed by their current or former intimate partner, 65 of which were killed at their own home or the home they shared with the perpetrator", according to Women's Aid.  At the same time, the government continues cutting funding to refuges.

Australia

In Australia, it is estimated that a woman is murdered every week by a current or former partner. "One in 6 Australian women and 1 in 16 men have been subjected, since the age of 15, to physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabiting partner", according to the government report Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, 2018.

The US

In the United States, an estimated three women are murdered every day by a current or former partner. "When men murder women, 93% are killed by someone they know" is another stark piece of statistic, from the Violence Policy Center.

The world

It seems clear, from a survey of the statistics regarding violence against women, that women exist in a world that is hostile to their very existence, where one very common crime (rape) is widely committed by men against women with few or no consequences, and where a large amount of women are murdered simply for being women. (We are not even going to go into other related horrors like prostitution and trafficking.) It is a world where not only are women commonly subjected to sexual violence and harassment in public spaces, but frequently in their very homes, where they should be safe.

"Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime," according to the World Health Organization, which also states that "Men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms including attitudes accepting of violence, and a sense of entitlement over women". This leads us to our next area of survey: male entitlement.

Male entitlement

 

Men's Rights Activists

While women across the world are literally dying from male violence, and feminists and women's organisations are frantically working to procure funding and resources to help women who are being subjected to violence, a not insignificant number of men, commonly known as Men's Rights Activists (MRA's), are spending their time harassing and threatening the women who are trying to help other women.

A common argument used to try to shut women up is the "Stop complaining, it's much worse in Saudi Arabia" trope. Feminists are reminded of the privilege they supposedly enjoy, compared to women in many other countries. However, the plausibility of this argument fades into irrelevance when one considers that a) this supposed privilege involves a substantial risk of being subjected to violence by the category of person making the argument (men), and that b) the category of person making the argument (MRA's) has yet to show one instance of a constructive action they have themselves taken to help or support anyone, anywhere, whether male or female, living in the West or living in Saudi Arabia. (If you have a record of any such activity, we would be delighted to hear about it.)

A woman in Britain might be considered privileged compared to a woman in Saudi Arabia, true, but on the other hand she still runs a significant risk of being raped or murdered by a man. Furthermore, no feminist is obliged to travel to another country to support women there. Indeed, the fight for equal rights is best conducted in the form of grassroots action firmly rooted in the local soil.

Rather than supporting women, MRA's seem to make it their mission to vilify and abuse women. Research shows that a significant number of men and boys are subjected to sexual violence (the perpetrator, irrespective of the victim's sex, is nearly always a man). Feminists point to patriarchal notions of subjugation and domination as an explanation for this phenomenon, and are usually eager advocates of anyone subjected to violence, whether male or female.

The fact remains, however, that running a domestic violence shelter or a support group for rape victims takes a lot of time, energy, and money. These resources being scant, most feminists tend to focus on supporting women. It's not that feminists don't want men to receive support, it's that they are exhausted from just trying to keep women alive.

MRA's are prone to accuse women of favouring women, to the detriment of men. Men in general, and MRA's in particular, are of course welcome to start refuges and rape crisis centres of their own, and would perhaps have an easier time collecting money for such an endeavour than women do. However, we have yet to hear of an MRA working long, thankless hours for no remuneration, to support victims of rape or domestic violence, whether male or female. (Again, if you have a record of any such activity, we would be delighted to hear about it.)

MRA's in the trans lobby

In recent years, the trans lobby has pushed a change in discourse, from describing the human race in terms of biological sex, to describing it in terms of of gender, which is believed to be innate. This appears to us to be a subversion of the long-established feminist assumption that gender is a social construct based on biological sex, and is designed to keep most women and certain men subjugated to male authority. Gender roles, according to feminist theory, vary over time and over different cultures, but commonly they present women as "weak", "irrational", "gossiping", "vain", etc, while presenting men as "strong", "rational", and "logical". In most societies, for a man to be effeminate (that is, "like a woman") is to be regarded as weak, even immoral. The gender roles imprisoning both men and women have often traditionally been explained with divine authority or natural law; for instance, it might be claimed that God intended women to stay in the home and care for the children, or that men are naturally stronger and therefore more suited to pursuits in the public sphere than women, who should remain in the domestic sphere.

No serious scientific study has yet shown that any such inherent differences between men and women exist; rather, the scientific consensus seems to be that, when it comes to brain structure, personality, etc, the differences between members of the same sex are greater than the differences between the sexes (for a review of the science, see for instance Angela Saini's excellent book Inferior). Feminists want to rid the world of gender stereotypes, enabling each person to reach their full potential irrespective of sex.

Indeed, one of the proudest achievements of feminism is the demolition of the essentialist idea that men and women have certain innate characteristics which are based on sex, such as the notion that women are more naturally nurturing, or that men are better at reading maps. This achievement is the result of centuries of relentless work. Trans activists would have us reject the ideal of a meritocratic society, and regress to one where certain characteristics and personality traits are innate and can't be changed

According to recent trans ideology, gender doesn't always match one's biological body. Thus a man might be a woman, trapped in a body with a penis. If a man says that he is a woman, it is abusive, according to trans ideology, to say that he isn't. The basis of the claim is the person's feeling; apparently you can know you are a woman if you feel like one. It is not explained how you can feel like a certain sex; however, it is assumed that if a man enjoys things traditionally regarded as feminine, such as dresses, or make-up, or even the colour pink, then he is a woman. It is vehemently declared that a man who identifies as a woman, is a woman. The favoured slogan is "Trans women are women".

Many people understand the issue of not feeling at home in their body. Especially among teenagers, who have only recently started the process of figuring out who they are in relation to the - still prevalent, rampant, and harmful - gender stereotypes that we all grapple with, bodies can be a source of confusion. The step to believing that you are in the wrong body is, for some, a small one. Gender dysphoria is a distressing condition, and of course requires medical attention. However, while more research needs to be done, it seems clear that in the case of girls believing that they are, or wanting to be, boys, society's unrealistic and often sadistic expectations of what a woman's body ought to look like are not an irrelevant factor. There is an as-yet unexplained link between the desire to undergo transition surgery and autism, and transition regret is a real problem that needs addressing.

Ultimately, it shouldn't matter what you wear, how you express your identity, or what pronouns you prefer. The problems appear when you consider the statistics outlined above. Men rape women. Men abuse women. Men kill women.

Any feminist worth their salt would defend everyone's right to wear, act and be whatever they want. When it turns out that the agenda isn't defending human rights, however, but robbing women of their rights and their precarious safety, feminists rightly protest. Part of the trans lobby agenda appears to be to eliminate women-only spaces. It is argued that trans people are vulnerable to abuse and that women need to include them in their safe spaces. So in a world where women are extremely vulnerable to male violence, and where a women-only public toilet, for instance, is an effective means of keeping women safe from opportunistic abusers, women are expected to open this previously safe space to any man who says he is a woman.

This move to eliminate safe spaces for women has been efficient in for example Sweden, where sex-separated toilets appear to be quietly vanishing, to be replaced by "unisex" toilets. This means that a woman - and remember that a majority of women have a lifetime of experience of sexual violence and harassment from men - is expected to share an intimate space with men she doesn't know and the threat level of whom she can't gauge until it is too late. It is not necessarily the trans women who are the issue here, it is the men that women are forced to let into their safe spaces if a man can claim to be a woman on the basis of a feeling. (Since trans men generally don't constitute a threat to either men or women, the debate regarding single-sex spaces has been focused on trans women.)

There are already examples of abusive men gaining access to women by claiming to be female, for instance transgender person Karen White, who sexually assaulted two women in a female-only prison ward. It is clear that women have a lot to lose from giving up women-only spaces. As far as we can tell, however, the only people who gain anything from forcing women to give up their safe spaces are abusive men.

As far as we understand, transwomen are at risk from violence in for instance men's toilets. What we don't understand is why trans activists don't work towards 1) combatting male chauvinism and its attendant homophobia and transphobia, and 2) creating trans spaces, where trans people can feel safe without threatening women's safety.

Rather like MRA's, many trans activists seem prone to vilify and abuse women, especially women who don't agree with trans ideology. Rather than going, "trans people are subjected to abuse, mostly by men. Perhaps those hard-working feminists can give us advice on how to help trans women", many trans activists seem to spend their time threatening women who don't accept their doctrine. This hardly seems helpful.

It is in fact hard to see how devoting time and energy to abusing women for simply stating the scientific fact that "a woman is an adult human female" helps anyone, whether trans or not. The inevitable conclusion is that many trans activists are concerned not with supporting trans people but with telling women to shut up, for instance by endlessly harping on about women's "cis privilege". Sound familiar? It is, indeed, the very tried-and-tested tactic used by MRA's - attempting to silence women by telling them they are privileged whenever they try to defend their rights or protest male violence.

Things that men do in their everyday lives to protect themselves from assault and rape, versus things that women do in their everyday lives to protect themselves from assault and rape. Image based on a lecture by Jackson Katz.

Final remarks

There is a trend to make not only statistics, but the very terms used to discuss men's violence against women, gender neutral. Despite the fact that women are subjected to violence by men on an enormous scale for which there is no female-on-male equivalency, the term "domestic violence" is in many contexts preferred to "men's violence against women". Indeed, if you look at the website of the Office for National Statistics, and read the report entitled "Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2017", the language is almost entirely gender-neutral. "An estimated 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year," it says, for instance. One can easily get the impression that domestic violence affects men and women in equal measure, and that the categories "man" and "woman" are, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant when it comes to describing violence.

Remember the onslaught of statistics at the beginning of this blog post? Statistics like these are a vital tool in the feminist struggle to create a society where a person's worth isn't determined by sex. By gathering statistics showing that women as a sex are at risk from violence by the male sex, feminists have been able to procure funding for things like women's shelters, that save the lives of women and children. There are plenty of people out there who are of the opinion that "feminism has gone too far", and would like to return to an era where women were economically dependent on men and thus forced into subservience, but even these people are obliged to contribute to the cost of maintaining women's shelters and rape crisis centres with their tax money. All thanks to statistics, and decades of relentless work by feminists.

In the light of this, it should come as no surprise that women might be unwilling to give up the scientifically sound sex categories "male" and "female". Freedom of expression is a beautiful thing, and people should be free to call themselves trans, or non-binary, or a unicorn, if they find that a helpful way of dealing with the relentless pressures of gender stereotypes. Denying other people their freedom of expression, however, and pushing a misogynist, homophobic ideology on others, is abusive.

The categories "man" and "woman" aren't sexist in themselves. However, we live in a sexist, misogynist world, where women are having to fight every day for their very survival.  Pretending that it isn't so doesn't solve the problem. Believe us we, and every woman we know, would absolutely fucking love to live in a world where sharing a public toilet with an unknown man, or going for a walk on a dark night, or existing in a public place, wasn't dangerous. Since that is not the case, however, is is vital for women to record reality as it is, for instance using statistics. Describing things as they really are isn't abusive. Stating that men's violence against women is a problem isn't abusive. Stating that a woman is an adult human female isn't abusive.

No woman is obliged to include men in her safe spaces. No feminist is obliged to include men or trans people in her movement.

If you haven't had enough horror for one day, try pondering several thousand years of violent patriarchy, for instance by reading Gerda Lerner's The Creation of Patriarchy. We bid you good evening.




There is no Festive Video today. However, here's a Ted Talk by Jackson Katz.


Jackson Katz, Violence Against Women - It's a Men's Issue



Related Reading:

The Women Count website 

The Counting Dead Women project

The War Is Over (If You Want It), Feminism and Men, blog post by Rebecca Solnit

Inferior, book by Angela Saini

"Evil Womxn": The Silencing Of Biological Reality And The Technology Of Obfuscation, article in Forbes by Julian Vigo

Transgender Ideology Does Not Support Women, blog post by Miranda Yardley

Transwomen Are Not Women, blog post by Miranda Yardley

Who Are the Rich, White Men Institutionalizing Gender Ideology? article in The Federalist by Jennifer Bilek

We Need to Call Breast-Binding What It Really Is, blog post by Glosswitch

Gender is not a spectrum, article by Rebecca Reilly-Cooper in Spectrum

Changing the concept of "woman" will cause unintended harms, article by Kathleen Stock in The Economist 

On feeling like a woman, article by Amy Eileen Hamm in Feminist Current 

A Mum's Voyage Through Transtopia, blog post by Lily Maynard

A Gentleman in the Ladies, blog post by Jean Hatchet

Are You Being Abused? .....Again?, blog post by Jean Hatchet

Actually, just read all of Jean Hatchet's blog

(If you have money to spare, consider donating to Jean Hatchet's fundraiser for women's shelters)

Also, read everything by intersex spokesperson Mrkhrtk2 on Twitter

Stop asking me "what about men?", blog post by Jessica Eaton

The Transgender Trend website

The Gail Dines website

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Life, Art, Howling

The world keeps turning, and the old maxim "Life's a bitch and then you die" remains true. How about some entertainment while we wait? 

Jonny has sent us new pictures which are not only of very high quality, but which provide a pleasingly morbid commentary on the current state of the world. This toilet, for instance, looks like it's preparing for a post-Brexit nuclear wasteland:


Woof! Check out Jonny's rakish fur jacket!

A clear contender for the Dinge mit Gesicht website! Jonny calls this work of art "Happy toilet".

The next photo is, we are reliably informed, from a supermarket toilet. The description reads almost like a bleak, acerbic haiku:
Temporary toilets in Garforth Tesco
A damn sight better than their regular ones
(Which I think are getting refurbed)


Finally, we offer this gem, captioned "Double trouble".

What can one do, except thump one's leg against the floor and howl with abandon?

Plenty of material, here, for Jonny's ever-expanding fan-base. We should, however, offer our readers some cultural refinement. Here's a contribution from Our Mum, who went, together with Our Favourite Aunt, to visit the Kosta Boda Art Hotel, in a benighted hell-hole in the dark woods of southern Sweden. If you must visit benighted hell-holes, we suppose you might at least visit one that has a good toilet. Well done.


We have reams and reams of good toilet material from various sources but, to paraphrase the poet, we're mongrel-bitch tired and our fist cannot form letters any more, so fuck off, darlings, and leave us alone.

In case you haven't seen our recent Jonny-themed meme yet, you're welcome:



Several of our friends seem, for various reasons, to be in need of break-up songs, and we have, in an attempt to be helpful, started a collection. Here's one that we rather like. It is useful, we find, in many different types of situations.




Festive Video: Whitney Rose, I Don't Want Half, I Just Want Out


Related reading

All posts featuring Jonny

All posts on the theme "double trouble":

Feeling Single, Seeing Double: Sct. Clemens Brewery, Aarhus 

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Catching Up with Our Correspondance

There comes a time in every toilet blogger's life when it becomes impossible to ignore the onslaught of amusing contributions from friends and acquaintances any longer. We have been busily engaged with mere survival, holing up in our metaphorical hill fort and mending baskets, pickling vegetables and otherwise preparing for winter, but today we're going to make an oh-fuck-it, death-and/or-glory raid into the murky barbarian border lands of bog-bloggery. Alors, on avance!

Let's get the grim, serious stuff over and done with first. Are you, by any chance, thinking of getting married? Frankly, we advise against it, especially if you're a woman. If you insist on going through with this antiquated ceremony, even after pondering the cost, the divorce statistics and the fact that marriage is an institution built on the assumption that a woman is a piece of chattel to be traded between men, like a sheep, then that is your headache, we guess - free will and all that.

If you have further bought into the sexist notion of the white wedding dress, symbolising the bride's chastity, which in turn ensures that any offspring will definitely carry the DNA of the customer/groom, then you should at least be aware that there is a gadget that ensures your dress stays white even if you should be unfortunate enough to, contrary to patriarchal assumptions, have bodily functions. Here is a video that demonstrates this product.



The same friend who sent us the above video also treated us to a picture of a toilet roll that was horrifyingly turned the wrong way round, but that our friend had the presence of mind to secretly flip, guerilla-warfare-style. We applaud you, anonymous friend!

It also turns out that we are far from alone in worrying about the state of public toilets. In some places, public toilets don't even exist, making the issue of whether they are equipped with mixer taps and sturdy coat hooks appear to be a luxurious first-world problem for the impossibly privileged to ponder in their rampantly ample spare time (this may be true either way).

In Greece, for instance, we learned that public toilets are virtually non-existent, but that cafés and restaurants are happy to let you nip in and use their facilities. Britain, that land of rampant plumbing insanity, is also experiencing a worrying lack of public facilities, according to a BBC article sent to us by a friend. It seems that "UK councils stopped maintaining around 13% of public toilets between 2010 and 2018", indicating that the brutal Tory policy of shouting "Austerity!" while yanking away vital support and services has had an effect on the nation's toilets. We all thought that British bogs couldn't get any worse, but obviously we were wrong.

Continuing the theme of non-existent toilets, Feisty French Friend sent us a video of a toilet cubicle in Cambodia without toilets. Facebook won't let us share said video via any other medium than its own platform. Luckily for our regular readers, however, we have resorted to the lo-fi but practical move of filming our computer screen. View the result, if you can bear it, below:


What would a bog blog update be without photos from everyone's favourite piece of boom-boom-boombastic babe? Dull beyond endurance! Let us quickly look at these pictures kindly sent by Jonny, who says, "Never seen stocks in a toilet before!"

The mind boggles!

We don't know about you, but we find ourselves paralyzed by the sheer very-something-ness of this picture.

We can never quite decide how we feel about the objectification of males. We seem to remember once being in favour of male nudity. However, we are also reminded of the disturbing toilet pornography present in the Lizard King bar in Torun, Poland, and also the Cock and Bull in Aberdeenshire, and suddenly feel queasy. Pornography contributes to rape culture: can everyone please decorate their toilet walls with something that doesn't glamorise abuse?

The toilet looks functional and there is no lack of toilet roll. That, at least, is non-objectionable.

If you feel a sudden urge to enjoy these feisty facilities, get your arse down to the Viaduct Showbar in Leeds! (Do by all means remind the management that pornography is recorded abuse.)

We feel like it would be irresponsible to end without some intellectual stimulation, and therefore hasten to share with you pictures of pieces of Roman wall, provided by Shewee Fiend Friend, who says:
I haven't got any toilet pictures for you in Bulgaria yet because there is either no toilet and just a hole, or the toilet makes me think something like, "how do you even get that X [insert effluvia here] on that part of the toilet?
However, here is a piece of [third-century] Roman Wall just hanging out beside me at the café we're at.

Mmm, there's nothing like pondering some Roman bricks to put the zip back in your day!

If this is not enough for you and you crave more Roman bricks in Bulgaria: GET IT HERE.

 Let us relax, finally, with a Festive Video. We spent all summer enduring a weird and disturbing heat wave, and literally praying for rain. Consequently we found this song playing on repeat at the back of our melting mind.



Festive Video: Sarah Darling, Where Cowboys Ride

Salve!

Related Reading:

Enjoy this incandescent treatise on the value of singledom by our fierce feminist friends at Out of Lines: Coupledom Compulsion

There are two ways (possibly three) of hanging toilet roll: the right way, and the wrong way (and possibly a third way): Rocking, Rolling, Ranting

On friendly Greek toilet attendants: Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts, But Totally Trust the Toilet Attendant

On the happiness attending the discovery of Greek public toilets, ancient and modern: Vacillating with Vespasian

This is not the first time we have reported on toilets that don't exist. One of our first efforts was To Be Or Not to Be - A Loo So Existential It Doesn't Even Exist

All posts featuring Feisty French Friend 

All posts featuring Jonny

 All posts featuring Shewee Fiend Friend

Pondering male nudity: Stark Raving Nudity 

Do check out the website of anti-porn campaigner and all-round heroine Gail Dines 

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Divide [the Toilets] and Conquer [One of a Multitude of Aspects of Women's Subjugation to Male Violence]

Zut, alors! Sacre bleu! Quel fromage! We've been on holiday in the south of France, and our high-school French has come back with rather more force than we are quite comfortable with. If we end up gesticulating in a Gallic fashion, brandishing a large baguette in public places, or insisting on imbibing a pastis in the shade under the plane trees while laconically making ironic remarks about the latest train delays, you will have to bear with us.

Let us symbolically trouver la gare together! Alors, the first toilet in today's continental blog post is from Montpellier Airport, and illustrates that what appears progressive may turn out to be, if one only reflects a moment, horrifyingly regressive.

There were, as far as we could tell, three toilets in the departures hall at Montpellier Airport: one gents', one ladies', and one unisex. Since the ladies' toilet was out of order, we were relegated to the unisex one. Making toilets unisex ticks the "inclusive" box, and makes everyone feel virtuous. We all want to be inclusive, right? God forbid anyone should feel left out! Intuitively, unisex toilets seem like the only progressive option for modern people. Men and women are equal, and there is no reason to segregate the sexes. But stop and think. For instance, think about these questions:

  • Do men commit the majority of sexual-violence crimes?
  • Are sexual predators opportunists?
  • Are women safe in an enclosed space with strange men?

The answers are, respectively, Yes, Yes, and No. There is no lack of evidence of women being at risk from sexual and physical violence from men in unisex toilets. Before the loud manspreader scratching his balls in the back starts yabbering the "Not all men" mantra, no, not all men. But too damn many, and they don't, unfortunately, have a sign attached to them saying "abuser", or it would be easy to weed the bad ones out. Once you designate an enclosed space where women have no choice but to go, unisex, you are leaving them at the mercy of predatory men. There is a reason women want and need women-only spaces, and that reason is to exclude male violence.


On the left is the women's toilet...

...and on the right is the men's. In between is a narrow space with a sink, in which we found ourselves trapped uncomfortably with no fewer than three men, one of whom was wearing chinos.

The coat hooks, to be fair to this execrably bad toilet, are great.


The toilet itself is tiny, and not something you want to shout from the rooftops about.

Incidentally we were, as you can see if you go back through our Unisex Toilets label and read older posts (for instance this one), originally in favour of trans inclusivity. Being inclusive seemed to be a matter of human rights; both men and women are at risk of male violence, and if some men who look like women are at an even higher risk of violence, then surely letting them share a toilet with the women makes perfect sense? Unfortunately, however, it's not that simple. It turns out that there are plenty of men (again, not all men) who are prepared to argue that they are trans women in order to gain access to spaces where women are vulnerable, for instance rape crisis centres, domestic violence shelters, changing rooms and, yes, toilets. Robbing women of the right to banish men from women-only spaces renders them powerless to protect themselves against male violence.

In one of our first posts about unisex toilets, we gave expression to our fear of being trapped in an enclosed space with strange men by flippantly describing the bearded hipsters crowding the sink. We have since had cause to drop the flippancy. We empathise with trans women and -men, but fail to see why supporting them must endanger women. 

Luckily the internet is, just about, a place where women can talk about things that affect them, and there are many brave radfems (or, as some people label them, TERFs) out there conducting an intellectual debate about the difference between sex and gender. Some of our favourites are Jean Hatchet, Lily Maynard and, of course, gender-critical transwoman (oh, that this epithet even exists) Miranda Yardley (who, incidentally, has been permanently banned from Twitter for saying abusive things like "an adult human male is a man").

We shall no doubt keep talking about the screaming bloody horror that is unisex toilets, but let us for now move on to something potentially more festive - French public toilets!

Strolling along a promenade in the charming southern French town of Sète, we were delighted to spot a sign pointing to a public WC! Our disappointment was in proportion to our initial excitement: the door was locked. Two friendly French dudes relaxing on a bench informed us that c'est fermez, and our French companions explained that since nobody in their right mind goes out in the middle of the day, everything including the toilets is shut until 3 pm. This seemed fair enough considering the blistering heat, and the fact that the toilets were still closed at 4 pm was surely just an anomaly.

A resolutely closed door

A supremely exciting sign!

To be honest, we weren't brave enough to ring the bell - maybe if we had, a friendly toilet attendant would have let us in?

Here's what the public toilets in Sète look like as you are walking away from them in disappointment.

The public toilets may have been shut, but fear not! we stop at nothing to procure pictures of toilets, and ventured into the bar next to the local hôtel de ville in order to satisfy our readers' voracious hunger for images of French facilities.


So far so good

This charming sign says "Laissez les WC dans l'état où vous souhaiteriez les trouver en entrant", which we can all agree with!

This toilet is rich in signage; this one says "Ne jetez pas vos lingettes et autre au les toilettes! Une pubelle est prévue à cet effet"

"Respectez ce lieu propre comme vous le trouvez quand vou rentrez. Merci." Ah! Gallic gallantry!

Here by the sink, which has no soap, is the poubelle in which one is supposed to deposit one's lingettes et autre.

We naturally didn't spend our entire holiday lounging around Sète, guzzling pastis and ogling athletic French men engaged in nautical jousting. No, indeed! We made sure to attend the Le Corum concert hall in Montpellier, where we found the facilities unproblematic and reasonably cultured. Hurrah!




Last but not least we visited, for our readers' delight and edification, the toilets in the Galeries Lafayette in Montpellier. This was not without difficulty - on following the signs pointing towards the WC, one was led first along the entire gallery, then down the stairs and finally up a minuscule lift. We are nothing if not dedicated to our cause of describing toilets in an obscure and mildly amusing bog blog!

The hand dryer, we suppose, could have been worse.

The coat hook was the best thing about this toilet. Have we identified a trend?

There is no toilet seat, but the toilet roll is all present and correct so that is, presumably, something to be grateful for.

The soap supply is adequate and so is that of lukewarm water.

Readers, we have reached the end of the road: this is where we stop ranting. We hope that your hypothetical question Où est la gare, s'il vous plaît? was answered. Festive Video? You bet!


Festive Video: Time,
"Swedish Woman Stops Plane To Temporarily Halt Asylum Seeking Man's Deportation To Afghanistan".  
(Incidentally, Elin Ersson did not succeed in stopping the deportation of Ismail Khawari, but this does not lessen her bravery.)


Related Reading

All posts featuring Unisex Toilets

One distressing unisex toilet in particular is described here: Stockholm Central Station: The Trauma Is So Great We Are Brought To Quoting Cicero

An excellent public toilet in Athens that we enjoyed immensely but where we also had occasion to ponder the safety issues that being a woman (a calamity affecting roughly 50 % of the population) in public spaces necessitates pondering: Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts, But Totally Trust the Toilet Attendant

A blog critiquing gender ideology, including documented harm to women brought on by a lack of women-only spaces: The New Backlash

Some gender-critical bloggers who argue intelligently (there are many more):
Jean Hatchet
Lily Maynard
Miranda Yardley

Also, don't miss the festive heroes at Man Friday

Last but not least, if you prefer your radical feminism served French, there is Féministes radicales

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Marsupials! Politeness! Hand Sanitizer!; or, Deconstructed Ranting; or, We're Fucked If We Can Find a Theme

It is important, in these dark times, to remember the things that bring light and joy: decent plumbing, handwashing, human rights, wine, babe parades. We reminisced recently, on our Facebook page, about that time when we realised that Father Ted is kind of a babe! The Jonny Babe Parade is obviously immensely fulfilling, but we reckon the more babes that are highlighted, the merrier!

The post in which we weirdly perv on poor Ted happens to contain an example of unwelcome creatures that infest Australian toilets. We are grateful that our friend Maureen took the opportunity of mentioning many more critters that lurk in the dunnies Down Under:
The Privy Counsel What a pity you forgot other unwanted guests in Australian toilets: frogs, gekkos, (little lizards with pads on their feet) snakes and cane toads appear with regularity in the north of Australia. As a young woman I shared toilets with many quokkas (marsupials) at Rottnest Island (just off the coast near Perth in Western Australia). Sadly for the quokkas, toilets moved inside the cottages where they can no longer go.
We never thought we'd find cause to regret the advent of indoor plumbing, but clearly a quokka would be a delightful companion to have in one's outhouse!

Speaking of outhouses, a very dear friend of ours was kind enough to take us along to this one, which is charmingly situated on an islet in lake Orsasjön.


How charming! And how reassuring to know that one can heed the call of nature in a hygienic manner when having one's barbecue in the middle of a lake.

On opening the door, one finds these beautiful prints featuring views of the lake.

How charming - everything you need! Except, wait. THERE IS NO HAND SANITIZER. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU NOT PUT HAND SANITIZER IN AN OUTHOUSE YOU ANIMALS???
(According to a reliable source, if hand sanitizer - which consists of at least 60 per cent alcohol - was left here it would be drunk by the people frequenting the bog quicker than you could say "twenty boozehounds on an island in the rain".)

All present and correct: It is traditional, in Sweden, to put pictures of the royal family in the outdoors bog (you can interpret this any way you want. Also, you can view more royal privy pictures here).

Another interesting bog we've come across recently is at the Falu Fängelse youth hostel in Falun. This friendly hostel, located in a 19th-century prison, offers cool (the walls are very thick), noise-insulated (the doors are very thick) rooms; a friendly atmosphere; and a museum in the basement! We've rarely come across a more festive lodging! The toilets are simple yet satisfying.

Plenty of reliable coat hooks.
A gratifyingly prison-like light fixture.
There is nothing lacking here.



We adore clear signage!

An old-fashioned Swedish mixer tap, good soap, and recycled paper towels. All thoroughly fulfilling.
Speaking of prisons we've had occasion to note, recently, that there are too many dudes out there being arseheads on Twitter. If you are guilty of having spent your time being insolent to, for example, a young woman who is fighting for her own life, and the lives of other people, we have one word for you: FUCKING WELL DESIST. Obviously all our readers are highly civilised and would never dream of doing such a thing, but nonetheless, we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of politeness. As Caitlin Moran so wisely says,
Being polite is possibly the greatest daily contribution everyone can make to life on Earth.
(How to Be a Woman, 2011)
All you achieve, when being deliberately rude, is revealing your own insecurity. You don't like immigrants / women having rights / amusing pictures of ducks? Fine. That's no reason to act boorishly to someone trying to help people in a difficult situation. Instead of sitting around on your arse on Twitter, get the fuck out there and do something constructive. Volunteer for a women's shelter. Help the neighbours paint the fence. Plant sunflowers. Get your tools out and build a bird house, or a beehive. LITERALLY ANYTHING. And when voicing your opinions, do so in a constructive and civilised manner.

Naturally, not everyone being abusive, online or in real life, is a man. Women are rude, too. But it is a statistically proven fact that most violent crimes and most acts of aggression are committed by men. And you need only do a quick scan of rude messages on Twitter to conclude that most of them are from males with apparently nothing better to do than shout abuse at strangers. If you don't like us saying that, fine. It's still true. Here are some facts to ponder before you start shouting, and/or beating your chest like a drum, causing chest-hair to fly in all directions (we hope you get the hoover out occasionally).

We found an amusing sticker on a bog-standard, half-arsed train toilet that said, simply, "Leif!" We thought it illustrated rather nicely the fact that not only most of the violence in this world, but also most of the urine on toilet seats, emanates from men. Most of you are all right - great, even - but dudes. As a sex, you've got some work to do. Leif! Whether that's your name or not! Fucking well remember to aim!

PLEASE. FUCKING WELL AIM.

During a trying and difficult time in our life recently, Shewee Fiend Friend, showing true solidarity and sisterhood, sent us this glittery toilet the minute she finished taking 1) the piss and 2) obvious delight in her rather vibrant schadenfreude. We are forever grateful.

Hurrah! A festive, glittery toilet seat!

THE SCREAMING BLOODY HORROR!!!!!!!

These are, to quote Shewee Fiend Friend's actual words, "Hideous taps in my [English] hotel room". The noise you heard just then was caused by the vast amount of air molecules that were displaced on us shuddering massively. (Note how these taps are eerily reminiscent of the ones in our Toilet Tale Terminator Toilet?)
In order not to lose our minds completely, what with all the fascism being dished out left, right, and centre, lets have not one but TWO Jonny Babe Parade toilet selfies! The first one was accompanied, fitting rather nicely into our earlier prison theme, by the words "Fighting criminals in the urinals":

"It's not who I am underneath, but what I do, that defines me" - let's bloody well hope, dudes, that what you are doing is not piddling on toilet seats!

On receiving the second picture, one fairly average Sunday at 00:03 am, we asked, reasonably we thought, what was in the many pictures on the wall. The reply the next day read, "Not sure. Was very drunk". You can't say fairer than that!

HUBBA HUBBA WOOF!

Today's Festive Video comes from a charming gentleman we happened to run into at the eminent musical event Orsayran. It's called "Kvinnor är smartast", which translates as "Women are the smartest". We are rather inclined to agree.


Festive Video: Sigge Hill, Kvinnor är smartast


Related Reading

Join us in weirdly perving on Father Ted: Theme: "Unwanted Guests". Also, A Surprising Pin-Up!

All posts featuring the semi-weird concept "Privy Counsel Pin-Ups"

Have a read of Maureen's evocative musings on her website

All posts featuring Jonny

Another toilet we enjoyed in the environs of Orsasjön: Stockholm Central Station: The Trauma Is So Great We Are Brought To Quoting Cicero

Another charming example of pictures of the royal family serving as toilet decorations: By the Sea - A Toilet Blogger's Holiday

All posts featuring Royal Toilets

A constructive rant from our friends at the Out of Lines blog: From Random Dudes on the Internet Deliver Us, O Lord

Ignorance is no excuse - check out the Feminism 101 site for information on all the many ways the world is fucked up!

All posts featuring Shewee Fiend Friend

Terminator Toilet 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...