Thursday, 24 June 2010

I should have had these toys as a kid...

The New Bromantics

I've discovered a new word that I hate!

It's "Bromance" defined in Urban Dictionary as: "Describ[ing] the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males."

The word itself might not be in the OED, but the concept it embodies is not as neologous (sp?) as the term. Male/male friendships, with that degree of intimacy, have only recently (I'd guess around the late 1890s...) fallen out of fashion. I'd need to consult someone who actually knows more about Queer theory than me to be sure. But just to take one example, there are quite a few M/M friendships depicted in Shakespeare which later productions have chosen to depict as homosexual (Sebastian/Antonio, Romeo/Mercutio, Antonio/Bassanio) despite one of the two men later going off and getting married. Not that I'm saying such an interpretation is wrong - I think it's just as valid as any other - but I see such pairings as being more akin to today's "Bromances". At any rate, the concept has been around forever.

This is not, I wish to point out, that I deplore the concept - quite the opposite - I think it's great, and if we can start expanding the definition of masculinity to include the ability to be intimate, to show emotion rather than bottle it up, and to consider and rely on other people, rather than having to stand as an island on your own all the time, then so much the better.

But do we have to call it a "bromance"?

Do we have to call it anything, in fact? Because giving such friendships a special name - one that specifically conjures up romance, only to shut it down - betrays such latent homophobia it's unbelievable. It's suggesting that men can only ever be close to someone if they are sexually attracted to them (the male/female version of which is also popular - When Harry Met Sally, anyone?) which is firstly rubbish, and secondly it's saying that such a sexual relationship between two men is so wrong that people have to distance themselves from even the possibility that their own close M/M relationship could be percieved as such, by using this inelegant little neologism.


In other news!

Australia has a new PM :)

And despite the title, the media actually seem to want to talk about her politics rather than her gender. Which makes me a very happy person.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Wet Wet... What?

Ok, just spotted this on the news this morning.

I think I've gone over the shameful way that celebs seem to be given a free pass when it comes to rape, DV and even borderline child abuse (Roman Polanski, anyone?) so I'm not going to dwell on that aspect too much.
Suffice to say, why is it that DV offenders seem to always get reffered to counseling or other psychiatric programs, rather than prison/something that's actually punishment, when the same injuries sustained in an assault/GBH/ABH case would result in a jail term? What's so special about DV that it should be treated so leniently? Oh wait, it's because they hit a woman, and women aren't really people.
Not that I'm saying that advocating rehabilitation rather than retribution is a bad thing necessarily, but the way it seems to be being applied here is problematic to say the least. Apart from anything else, it sends a really screwed up message about the relative severity of DV as a crime. And the threat of being made to attend a few seminars is hardly much of a detterent.

Actually though, the bit I wanted to look at was the closing remarks of the article:

Sentencing, Judge Shani Barnes ... said: "It is shameful that you should come before the courts at all - let alone for using such violence against your partner.

"I have no doubt that you are a mild-mannered gentle man by nature.

"Domestic violence is never acceptable, even if the young woman gave as good as she got, the injuries she sustained were far more impactful than anything she could have done to you."

I'm sorry... what??

"I have no doubt you are a mild-mannered gentle man by nature"?? To someone who punched his wife in the face??
Aside from the obvious disconnect there, that statement has a lot of worrying implications. The obvious one being, if he was so mild-mannered, what (or should we say, who) provoked such a violent response? And that's one step away from outright victim-blaming in my book.
The other thing is; criminals don't obviously look like criminals. Often don't behave like criminals outside of their crime. And that goes double for crimes commited within the household, like DV and a lot of sexual abuse. So to say that Mitchell is a gentle man (apart from when he decides to hit his wife) is really not helpful, because it perpetuates the myth that otherwise "nice" people don't commit attrocities. Which is what makes it so hard for victims of abuse to come forward. Because everyone thinks that that lovely bloke you know who lives round the corner couldn't possibly be beating his wife because he's such a nice guy. I'm sure he didn't mean it, maybe the silly bitch was asking for it... etc etc etc.

Also, the rest of that comment; "Domestic violence is never acceptable, even if the young woman gave as good as she got, the injuries she sustained were far more impactful than anything she could have done to you" shows an utter ignorance of the circumstances under which DV is usually perpetrated - where the woman has usually been isolated and had her self-confidence broken down to the point where she doesn't feel able (or sometimes justified) to fight back. And wtf? Is that chivalry I see coming out of that last part? Don't hit women because they're weaker and can't hit back? As opposed to don't hit women because they're people too and violence against other people is never the answer?

Really, seriously, I think we should expect more from the judiciary. And if there was ever a case for judges to specialise in the kind of crimes they are equipped to deal with, then how much more evidence do you need, your honour?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

New Things!

Ok, so this post is a special Multi-Purpose post!

Mostly, it's to let everyone who reads this know (who didn't already know) that I am still alive, and will be angry and articulate enough to write something here soon.

Secondly, it's to point out - just in case you missed it, y'know - that this blog is being updated and given new shiny things, like a background that isn't just blue. So if it suddenly starts changing around a bit, don't worry. Or do worry if you're the kind of person who hates change. In which case, what are you doing reading my blog?
For the minute I've decided to go with a stars at night kind of theme, to more acurately reflect the whole "galactic" element to the teabag. I was toying with a couple of other designs though, so I may try each one out for a bit, see if I like it better.

The third reason for writing this post, and will probably explain why I've tried to take as long as possible to tell you that the blog is changing around a bit, is that because of the new layout, the previous post - the one with the YouTube links to the awesome Twingo ads? - Those Twingo ads are now flopping over the sidebar, and you can't read it. And since I am a technological muppet, with no clue how to remedy this, I'm trying to write a nice long post that will push the Twingo down, so you can actually see the stuff in the sidebar, like links and archives.


Hope that's done it.