Peddling fiction as fact: whose nightmare is it really?

5 Mar

Don't tell me I'm gonna be a monster, lady.


“Expect to hear boys singing along to it soon. This is the message they are imbibing: Women are slaves and bitches who can service a man’s sexual needs, even in death. Men are brutal and dominant, and have no empathy for women. Men enjoy dead women as sex and entertainment. The female body is to be devoured, reduced to the same status as meat. Female bodies should be displayed before men as a great feast for their consumption.”

This is an extract from Melinda Tankard Reist’s Drum article on the controversial KanYe West 30 second video clip.

I’m not going to discuss the clip, that’s been done to death, except to say I don’t agree that is the message of the clip. And this is part of the point – we don’t all see through the same lens, so it becomes very important to know just what lens public opinion makers are looking through, and that ought to be disclosed.

Reist expresses great fear that all boys will like the song, and all boys will sing along to it. She then claims that as a consequence of this, all boys will “imbibe” the perception of all women as “slaves and bitches,” all boys will think that all men “are brutal and dominant, have no empathy for women, and enjoy dead women as sex and entertainment.” All boys will think that all female bodies are to be devoured like meat. And so on.

This is the message Reist imagines all boys are imbibing.

But this message comes entirely from Reist’s own mind.

In psychological terms, the messages she claims all boys are imbibing are entirely Reist’s projections.

She hasn’t consulted with KanYe West about what his vision and intentions are. She hasn’t done any  research to ascertain other interpretations of the clip, or if she has, she’s not talking about it in this article. She has no evidence at all of how boys respond to the clip, or if she has she’s keeping to herself.

She’s made it all up.

In other words she hasn’t taken a reality check. She’s constructed a fictional narrative founded on personal fears that she then peddles across the media as truth.

The logical conclusion of Reist’s made up truth: all boys and all men are monsters or are in the process of becoming monsters.

Truth claims such as these need to be taken out of the sphere of personal projections and imaginings, and backed up with evidence.

If there is no evidence they should not be made because they are dehumanizing claims, and in this case, they are dehumanizing all boys and all men.

This is absolutely unacceptable.

Reist does not allow that boys have agency. She portrays them as passive and indiscriminate receptors that can only be acted upon. (Just as she portrays “sexified” women.)

She does not allow that boys experience any other influences, such as parent, schools, extended family, ethical and moral systems.

Reist’s perception of boys and men as revealed in her imaginings is more terrifying than KanYe West’s video clip could ever be, because in her imagination, they are robotic, without human feeling, and murderous.

If she expressed these same perceptions and imaginings about others, say Muslims, a group currently subjected to discrimination and irrational public fear, she wouldn’t be published.

If she claimed that Muslims were “imbibing” information that would inevitably lead to them engaging in necrophilia and all the rest of her floridly imagined consequences there’d be an uproar. If she implied that Muslims have no agency and are empty vessels waiting to be filled by the most vile knowledge she can imagine, that they might then act upon, would the ABC publish that?

But she can do this with impunity to all men and boys?

Hell, imagine if some man made all that conjecture about women?

3 Responses to “Peddling fiction as fact: whose nightmare is it really?”

  1. PAUL WALTER March 5, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Aha. Back to the old free will versus determinism thing.
    I thought the default or comproise position allowed for “wiggle room”, that is that people are “determined” in ways they don’t fully understand themselves, but within this reality we still have limited “agency”.
    Eg, I cant help waking up in the morning filled with all the old cultural traits of misogyny, racism, homophobia, self interest, etc. But, being a fellow also individuated to read books and gregarious to allow communication with others of my species, I find I am encumbered with all this psychic acne that has me so odious to my fellows and self, so I try a bit harder to be a bit more tolerant and, whacko, I might even boycott tonight’s Klan meeting, even though there is a cross-burning AND possibly even, the prospect of a lynching thrown in for good measure.
    Reist Tankard understands that people are or can be, conditioned, but seems to make the mistake of juxtaposing free will and determism when she both claims that people are conditioned yet are” beasts” , indicating the employ of perverse free will. She moves from a dispassionate good/ bad argument to the employ of good/ evil and moral judgementalism without being aware of it. Its one thing to be a dolt and quite another to be consciously malign, isn’t it?


    • Jennifer Wilson March 5, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      There’s all the difference n the world, I reckon, Paul, between being a dolt and being deliberately malign.
      Love the “psychic acne” –
      I hadn’t actually seen MTR’s position as determinism, I was thinking of it more as a fear based, phobic thing about male sexual desires. Such hyperbole, like the bad script of a bad vampire movie. And with a kind of slavering illicit sexual excitement underlying the whole thing.

      That paragraph could very easily be turned into a script. A treatment, anyway. Oh wait. KanYe West’s done it already.


  2. PAUL WALTER March 8, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Egad is the baby photo with all the gob round his trap the female equivalent of Megan Gale for blokes, for sheer sexiness?


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