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writer writer's picture

I'm very interested in an exploration of how the Conservatives framed this particular release, especially if there is a wide gap between what the release says about this program and what the mandate is according to the agency itself.

 

Unfortunately, my French isn't good enough to lead such an exploration. As stated in English by the government release, this is a terrible taste of Handmaid's Tale. If it is a case of political information manipulation, that too is frightening. George Orwell wrote a bit about that kind of thing. Kafka too, for that matter.

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:

You may be right - it's drift in this thread - but it certainly has exposed how important the whole subject matter is. The commodification of women, their transformation into sexual objects, their dehumanization and degradation on one hand - vs. the disenfranchisement of youth, sexual prudery, social conservatism, homophobia, etc. - there's no reason why these struggles have to be put into opposition to each other, but it's clear from this thread how complex and sensitive the issues are.

No, they do not have to be put into opposition of each other. However, how does one define sexual prudery? I do not think that a belief that children (as defined by child welfare laws and age of consent laws) should not be having sex (other than self-pleasure) is prudery or social conservatism. Prudery is believing that everyone should wait until marriage.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Unionist wrote:
How about 14, Refuge?

I would hazard a guess that most 12 year olds now aren't ready for sex.  I wouldn't know about 14 at this time, when I was 14, no but we also weren't indoctronated into sex by Britney Spears etc at the age of 6 or 7. 

It is a whole new ball game out there which means that it is doubly important there be programs out there so that when a girl does reach the age of 14 they have had a balance of space to feel comfortable with their decision because there is so much social pressure to look, act and dance sexy at such a young age. 

The program shouldn't focus on telling girls to say no, the program should be focusing on informing of them of societies message and the possible effect it has on girls in general as well as the REAL ways that you know if you are ready to say yes.  It should also include discussions on what their thoughts are and letting them explore it as both sides of the society (the societal yes side and the religious no side) do not promote thought and discussion but indoctronation and brainwashing.

I would hazzard a guess that men would be shocked at how many women in society that did have sex at an early age were not ready but had never been given the space to genuinely think about it and have suffered far reaching consequences both with their sexuality and their identity into adulthood.  Of the three women that I talked about only  the one lady who is a Chirsitian Fundamentalist talks openly about her experiences, the other two only tell close friends.

Men don't realize how male privlidge affect womens openess with their feelings on sexuality in mixed group settings.  Women don't want to be seen as broken or less than so everything is hunky dory in the sexuality department.

Unionist

You support Bill C-22, which criminalized sexual touching between a 14-year-old and a 20-year-old. Both are now guilty of a criminal act. And it maintains the criminality of "non-standard" sexual activity below age 18. You don't have to tell me what your definition of prudery is. Nor your definition of "children".

 

Refuge Refuge's picture

martin dufresne wrote:

I am surprised at the venom being directed to Ghislaine and Refuge.

As a feminist who openly discusses women's sexual issues and males pressuring therin I am not suprised.  As I noted in my previous post men don't realize the effect that male privlidge has on women ability to openly state issues in mixed company.  Women don't want to be seen as broken or less than so everything is fine with them in the sexuality department because society says that everyone is suppose to love sex.

When you bring up that this isn't always the case and that in a lot of cases women who have sex to early do it because of pressures that have been put on them by a society that is centered around male privlidge men don't want to believe that they may have been a part of that (either on purpose or inadvertanlty) so they immediately go to defenses saying that it can't be true.

They cling onto the notion that we are saying that women are victims which can't be true because then men (them) are the preditors.  In reality the argument isn't that women are victims the reality is that it is somewhere in the middle.  Part of it is them being victims of society but it is not the whole puzzle, just a piece, and for some women that peiece is larger than others.  And,unfortunatelty, in most cases the younger you are, the bigger that piece is in most cases.

edited to add: I don't sense venom here in this discussion, and rarely do so for me venom would be the wrong word but I do sense resistence to what I have stated above

edited to add a second time: which I always welcome because usually when there is resistance to something it is because there is fear about what you will find on the other side of that resistance. 

writer writer's picture

"As I noted in my previous post men don't realize the effect that male privlidge has on women ability to openly state issues in mixed company.  Women don't want to be seen as broken or less than so everything is fine with them in the sexuality department because society says that everyone is suppose to love sex."

 

Cute! By the way I'm female, and was sexually assaulted on a regular basis before I could speak. I've written extensively on this board about the trauma of sexual assault. Last year, the last man to attack me (1999) was found dead in a lake. Can't say I was sad.

 

Your sermons get better and better!

Refuge Refuge's picture

writer wrote:
Refuge wrote:
As I noted in my previous post men don't realize the effect that male privlidge has on women ability to openly state issues in mixed company.  Women don't want to be seen as broken or less than so everything is fine with them in the sexuality department because society says that everyone is suppose to love sex.

Cute! By the way I'm female, and was sexually assaulted on a regular basis before I could speak. I've written extensively on this board about the trauma of sexual assault. Last year, the last man to attack me (1999) was found dead in a lake. Can't say I was sad.

Your sermons get better and better!

Well that's good because I did not sense any resistance from you in what I was saying, in fact your statements agree with much of what I am saying in that there needs to be an open space for women to be able to truely make that decisions. 

I was actually talking about Unionists posts asking me what I thought we should do with "all these teens screwing eachother" and that I not impose my conclusions on others when talking about creating a space for teens (which at this point I am assuming he did not get from my post at that time) and asking me about specific ages and then I also compared with other discussions I had with men.

I can only assume that you thought that I was attacking you which is why you keep using the word sermon and inserting words like cute, when in reality I was not.  The only time I refered to your post directly was when I was creating a space for women who don't have a good experience with sex before the age of 13 when you created a space for those that do and then a follow up to expain why I created that space in the context of this discussion.

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:

You support Bill C-22, which criminalized sexual touching between a 14-year-old and a 20-year-old. Both are now guilty of a criminal act. And it maintains the criminality of "non-standard" sexual activity below age 18. You don't have to tell me what your definition of prudery is. Nor your definition of "children".

 

First off, the age of consent should be 16 for all  - whether hetero or homosexual. Secondly - yes a 20 year old going after a 14 year old is a crime in Canada now. Good. That is child sexual abuse and should be prosecuted.

My definition of children (which you put in quotes for some reason - do you disagree with child welfare and child porn law?) is based on the law. I have a social work degree that focussed on child development/child welfare and my career began as a child protection worker.

Unionist

Ghislaine, with respect, your comment that sex between a 20 year old and a 14 year old is "child abuse" and should be criminal confirms not only what I said about the religious right, but about your sad inexperience with the real world. You shouldn't impose your morality on others.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Unionist wrote:

Bill C-22, which criminalized sexual touching between a 14-year-old and a 20-year-old. Both are now guilty of a criminal act.

No, the 20 year old is guilty of a criminal act, the 14 year old is the victim.

"If the age difference is more than five years, the older person will be forced to register as a sex offender."

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:
Ghislaine, with respect, your comment that sex between a 20 year old and a 14 year old is "child abuse" and should be criminal confirms not only what I said about the religious right, but about your sad inexperience with the real world. You shouldn't impose your morality on others.

As Refuge pointed out, only the 20 year old is guilty of a criminal act. I do not have "sad inexperience with the real world". In fact, I have far too much experience with child abuse.  What is the law if not "imposing the morality on others"? There are those who believe that child porn is a-ok. Should we not impose our morality on them? The right of children to be children, as well as the concept of childhood and child welfare laws are fairly recent developments.

I am not religious in any way, so you can stop smearing with this (as an atheist I consider this a smear). I consistently defend the right of adults to prostitute themselves if they wish on this site, so the prude label is inaccurate as well.  I will repeat: Believing in the rights and protection of children is not prudish.

 

Unionist

I can't believe I'm debating with supporters of Harper and Toews' legislation here, so I'll stop. Carry on with your "protection" of children, and god help us.

writer writer's picture

I'm with you, Unionist.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Unionist wrote:
I can't believe I'm debating with supporters of Harper and Toews' legislation here, so I'll stop. Carry on with your "protection" of children, and god help us.

Well you beat me to it.  The moment that this conversation went from discussing disclosure to girls and women to make it okay from them on either side to say yes or no to sex to talking about sex between a 14 year old and a 20 year old it took a turn into territory that I have resistance.  This is one area where I have resistance because of my issues and I refrain from commenting because I can't think without my heart interferring in the process and I won't be able to see clearly what I am saying.

Ghislaine

Thankfully all the major parties agree with me unionist on this issue, so I am comfortable with you stopping the debate. This legislation is in no danger of being overturned.

martin dufresne

Well after suffering Unionist's blatant misinformation about children under 14 being criminals when adults hit on them, the least I can do is post my translation of the Matane project description, which should clarify that a few of you have been slagging an excellent feminist initiative on the strength of the Toronto Star's misrepresentation of it. Just goes to show one is never wary enough of the MSM...

And how are things going in YOUR relationship?

Project Description

 

In recent years, a growing media trend tends to depict girls as sex objects and this at an increasingly young age. For Rimouski's Rape Crisis Centre (Centre d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel), there is no doubt that the early sexualization of girls is a consequence of our society's hypersexualization, and that this hypersexualization is a contributing factor to sexual assaults.1 In 2008, more than 16,000 Quebec women have knocked on the door of a women's centre for reasons related to violence.2

The beginning of adolescence is acknowledged as a period of openness where youths are receptive to the establishment of healthy relationships and to non-violent conflict. A certain number of changes occurring at adolescence - e.g. the apprenticeship of autonomy and the displacement of dependency from parents to peers - make this period especially crucial in learning to establish non-violent relationships.3

As far back as 2001, a survey we organized in Matane among 552 youths aged 14 to 20 determined that 25% of respondents, most of them girls, spoke of violent behaviours in their romantic relationship. In 2009, we must more than ever promote both equalitarian models and behaviours, not only with regard to sexuality but also in perspectives regarding dating relationships between youths.

The project entitled "And how are things going in YOUR relationship?" is an interactive, multi-year (2009-2012) endeavour, that will be developed with female teenagers of the Matane region. For maximum impact, it is important to us to obtain an active interaction and participation of female teenagers, both in the design and rollout of the program.

The educational project "And how are things going in YOUR relationship?" aims to promote equitable, non-violent behaviour in the romantic relationships of adolescents. By putting out information and creating an education tool, the project will ensure support and mentoring to female teenagers, in order to prevent dating violence.

The project's specific objectives are the following:
1. To describe the impact of hypersexualization on self-esteem, to highlight the various forms of violence in romantic relationships and the possibility of non-violent conflict resolution.
2. To create and distribute an education to promote equalitarian and non-violent behaviours in the context of youth romantic relationships.
3. To create a mentoring process.
4. To have female mentors act as community outreach workers, using the project's education tool in the various communities of the Matane region.

Footnotes:
1 Regional Forum on Hypersexualization, Rimouski, May 16-17, 2007
2 l'Intersyndicale des femmes - January 2009
3 Wolfe, Wekerle & Scott, 1997

Partnering with the Matane Youth Centre, La Lucarne
To achieve this project that mainly focuses on young girls, we decided to work cooperatively with La Lucarne, Matane's youth drop-in centre. Thus, the youth outreach worker will share her working hours between the Regroupement des femmes and La Lucarne. Similarly, youths will have activities both at the Women's Centre and at the Youth Centre.

Active participation of youths
To maximize impact, we find it paramount to For maximum impact, it is important to us to obtain an active interaction and participation of female teenagers, both in the design and rollout of the program. This is why we have chosen to create education tools and to organize a mentoring process rather than organize workshops. We know that the information will be conveyed much better if it is transmitted by youths themselves, especially during teenage years.

During the first year, teenagers will create and distribute an information brochure on the link between hypersexualization and violence in dating relationships (in the form of a quiz + info). On the second year, young women will create an information tool (video, comic book, play...) and outreach with it among youths. During the third year, female teenagers will be trained to become mentors and thus equip their peers with tools in their living environment. Young males will also be able to participate in this project, especially at the Youth Centre.

Cooperation with our partners
Of course, this project involves a knowledge transfer component. The tools created will be distributed among our partners:
Locally: Committee on hypersexualization, community organizations and school environments.
Regionally: Regional coalition table on violence, Regional tables of Lower St-Laurent women's centres and women's organizations.
Nationally : L'R des centres de femmes du Québec, Status of Women Canada.

For information, please contact :
Lucie Watts, 418-562-6443
Youth outreach worker in charge of the project

 

Snert Snert's picture

With the advent of cheap digital cameras and cameras built into cellphones, lots of folk are experimenting with taking pics of themselves having sex (since there's no longer any need to bring rolls of film to the pharmacy for development, nor the high cost of polaroid film).

So is it safe to assume that if a 14 year old is capable of consenting to (or even initiating) sex, they should also be permitted to photograph themself doing it?  Two 20 year olds can, right? 

writer writer's picture

Oh! And thanks for the translation. Very much appreciated. I'll get back to it when I have some time!

writer writer's picture

Martin, interesting that you'd blame the Star, rather than the government. With very little comment, the Star ran a press release from Status of Women. Can you not see how the language used, and its meaning in English-speaking Canada, should be of concern?

remind remind's picture

Thanks martin for the translation.

remind remind's picture
Tommy_Paine

 

I think this project is "right wing" and falls in line with the capital "C" conservatives because while it does tackle important things that must be done, it makes no effort to combat or even gainsay those who are openly engaging in the hypersexualization of children.

It seems to me this is where the left or progressives or whatever label one prefers has truly lost it's way in the last generation:  all the onus is on victims or potential victims of, in this case, assault, to deffend themselves within the continuing and unchallenged atmosphere that creates, exploits and or exacerbates the problem.

So, a few government dollars set against the kabillions spent by advertisers and production companies. 

How would have the money flowed if an aspect of this program targeted advertisers on TLC's "Todler's and Tiaras", or provided an critique of Much Music's view of sexuality promoted by Tia Tequilla?

This reminds me of the Green Party version of environmental responsibility:  Ignore the criminal dumping of toxins into the St. Clair River by corporations, and instead make ordinary people pay extra for plastic grocery bags.

Jesus Christ in a Hand Cart.

 

Unionist

Thanks for some note of progressive realism, Tommy, but you're wasting your words here.

 

martin dufresne

it makes no effort to combat or even gainsay those who are openly engaging in the hypersexualization of children...

Yes, it does. Hypersexualization is understood as a social process and this education tool will articulate how and whence it plays out.

all the onus is on victims or potential victims of, in this case, assault, to deffend themselves

How can you say this when project participants will be going out and confronting the causes and the effects of this process, as subjects?
continuing and unchallenged atmosphere
Challenging and stopping this atmosphere it is exacty what the project will be doing.
So, a few government dollars set against the kabillions spent by advertisers and production companies.
And the kabillion words put out by defenders of the system and critics of SWC. Of course, it isn't enough but is it a reason to slag the women trying and the funds they have finally obtained to do so?
How would have the money flowed if an aspect of this program targeted advertisers on TLC's "Todler's and Tiaras", or provided an critique of Much Music's view of sexuality promoted by Tia Tequilla?
Where do you get that the program won't do this once kids start determining the sources and vehicles of attempts at hypersexualizing them? Indeed, the Rimouski women have long been at the forefront of in-your-face action against sexist advertising in Quebec. There lie the roots of this project.
I am really stunned at the arrogance shown by Anglo-Canadian males here to such a worthy project by front-line Quebec anti-VAW activists. Maybe you need to protect the intellectual comfort of thinking that the feds cannot be pressured to do anything right, even once in a blue moon. I sure hope those armchairs are comfortable...Tongue out

martin dufresne

Here is a response from a dedicated Quebec feminist to the announcement of this project's funding. Relayed with her permission:

 

Quel beau projet! J'espère qu'il servira de source d'inspiration pour d'autres projets du genre à travers le Québec et le Canada! De toute évidence, il n'y a pas grand chose à attendre du système scolaire alors la communauté est aussi bien de prendre le relais! N'hésitons pas à faire circuler l'information et à sensibiliser les groupes, organismes et établissements que ça pourrait intéresser (écoles, maison de jeunes, centres communautaires, etc). Il est important d'impliquer les jeunes des deux sexes car les garçons comme les filles ont tout à gagner d'une culture égalitaire!

Il nous faut aussi lutter pour convaincre les médias de parler plus souvent d'hypersexualisation et leur faire réaliser que le problème ne concerne pas que l'image de la femme dans les médias. Lorsqu'on aborde le sujet, celui-ci est trop souvent réduit à une question de centimètres de peau nue. On parle trop peu de sujets pouvant être reliés à l'hypersexualisation comme les comportements sexuels à risque, la violence dans les relations "amoureuses", les pressions sociales que vivent les filles pour toujours être en couple, les troubles alimentaires, la dépression, etc.

Stéphanie

 

Tommy_Paine

 

I'm an old lefty who wears his hair too long, and my trouser cuffs too tight,  Unionist. 

It's not my intention to totally take a crap on this whole program, or any other "progressive" initiative.  However, like the good boys and girls we've all become on the left, it really does nothing to challenge actual power.

We've become a fire department in a society that has legalized arson.

 

martin dufresne

Debra on Bread & Roses was gracious enough to translate Stephanie's comment:

What a great project! I hope it will serve as inspiration for other projects of its kind in Quebec and Canada! Obviously, there is not much to expect the school system when the community is as well to take over! Do not hesitate to share information and educate groups, organizations and institutions that it would be of interest (schools, youth centers, community centers, etc). It is important to involve young women and men as boys and girls have everything to gain from an egalitarian culture!

We must also struggle to convince the media to talk more often about hypersexualization and make them realize that the problem is not that the image of women in the media. When addressing the topic, it is too often reduced to a matter of centimeters of bare skin. We talk too little of subjects that may be related to hypersexualization such as risky sexual behaviors, relationship violence "in love", the social pressures experienced by girls to always be a couple, eating disorders, depression, etc.

Unionist

Quote:
I am really stunned at the arrogance shown by Anglo-Canadian males here to such a worthy project by front-line Quebec anti-VAW activists. Maybe you need to protect the intellectual comfort of thinking that the feds cannot be pressured to do anything right, even once in a blue moon. I sure hope those armchairs are comfortable...

See, Tommy? Either stay out, or practise name-calling one-upmanship. It's a tough choice.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

People here are well tuned to ad hominem attacks, and how they reflect on the poster.  You have to ignore that stuff, Unionist, and dwell on the ideas.

 

And remember we are all allies here.  I don't understand what it is about leftish message boards where the ten percent of dissagreement between very like minded people warrants the kind of vitriole we should reserve for the likes of the far right, but there you have it.

Ignore it, move on.

 

 

 

martin dufresne

To call arrogance is an ad hominem attack???

Boze

The ageism is striking.

"We must protect the children!!"  LOL

martin dufresne

I don't like your fashion business mister
And I don't like these drugs that keep you thin
I don't like what happened to my sister
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

Ghislaine

Boze wrote:

The ageism is striking.

"We must protect the children!!"  LOL

You don't think that children require special legislative protection - different from that of adults? 19th century industrial capitalists adore that view.

Boze

You're talking about situations where children were forced into unsafe jobs?  I think everyone deserves protection from that.  I also know that people under the age of consent can and do consent to sex.

Unionist

I've read the project description en français, and I must say I wholeheartedly agree with Martin's assessment. I apologize fully for any perception that I may have been attacking the underpinnings of this project (which I didn't intend nor do I think I did).

As for the issue of stopping young people from engaging in sex, I repeat my views tenfold. I can't believe progressive people would take this up as a cause. Whether practised by atheists or God-fearers, it is part of the neo-con attack on youth and should be condemned. Our young people are the finest generation I've seen, and they don't need any prudish nun-types telling them that sex is bad for them. It's not. What is bad is women of any age subordinating themselves to the needs and pleasure of men. That's got little to do with what age you start making love.

 

martin dufresne

Thanks Unionist. I am sorry myself that I lumped you with Anglo Canadians: you deserved better.

Your distinction about whether young girls have sex of their own volition or are coerced into it by a sexualizing environment is well-taken - but not always easy to ascertain. And feminists have made the point, accurately I think, that when this happens before girls have found enough self-esteem to resist social/peer/male pressure, their agency is questionable. Hence the need to confront that pressuring environment where it is most egregious,as I think you'll agree the Matane women plan to do by empowering girls. i

IF the Toronto Star and the people who have bought its line do not shame SWC away from funding them.

 

jas

Boundaries first. For those having trouble drawing an "arbitrary" line: 9 years old is too young. 11 years old is too young. And in my opinion, 13 years old is too young, in our current cultural milieu, for serious or consequential sex.

Yes, children experiment sexually at all different ages --- with each other.   Not with older folks. Unless they've been coerced. And even some of the same-age, same-sex experimentation is often coercion.

And yes, a 20 year old and a 14 year old is, in our current cultural milieu, pretty fucking creepy. Do you see 20-year-old women with 14-year-old boys? No. Why? Because 20-year-old women, for very good reasons, don't like 14-year-old boys! They don't have anything in common with them! Why should it be any more acceptable the other way around? Because men don't "mature" as quickly as women? Grow up.

I don't think girls choose to do penetration at very young ages, either. They don't like it. They don't have the hormones. They don't have the natural lubricants. Children also don't naturally find themselves wanting to give blowjobs or cunnilingus. They don't get sexual pleasure at that age by giving someone else pleasure. Learning to give, sexually, takes some maturity and experience and should not be put on children as some kind of "natural" activity for them. That's something you learn as you get older and you're in a sexual relationship with someone you care about, if it hasn't been forced on you prior to that. Anyone who thinks that a child is choosing to do that because they "like it" is, imo, making excuses for some personal inability to draw the line.

In our current cultural milieu, with our collective immaturity around sex and sexuality, the best thing to do for our children is to teach them that sex is healthy, experimentation (to a degree) is normal, but boundaries are important, and some activities are not to be expected at their age.

martin dufresne

Well put, I totally agree.

Unionist

jas wrote:
In our current cultural milieu, with our collective immaturity around sex and sexuality, the best thing to do for our children is to teach them that sex is healthy, experimentation (to a degree) is normal, but boundaries are important, and some activities are not to be expected at their age.

Well, I don't know whether I agree or not, because I don't understand what you said there. For example, what do I tell my 14-year-old about giving or receiving blowjobs? And my 15-year-old about "penetration"?

 

 

jas

I'm guessing you have your own answer to that, Unionist.

 

Unionist

jas wrote:

I'm guessing you have your own answer to that, Unionist.

 

No, you just got through saying that "the best thing to do for our children is to teach them that sex is healthy, experimentation (to a degree) is normal, but boundaries are important, and some activities are not to be expected at their age." I made no such claim, and frankly I'm bewildered at the notion that our children at that age are waiting to be "taught" anything by "us" about sexual behaviour. So I was genuinely curious as to what you meant by "children" and what you are proposing we should teach them. But if all you meant was a general statement, that's fine, I'll have to be content with not knowing what you're talking about.

 

Infosaturated

Unionist wrote:

jas wrote:
In our current cultural milieu, with our collective immaturity around sex and sexuality, the best thing to do for our children is to teach them that sex is healthy, experimentation (to a degree) is normal, but boundaries are important, and some activities are not to be expected at their age.

Well, I don't know whether I agree or not, because I don't understand what you said there. For example, what do I tell my 14-year-old about giving or receiving blowjobs? And my 15-year-old about "penetration"?

By the time my daughter was 7 or 8 she was aware of various sexual practices because I always answered her questions as they came up to whatever degree she wanted answers.  As she aged I never felt any need to discuss particular sexual acts on an individual basis although I did discuss the pressures to engage in sexual activity she might experience.  We talked about the various possible outcomes to sexual activity both physical and emotional as well as the right and wrong reasons to participate in sexual activity regardless of the degree.  That is, it's just as wrong to kiss someone because you feel pressured into it as it is to have sex with someone because you feel pressured into it.  We discussed the various lines used in order to exert that pressure and what the actual statistics are concerning sexual activity versus the impression given by the media that "everyone" is doing it.

One thing I explained is that it was normal for her to want to dress attractively but that it would be interpreted as sexy by some people who would interpret it as meaning she was ready for or wanted sex.  I could help her but that ultimately she would have to find the balance she was comfortable with.

In terms of what activity is appropriate at what age we can't draw a hard and fast line for that anymore than we can for driving.  We have to choose an arbitrary age based on what we believe is reasonably fair.  That means some people will get a drivers licence too young and others will have to wait longer than they should given their level of maturity. 

I'm a big fan of "Romeo and Juliet" clauses.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Thankyou, jas, and Infosaturated.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Wilf Day wrote:
 "the early sexualization of girls is a consequence of the hypersexualization of our society, and that hypersexualization is a factor contributing to sexual assault"

The first part of your sentence is a commonly understood truth, and is a relatively benign truth to admit to, even for conservatives. It is a basic premise that rape crisis centres and women's shelters begin from.

It's the second part, after the comma, that is a problematic connection, and in this case I will say a wrong connection, and one that appears to explicitly blame women for violence done to them. I guess it's associated with social conservatives for that reason.

Factors that contribute to sexual assault are all on the assaulter's side of the table, since it's the assaulter, after all, who is doing the assaulting.

Wilf Day

writer wrote:
I'm very interested in an exploration of how the Conservatives framed this particular release, especially if there is a wide gap between what the release says about this program and what the mandate is according to the agency itself.

Unfortunately, my French isn't good enough to lead such an exploration. As stated in English by the government release, this is a terrible taste of Handmaid's Tale.

The project's organizers give credit to several levels of partners:

Quote:
Collaboration avec nos partenaires

Ce projet comporte bien sûr un aspect de transfert des connaissances. Les outils seront diffusés auprès de nos partenaires :

Locaux : Comité hypersexualisation, TOC et milieu scolaire.

Régionaux : Table régionale en violence, Table régionale des centres de femmes du BSL, Table de concertation des groupes de femmes du BSL.

National : L’R des centres de femmes du Québec, Condition féminine Canada.

(In passing, note that "national" means both Quebec and Canada to someone in Matane. But I am ignorant of the meaning of TOC here; I doubt it means "Trouble obsessionnel-compulsif." Is it "Table des organizations communitaires?")

Quote:
Pour le Centre d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (CALACS) de Rimouski, il n’y a pas de doute que la sexualisation précoce des filles est une conséquence de l’hypersexualisation de notre société et que cette hypersexualisation est un facteur contribuant aux agressions sexuelles. En 2008 plus de 16 000 femmes ont frappé à la porte d’un Centre de femmes pour cause de violence.

Note that the first sentence above is attributed to "Forum régional sur l’hypersexualisation des 16 et 17 mai 2007 à Rimouski." Could someone tell us whether the conclusion "the early sexualization of girls is a consequence of the hypersexualization of our society, and that hypersexualization is a factor contributing to sexual assault" is a social conservative view, or one shared by rape crisis centres in the rest of Canada? Their goals seem to me to be the usual ones of any local women's group, but perhaps I'm missing something. 

martin dufresne

If hypersexualization is understood as an active social process - as the Matane women make clear it is - and not one of that process's results - hypersexuality, i.e. girls dressing sexy or acting out -, then wouldn't yoiu say say that this factor is unequivocallly on the system's side of the table, not women's?

To use an unperfect and limited analogy, would you agree, for instance, that the racializing of people contributes to racist assaults against them, and that it is not to blame victims to point to their racialization as a contributing factor to their abuse, beside the abuser's agency?

 

Refuge Refuge's picture

I agree with Martin.  To say that the assault is the girls fault because she dresses sexy is one thing but to say that hypersexualization contributes to girls dressing sexy (which would be addressed on the female side throught enducation and hypersexualization also contributes to sexual assaults - because boys objectify women (which would be addressed on the male side through education) is what I see them as saying.

Remember boys and girls are both participating in this so the girls look at how it affects them (and other girls ) and their attitudes and the possible consequences (ie wanting to dress sexy because they want to or wanting to dress sexy because society wants them to) and boys look at it and see how it affects them (and other boys) and their attitudes and the possible consequences (ie objectifing women and how some men can get to the point where they no longer see women as people but just sex objects or numbers on a score card).

Unionist

So Martin and Refuge both agree that hypersexualization contributes to girls dressing sexy which contributes to sexual assault - but it's society's fault, not the girl's fault, so it's ok to say that. Have I got that right?

martin dufresne wrote:
To use an unperfect and limited analogy, would you agree, for instance, that the racializing of people contributes to racist assaults against them, and that it is not to blame victims to point to their racialization as a contributing factor to their abuse, beside the abuser's agency?

I agree that the analogy is imperfect and limited, because girls can supposedly dress differently, but race and racialization are not that easy to modify. Hence, in the case of girls, the question gets raised as to whether and how to teach/preach/blame regarding dress styles. It doesn't arise with race.

 

writer writer's picture

martin: Thanks Unionist. I am sorry myself that I lumped you with Anglo Canadians: you deserved better.

 

Well, I could be very rude here, but won't. My criticism is with the language of the Status of Women, as it appears to be in keeping with the Conservative government's subversion of something that was created in the name of equality.

 

Not once have I made claim to know what the project itself was about. But I can smell what the government is doing with this media release from many kilometres away. Thus "Status of Chattel" and no swipe at the Quebec effort.

 

Please, martin, stop with the kneejerk smear. It really isn't constructive.

writer writer's picture

Dave Chapelle on how women dress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OBPaenkxdg

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