Now listening to : Otis Redding, "Remember Me"
Especially : Track 22, 'Stay in School'
I've also been listening to Spoon's "Ga (five times)", and am thrilled beyond an organ sensitive enough to record/transmit the vibrations that a) it has arrived and b) there's a song with my name in it. I think. There's drawl involved, and I've got all kinds of yankee ear, so it may not be 'Jenny' at all. Junie. Or Gin. But it's all in the hearing, and I hear myself called.
I'm listening to the Big O at the moment, though, because I need somebody telling me to hang in there or I'm just going to bitch the Greek review session tomorrow and sleep in.
I have new books by Bakhtin, Bataille, Lang (! Adorable.), Zizek, and Smith (Johnathan Z.) to get into, but probably won't for awhile. If anyone would like to tell me which to read first, I'm open. Actually, I have started the Lang, because it's not dense at all and makes good bedtime reading. Though I should just be reading, ahem, pertinent things. Like Roper or Ginzburg on witch trials. Or anybody 'tall on Curran and the two-headed drama of American catholicism.
I've also been reading recently about that tortureporn film 'captivity.' I've come across quite a few critiques of the pointless yet horrifying sexualization of violence (Violation of sexuality? Which, here, has/is an Essence?). Joss Whedon on his website, pajiba.com. Others. The speakers are largely incensed, full-stop, but there are other viewpoints engaged as well.
The war that happens in the comments section tends to involve the debatable point that violence against women is somehow a Worser Evil than violence ungendered. And then there's the sometimes-included argument that religion is responsible, ultimately, for that violence. Mostly people use Islam for present-day cases, and Christianity for the 'historical' perspective.
It seems reasonable to believe that the majority of crime victims are male (I don't care quite enough to find some quotable, legitimate sources). Most of the crimes I know about personally had male victims, and most violent death statistics I hear are weighed down by the category of young men. So if the argument for allocating 'violence against women' a special place is going to be persuasive, it can't be dependent on sheer numbers. And it can't trivialize the violence against men. Against soldiers, for example, which is still a largely masculine category.
The issue with gendered violence is that, in simplified semiotics, it is female to suffer violence and male to enact it. That's a culturally created association, but its not ex nihilo. That is, it's not unrelated to the real conditions of an existence where females do trend weaker and more conciliatory (whether that's biological, spiritual or socialized). This can mean both that women expect/accept more violence than is strictly necessary, and that men feel compelled to make use of it, which can a) put them in more dangerous situations and b) desensitize the culture at large to their ensuing victimization.
So I'm not doubting, at all, that violence against men is an issue. I do doubt, however, the sometimes-related argument that the same speakers often make: that there's something silly and self-indulgent to the female claims of sexualized psychological violence by 'stares' or 'heckling' or such. I can't say it's commensurate with death by gun violence, but it's not nothing. It's an additive to the girly constitution. It causes the contrarian to take walks she shouldn't; it makes a reductio ad corpus of even the most intellectual female heads. It's a real issue, related to the more obvious incarnations of sexualized violence against women, is all I'm saying; so long as I can, saying it, also be understood to stand adamantly against any violence towards boys as well. I'm not saying violence-against-women deserves more government funding than violence-against-men, just that it is its own (real) creature.
So what role does religion play in violence against women, now that it's a real creature? As a metaphysical guarantor, of course. I do think it's a bit oblivious to say it's 'religion' (as a monlith) that creates/incites anti-female violence. I think there's a real (good) social function to being more-than-normally protective of the childbearing population, and religion will always support the continued existence of the community of its adherents. And childbearing is at the existential core of community. So of course religions sanction any violence that ensures a regular and productive reproductivity. Since I'm not one who thinks there's something necessarily or specially moral about religions, even monotheisms, this doesn't seem odd.
The mere assertion that religion sanctions violence against women doesn't horrify me as much as the mere fact of said violence existing, so the interesting question is more, 'how is that violence framed by religion?' 'By virginal 12 year-old martyrs or honor killing (which, as far as I can tell, is a cultural institution that predates Islam, and is highly conditioned by political instability/occupation and resource-poor environments)'? The religiously guaranteed/narrated violence against women is all tied up - even more explicitly than in general culture I think - in fertility. That doesn't excuse it (at all), but it makes the argument complex because the discussants don't stand on the same premises.
To oversimplify, feminists care about the integrity of the female person; religious traditionalists care about the embedded child-potential. Both sides are horrified by the moral misaprehension of the other party. Most of the time, they're going to agree on condemnations of real examples of violence against women, but their theories of justification for that condemnation are wholly distinct; and that's a tension that will sometimes explode (see: martyrs-for-virginity, honor killings, the right to choice/life).