Gender Violence is Policy of the State

By: Ilka Oliva Corado

Translated  by Katrina Hassan

In societies with neoliberal governments, gender violence, mass poverty and exploitation are all policy of the State. Before the armed forces we have religion that manipulates the excluded ones with emotions and women get double the dose for their gender. In the name of faith, with protection from misogynistic religions, many men exert gender violence to such degree that they lead to feminicides. This is not new, it is not sliced bread. In an absent State, infested in corruption, where machismo propagates, misogyny, homophobia and the patriarchy are systematic, the State is the one responsible for gender violence in all its context.

Without laws that punish those who are violent against women in all their forms, gender violence will continue. The principal criminal is the State. The State’s policies deny abortion rights, and in the most exploited sectors they plan poverty meticulously. They deny access to education to the most vulnerable girls. They force them to give birth, manipulating the population saying that abortion is going to be punished by God because it is murder. Abortion is a right that is denied in repressive States where mainly macho men are governing. They use the denial of abortion as a punishing tool against women and gender. If the governor’s daughters ever end up pregnant they send them to the best private clinics in the country or abroad to have abortions. The same goes for the oligarchs.

Girls without access to education, healthy food, and healthcare live in homes that don’t have the minimum safety requirements. They live in systematically violent surroundings that are orchestrated by the State. These girls will never have a healthy upbringing. They will never be accomplished women, not personally or professionally. Most likely they will be adolescent mothers because of sexual abuse. She might be victim to a romance based on patriarchy or be forced to marry. All this, anything but become a happy accomplished person. No woman can be happy in these conditions.

How can a girl be happy when her mom works 16 hours a day in a factory? They might be cleaning factories, buildings, hospitals, or burning away their lives cultivating fields. A mother who will leave at dawn and come home late into the night, has no time to share with her kids. There is no time to watch them grow up, no time for hugs or time to have fun with them. If the mother herself didn’t have time with her mother, this is thanks to the chain of systematic abuse provided courtesy of the State.

Attitudes and actions surrounding abuse against women are in the thousands. There needn’t be blows for abuse to count as abuse. Emotional abuse is just as harmful. In our societies, State sponsored violence post dictatorships has made men abuse teens, women and children in the family environment because they know that shame is a good ally. As long as people outside their house don’t know what is going on, they can do whatever they want inside it. The pastor or the priest is still giving advice of forgiveness, recommends silence and maintains the family united even when these crimes should be punishable by jail. If the crimes are against a woman, they should be forgiven by God.

This is why there is an ostentatious increase in sexual abuse in girls by their fathers, grandfathers, brothers, and cousins. Teen pregnancies are regularly because girls are abused in their own home. The men know that their is no law to punish their crimes. State policies include repression and violence towards the population, poverty, and labor exploitation. If people are tired from excessive work or are hungry, there is less time and energy used for thinking. Without education they don’t know their rights. This is done on purpose. This benefits the corrupt, criminal government. To have unhappy teen mothers instead of teens on their way to a higher education or professional careers is convenient because the latter will not question poverty. Poverty obligates them to go and find food for their kids at all hours. If they develop professionally, the same teens have access to a better life and will therefore demand their rights. They will question the policies of the State. If the newly educated youth strive for it, they can change that same system.

We have arrived at a society without boundaries. The State has also stepped all over them. This is why feminicides do not cause us any reaction. No shock or indignation because there is no longer shock anymore at anything. No one is shocked when there are airplanes landing with tons of drugs they’re getting burned afterwards without anyone ever finding the culprits. We have stopped being shocked that the police or army are the ones taking care of the drug shipments. There is no shock that the same police and military are the ones raping women without punishment. Then the regular civilian says to himself “If the uniformed men rape, why can’t I do that to any woman around me? In my family environment or anywhere else.” The president himself sees that women are killed and never denounces this. He doesn’t care. Everyone knows that you can violate a woman and there will be no consequences.

The State criminally denies food, health and education to girls. It is also a crime to look the other way when girls are violated just for the fact that they are female. They are beaten, raped, impregnated, disappeared and murdered. The same goes the for women and teenagers. If the State does nothing, that same government should be changed by society. The people are the ones that should react and elect into power someone who understands that the policy of systematic violence against women must change. What society is willing to do this? Women, on the majority, are the most vocal about gender violence. Men belonging to whichever ideology they choose always benefit from the inexistent laws that punish such crimes and aberrations.

It will be up to women to change the policies feeding into gender violence systematically provided by the State. So be it.


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American university students are coddled, thin-skinned snowflakes, and social media is to blame

By: Robert Bridge

The explosion of ‘cancel culture’ and the social justice mindset on college campuses across the US was inspired by social media, where the idea of creating digital ‘safe spaces’ without ‘trolls’ has invaded the real world.

For those born around 1995, this column will likely be filed away under the heading: ‘Aging Generation X-er with No Clue Rails against Evils of Social Media.’ And I suppose there may be some truth to that claim. After all, the greater part of my life – like that of many other people – was spent without access to handheld technologies and the endless apps, add-ons and what-nots. The reason is not because I lived on an island, or was born among the Amish, but because such technologies were not around in my time. In other words, the youth of Generation X was more defined by Alexander Graham Bell than Steve Jobs.

Today, the ‘reality’ for those born after 1995 – the so-called ‘Generation Z’ – is radically different from those born just a decade earlier, since they have had an intimate relationship with the Internet practically since birth. It would be naïve to think this age demographic – many of whom were nurtured on social media – would reach adulthood with the same set of attitudes, values, and worldview as their predecessors. What’s shocking is just how different they really are.

Starting in 2014, just as Generation Z was entering college, a strange new phenomenon began surfacing on campuses across the country. Students, who are traditionally the staunchest defenders of free thought and the least likely to be prudes, began tossing around vague concepts carried over from the internet, such as ‘safe spaces,’ ‘microaggressions,’ and ‘getting triggered.’

A 2014 article in The New Republic shed an early light on this encroaching mentality: “What began as a way of moderating internet forums for the vulnerable and mentally ill now threatens to define public discussion both online and off,”wrote Jenny Jarvie. “The trigger … signals not only the growing precautionary approach to words and ideas in the university, but a wider cultural hypersensitivity to harm and paranoia about giving offense.”

But instead of adjusting their sails for the approaching tsunami of tears, universities broke with a thousand-year-old academic tradition, allowing the feelings and emotions of misguided adolescents to supersede the wisdom and reasoning of the educators. In fact, the world of academia not only failed to stop the flood, but, due to its own extreme liberal bent, helped to aggravate the strife by blaming the perceived ills of the world on some select bogeymen. More often than not these were dead white guys, members of a clan known as ‘the patriarchy’ that thrives today on its so-called ‘white privilege.’ Thus, college campuses are now riddled with angst and activism to the point that even the rules of English grammar and mathematics have become suspect.

Perhaps the greatest casualty from this radical makeover, however, is the trust that had been cultivated over the centuries between student and teacher. Professors today are hypersensitive to the grim fact that they may lose their job for doing or saying something ‘offensive’ that violates the rules of politically correctness. At the same time, many colleges are now extremely hesitant about inviting controversial speakers to their campus for fear of ‘triggering’ their students and inciting protests.

The intellectual bubble that now encapsulates the college campus mirrors the reality on social media, where users have a strong tendency to mingle with only those individuals who share their worldview. Whenever some annoying outsider with a different opinion attempts to ‘troll’ them, canceling that person and their alternative views is as easy as ‘unfriending’ them. Meanwhile, there is a certain status and feeling of moral superiority that comes from ‘canceling’ some heretic that has fallen afoul of political correctness.

In the 2018 book ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’, Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, argue that the digital constructs of ‘safe spaces’ have done far more harm than good.

“Social media has channeled partisan passions into the creation of a “callout culture,” Lukianoff and Haidt argue. “New-media platforms and outlets allow citizens to retreat into self-confirmatory bubbles, where their worst fears about the evils of the other side can be … amplified by extremists and cyber trolls intent on sowing discord and division.”

According to Lukianoff and Haidt, Generation Z’s fierce aversion to controversial and even shocking information means that college campuses have become “more ideologically uniform,” thereby hindering the ability of “scholars to seek truth, and of students to learn from a broad range of thinkers” as historically has been the case at university.

The problem with allowing cancel culture to take root on social media and the university in the first place is that American society is now confronted with a mammoth weed on its front lawn. And while most people agree it is a problem, at the very least an eyesore, those who propose solutions risk being canceled themselves.

Last month, for example, 150 public figures, including Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie and JK Rowling attracted anger and ridicule after they signed a letter that called out ‘cancel culture.’ In part, the letter warned that the “restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation.”

Not only were these left-leaning signatories extremely late to the game, they themselves have been accused of attempting to silence voices, mostly conservative ones, they did not agree with. Others, like Jennifer Finney Boylan, actually apologized to the mob for endorsing the milquetoast proposals put forward in the letter.

The tragic irony is that Western civilization, which was constructed on the free flow of ideas, is no longer capable of even pointing out problems without attracting scorn and derision. Such a repressive atmosphere, endorsed by ideologues that listen only to the voices inside their own heads, is severely threatening future progress. If this dangerous new tendency is not confronted head on and brought under control, it will be Western civilization itself that eventually finds itself ‘canceled’ due to its inability to evolve.

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Slavoj Zizek: Can Covid-19 remind us that SEX is an important channel for sprituality?

By: Slavoj Zizek

The Covid-19 epidemic will certainly give a boost to digital sexual games, but hopefully it will also lead to a new appreciation of physical intimacy and we will remember that sex between two people is a medium for spirituality.

The Irish Health Service Executive has issued guidelines about practicing sex in the time of coronavirus, and the two key recommendations are:

Taking a break from physical and face-to face interactions is worth considering, especially if you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex. Consider using video dates, sexting or chat rooms. Make sure to disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others.

“Masturbation will not spread coronavirus, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.”

Reasonable common sense advice for a time of epidemics spread by bodily contact – but one should note that these recommendations just conclude the process which was already going on with the progressive digitalization of our lives: statistics show that today’s adolescents spend much less time exploring their sexuality than surfing the web.

Even if they engage in sex, is doing it in a virtual space (with hardcore pornography) not much easier and more instantly gratifying?

For this reason, the new American TV series Euphoria (described by HBO as “following a group of high school students as they navigate drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship”) with its portrayal of the dissolute life of today’s high school population is almost the opposite of present-day reality. It is out of touch with today’s youth and, for this reason, weirdly anachronistic – more an exercise in middle-age nostalgia for how depraved the young generations once were.

But we should go even a step further here: what if there never was an entirely “real” sex void of any virtual or fantasized supplement? The usual definition of masturbation is “doing it to yourself while imagining partners,” but what if real sex is always – up to a point – masturbation with a real partner? What do I mean by this? In a comment for the Guardian, Eva Wiseman refers to a moment in ‘The Butterfly Effect’, Jon Ronson’s podcast series about the aftershocks of internet porn. “On the set of a porn film an actor lost his erection mid-scene – to coax it back, he turned away from the woman, naked below him, grabbed his phone and searched Pornhub. Which struck me as vaguely apocalyptic.” She concludes: “Something is rotten in the state of sex.”

I agree, but I would add this lesson of psychoanalysis: something is constitutively rotten in the state of sex, human sexuality is in itself perverted, exposed to sadomasochist reversals and, specifically, to the mixture of reality and fantasy. Even when I am alone with my partner, my sexual interaction with him/her is inextricably intertwined with my fantasies, i.e., every sexual interaction is potentially structured like “masturbation with a real partner” – I use the flesh and body of my partner as a prop to realize/enact my fantasies.

We cannot reduce this gap between the bodily reality of a partner and the universe of fantasies to a distortion opened up by patriarchy and social domination or exploitation – the gap is here from the very beginning. So I quite understand the actor who, in order to regain his erection, searched Pornhub – he was looking for a fantasmatic support of his performance. It is for this same reason that, as part of sexual intercourse, one partner asks the other to go on talking, usually narrating something “dirty” – even when you hold in your hands the “thing itself” (the beloved partner’s naked body), this presence has to be supplemented by verbal fantasizing…

This worked for the actor because he was obviously not in a personal love relationship with the actress – her body was more a living sexbot for him. If he were to be passionately in love with his partner, her body would have mattered to him since every gesture of touching her would disturb the core of her subjectivity. When one makes love with someone one truly loves, touching the partner’s body is crucial. One should therefore turn around the common wisdom according to which sexual lust is bodily while love is spiritual: sexual love is more bodily than sex without love.

Will, then, the ongoing epidemics limit sexuality and promulgate love, a distant admiration of the beloved who remains out of touch? The epidemics will definitely give a boost to digital sexual games without bodily contact. Hopefully, however, a new appreciation of sexual intimacy will arise out of the epidemics, and we will learn again the lesson of Andrei Tarkovsky for whom earth, its inert, humid stuff, is not opposed to spirituality but its very medium. In Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Mirror, his father Arseny Tarkovsky recites his own lines: “A soul is sinful without a body, like a body without clothes.” Masturbation in front of hard-core porn images is sinful while bodily contact is a path to spirituality.

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