Category Archives: sex

In Brief: Tulisa

A celebrity sex-tape turning up online isn’t generally an unusual or surprising event these days.

The case of Tulisa Contostavlos, singer with N-Dubz and one of the judges on The X Factor, differs from the norm in two ways.

One is the level of class hatred that followed the revelation:

The word “chav” would not go away. This derogatory term of abuse, loaded with class prejudice, was ubiquitous in tweets on the subject. Certainly, tweeters were using it as a self contained insult: “Tulisa makes my blood boil. Fucking chav”. In fact, the words “slut” and “chav” were used pretty much interchangeably.

Tweet after tweet focused obsessively on Tulisa’s working class background: her “chavvery”. Many expressed a lack of surprise at the tape, because they “always knew she was a chav, was just a matter of time really before she made one”. One, fairly representative, tweet read “Oh Tulisa, living up to the chav image we all expected of you”. The implications here are fairly unsettling: sexuality and class are seemingly still being conflated in a way that would be more at home in Victorian or Edwardian times. The concept of a dangerously immoral and highly sexed lower class is apparently still relevant.

The fact that the Tweeters had to comfort themselves by believing that Tulisa had been pretending to be something she’s not is extremely odd and betrays the fact that vast sections of our society literally still can’t imagine a woman who no only doesn’t aspire to be perceived as middle class and sexually pure, but who is successful and popular at the same time. Where this sickening vitriol comes from, I have no idea. But it seems we still have a long way to go before sexual license and social mobility are no longer dirty words.

The other is the level of humanity, dignity, and level-headedness in her response to all the fuss.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Gay Pride compared to KKK

Today’s post on Cubik’s Rube was about the recent comments by Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, in which he expressed concern that the Gay Pride Parade in that city might “morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan”.

There’ll be a more prominent article on this site about gay rights in due course. More pertinent at the moment is this quote, part of a statement in support of the cardinal that was offered by the Illinois Family Institute:

The salient question for conservatives is, “Does the analogy work?” … Whether it offends the sensibilities of those who choose to make their unchosen homosexual attractions central to their identity is irrelevant.

The explicit declaration of this organisation is that whether what they say offends or hurts gay people, or adds to the general atmosphere of their oppression, doesn’t matter in the slightest when they choose their words. They’ve neatly blinkered themselves to the feelings of this bloc of fellow human beings, so that they get to denounce anyone who commits “indecent, degrading, undignified” acts, without having to feel a shred of empathy toward the people they’re demeaning.

Even leaving aside the question of the morals of homosexual behaviour, this method of treating people is unkind, and not conducive to achieving any humane goals. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is a phrase commonly heard from some Christians, but if it’s a homily the Illinois Family Institute are trying to abide by, they don’t seem to be having much success with the first part.

Tagged , , ,

Israeli extremists harass children

Here’s a saddening example to start us off: An eight-year-old girl is among those being mocked and assaulted by religious extremists in Israel.

She is being treated as less than human, and undeserving of decency and dignity, and this is wrong.

Naama herself is Jewish, and goes to a religious school, but she is not part of the ultra-Orthodox community. These Haredi Jews hold to the strictest, most conservative interpretation of Jewish law, and object to Naama’s “immodest” form of dress – which includes “long sleeves and a skirt”.

Regardless of the nature of their objection to what seems (to me) entirely reasonable behaviour and unremarkable attire, these extremists’ methods of expressing themselves include calling an eight-year-old child a whore, spitting on her, and throwing rocks at journalists who come to report on the case.

The othering techniques being used by the religious extremists in this case are clear. The children attending this school are probably not even making their own decisions about how to dress; expecting them to already adhere to your own set of principles is unreasonable, and abusing them for this difference is unconscionably cruel. But they’re part of an out-group, and so these zealots have conveniently labelled them all in their minds as undeserving of decent, humane treatment. Because they’re of a different religion, it’s easy to dismiss their autonomy, and rationalise any suffering laid upon them as merited.

Unsurprisingly, this rationalisation is easily extended to anyone connected to these young people, regardless of their motivations or diversity of views. Children, parents, journalists: they’re all the enemy, a big homogeneous mass of other.

Looking in the other direction, I disagree with the Israeli cabinet minister who described the religious extremists in question as “psychopaths“. I suspect (from an admittedly uninformed standpoint) that it’s unlikely that most of them possess that particular personality disorder. They’re human beings too, who’ve arrived at what seems to us a bizarre set of priorities, and who have successfully dehumanised these children in their minds to an extent that enables them to commit extreme cruelty, while distancing themselves from any feelings of guilt. This, sadly, is all too natural a set of human behaviours, and by no means requires any abnormal mental health condition.

Nobody in this story is a monster. There are no “others”. They’re all just people.

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: