is an independent feminist zine made in Wellington, New Zealand. A cute bruiser is a small, often female character who fights like a bruiser. Bruisers tend to favour melee combat focused on punches and blocks. The cute bruiser shows contrast between appearance and strength, breaking the masculine stereotype associated with JUNE 2013
this combat style.
More Like M.R.A.DICAL
Bitch is a Dog [Rated PG]
Because Iâ€™m Worth it
Is it Feminist? EXO-K
MORE LIKE M.R.A.DICAL K. Dash
The sun is shining. God’s green earth is awash with light and life. Scoop up a handful of lush dirt. Feel the texture in your hand. Truly experience the dirt. Let it crumble back down between your fingers. To quote an old adage: YOLO. Watch the birds sing in the trees, and the scuttling of the ants on the ground, not a care in the world. But I do, have a care. A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of feminism. My name is Muscle Sportsman. I work hard. I play hard. And I’m mad about feminism. Feminism is females who want all the advantages of being a man without any of the disadvantages – in what alternate universe is this acceptable, and how can I flex hard enough to destroy it? I’m Muscle Sportsman. My heart is pure and I am here to tell you feminism will destroy this beautiful country. If there is one thing feminists have achieved it is breaking the good old family down, but dissatisfied with simply bifurcating traditional family structure, feminists seek to realign the status quo, brazenly brushing aside Rousseau’s social contract. My name is Muscle Sportsman. I am powerful. I could defeat any woman in unarmed combat. My tendon strength is unreal. I am the modern Nietzschean Übermensch. At any given moment I am ready to take off my shirt and perform beautifully executed suplexes on my enemies. Women are physically weak and unable to rotate several 3D objects in their head at once, but some of them aim to eradicate the God-given roles of hunter and gatherer. Men and women receiving equal incomes as some misplaced altruistic egalitarianism? What’s
next, men and dogs with equal incomes? Do the math. Circumcision? Fucked up. Next topic. Shaving your legs is nothing. Two words, turbo dorks: beard growth. Checkmate, padre. Women have never experienced true oppression. I live in a desert. I collect sand and I know nothing about human history. My name is Muscle Sportsman. As I let out a stream of vitamin B-rich aurulent piss from my pecker (N.B. though 06
I have never measured the exact breadth/girth of my dick, I am confident it is almost ten times as large, as your mothers. Whom is awful) I begin to ponder: just why the lid is supposed to be left down? Where is the real oppression? It’s here. Misandry is real, and it is dangerous and it’s real. It is genuine. Men are oppressed by women. Really makes you think. Chivalry is evolution, much like how it’s also evolution that as a man I am the breadwinner. I, too, have a girlfriend, and she agrees with me. This is science. My argument is powerful. I’m Muscle Sportsman and I’m very logical, and rational. I love to think. My nickname in highschool was Suckrates, a neologism of Socrates and suck, because I’m a terrible human being and I’m rational. And logic. You will not believe my intellectual sparring skill. Do not trifle with me, feminists. Doing battle with my mind is reminiscent of EVO 2004’s Daigo vs Wong Street Fighter 3rd Strike finale in that I will block every one of your kicks and then rain swift defeat upon you. The next cliff you’ll be seeing won’t just be fiscal, homey. I will hold my fedora, festooned with my favourite memetic baubles like the Y U No guy and the Trollface guy
to my chest, as a sign of misplaced respect. My righteous perspiration will reflect your defeated visage. You will look like an upturned beetle, bro. My name is Muscle Sportsman. I will not be stopped. I live for this. With the sweat still glistening on my toned biceps I will go full John Galt, delivering a seventy-page speech on the evils of feminism. My final line, “In conclusion: feminism? More like feminisn’t.” will net me fervent applause. For several days girls will say “hi” to me in the hallways, and my deciduous self-respect (intrinsically linked to the number of situps I can perform at a given time, with or without my shirt on. True strength comes from your core. Ironic that they’re called washboard abs, as while I’m constantly touching them I don’t even know what a real washboard is, though I am positive I have never used one. Aren’t they a women’s thing. Yes, I just googled “washboard” and I have never seen this thing in my life. Ha ha) will sit at a comfortable level. But know this: I would never harm a female. Though in reality I have no idea what the term means, I am an equalist. Unlike feminism equalism is about full understanding of other human beings. I’m a lover of respect. I will not get rowdy at a girl, even if they are a feminist, even if they are wearing combat boots (fucked up, as men die so that women never have to see the horrors of actual combat). God bless America. My name is Muscle Sportsman. Are you ready for some sports? I am.
Bitch is a DoG [rated PG] H. Davidson
The most common way to insult a man is to compare him to a woman: what a girl, you punch like a girl, stop acting like such a sissy. When we want somebody to show greater fortitude, we say “get a pair” (by which we don’t mean breasts) or “be a man about it”. It doesn’t seem like a lot – “pies aren’t necessarily easy but we say easy as pie regardless,” some dissenting thinkers may be about to say – but when so many people don’t recognize misogyny when they see it and even refuse to believe it still exists, pointing it out where it invades our most casual idioms is important. Using womanhood or femininity as an insult and praising masculinity as the ideal isn’t a flash hot way to promote equality. For the same reasons, we have to stop saying things like “we totally raped that team” when we visit a harrowing victory over an enemy team in Call of Duty – using the word rape this way trivializes and normalizes it. Luckily, changing the way we talk isn’t hard: it happens all the time. English is great: it changes and evolves to pick up “swag,” though has to let “lunting” go because nobody smokes a pipe anymore. It can take a word for a bundle of sticks and make it into a homophobic slur, but it can also reclaim slurs into badges of pride. Slurs are interesting in that they are weaponized language: while “man up” is an indirect swipe at women,
“slut” and “bitch” and “whore” and “cunt” and “slag” and that whole slew are targeted attacks. Steven Pinker talks about how “taboo words” are processed involuntarily – the emotional content is automatically registered, meaning that they can be used to force somebody to think an unpleasant or emotionally charged thought. Christopher Hom has to say 10
about slurs that they “both insult and threaten their intended targets in deep and specific ways both by predicating negative properties to them and invoking the threat of discriminatory practice towards them”. That’s not nothing when you consider that using a slur isn’t an accident: Adam Croom in his paper on slurs talks about how when you use a slur, you’re implicitly stating that you agree with the connotations of the word. That is to say, if you call a woman slut, you’re not just using the literal dictionary definition of “promiscuous” – you’re also implying that a woman having a lot of sex is contemptible. If you could have used a gender-neutral term why didn’t you, and what does that say about you? Sexist slurs are used to attempt to control women’s behavior: almost all of them comment on a woman’s sexual activity as a negative thing. And then there’s “bitch” – the nastiest, rowdiest one in the bunch. If
slut is an attack on the right to say yes, then bitch is an attach on the right to say no – or to say really anything at all that people men especially, disagree with. Dictionaries give definitions like “unpleasant or irritating female” or “malicious, spiteful, or coarse woman” – all it takes to be irritating or unpleasant, apparently, is to turn down suitors or ignore street harassment. Mostly, however, “bitch” is a word for women who step out of line: who don’t differ to men. In the bonus round, “bitch” is also used to describe men: meaning a man who is like a woman and therefore an object of scorn. The 1811 “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” states that bitch is the most offensive thing you could ever call an English woman – worse even than to call her a whore – and somehow while non-targeted profanities like my personal go-to curse-word “fuck” and the old staple “shit” are banned from daytime television and edited out of songs for radio consumption, people are a lot less antsy about making sure the kids don’t hear the word bitch. What’s so friendly about this word, that is so specifically nasty about my gender, that the kiddos are allowed to hear it when they’re not allowed to learn some extra terms for bodily effluvia? Of course, how, where and by whom words and phrases are used has huge importance – words have mean-
ings and power, but context has the ability to alter both of those. Reclaiming and repurposing slurs is nothing new: from African-American use of the word nigger to the LBGT movement’s reclamation of queer. Look at feminist magazine BITCH and how its founders use the word: as not a slur but a badge of pride, because doesn’t it mean being a strong, assertive woman? 12
Choosing not to use words can be just as problematic as using bad ones, though. Check out for example the avoidance of outright using the words woman and women: instead we get girls, chicks, ladies – and most frustrating of all, females. This may seem like a minor gripe, but the frequency with which grown women are referred to as girls and instantly infantilized is staggering, and females has a dehumanizing aspect, more apt in the description of zoology than people. Use it in the adjective form, but female is only a noun when you’re talking about animals. It wasn’t so long ago that male African Americans were universally addressed as “boy” regardless of age, which was a way of infantilizing a whole race. Language choices like this serve to maintain the “otherness” of separate ethnic groups – and of other genders. There are studies that claim the way English works has an influence on how we perceive the future or
assign blame compared to speakers of other languages. Even closer to ground level, the way we use language says a lot about us. The lexicons we build and which words we use in which ways can indicate where we’re from, what our level of education is, if we’re bilingual, whether we spend a lot of time on the internet, whether we come from a jargon-heavy industry, how old we are. It’s time we started using the power our language gives us to stop sexism.
by Katie Galt catdyl.tumblr.com
Because Iâ€™m Worth It K. Terciel
Makeup. I’m not sure what that word brings to mind for you, but for me it is pure excitement. Honestly. When I pass by a cosmetics stand when I’m out and about, I am practically wagging a tail. My love of makeup started a little suddenly. I was about 13, and had opened the local newspaper to find an article on a Youtube vlogger by the name of Lauren Luke, who was a self-taught makeup artist. Lauren had gone from filming videos of makeup routines in her bathroom with incredibly budget products, to launching a cosmetic line and having a weekly column in The Guardian. Personally, I was going through a rough time; my mother was in the midst of divorcing my step-father, I had just started high school, and was experiencing all the fun angst coupled with becoming a teenager. So, what the heck, I thought – this can’t be that hard. Believe me, I was craving distraction – and makeup became a ticket out of my reality. Four years down the track and I regularly get complimented on my makeup skills, and even get paid work for it. What started out as a distraction during a crap time became a fun hobby which has helped me meet all kinds of people in the theatre, cosplay, and beauty world. There is nothing I like more than helping somebody pick a good lipstick colour, giving advice on eyebrow shaping, or chatting about a great deal online – in short, makeup always makes me happy. But one thing I never saw coming was how the male gaze suddenly became important for me in terms of my makeup use.
As my makeup skills increased, so did comments like, “why are you trying to make yourself look good?”, “guys want a natural look you know”, “are you just trying to get a boyfriend?”, etc. Hell, I actually got told once I was “lying with my face”. Suddenly, by changing my looks, my intentions got called into question. And oh, those intentions must be romantic ones, because all girls want to look good for guys, 18
right? I couldn’t believe it. Because I wanted to have fun, to make myself look different, to feel pretty in something I liked, I was suddenly this girl on the prowl who was using any means necessary to snag a date. Excuse the language, but what the fuck? When did I announce that my appearance was for men only? That I couldn’t take personal pride in it? Did I miss the party? Those comments hurt because they were mostly from my female friends and relatives – these women honestly thought I had started curling my lashes and swiping on concealer not for myself, but so I could get a boyfriend in order to feel good. It didn’t occur to them that the makeup itself is what actually made me feel good. Getting attention from a good-looking guy is nice – but why on earth would I want to be with somebody who liked me solely for my appearance? Something I want you, as a reader, to understand is that I don’t believe all girls (or boys) need to wear makeup. That’s ridiculous. Your appearance is your own and you can enjoy
it any way you want to. I want you to understand that when I wear makeup, it is for myself and myself only. There’s no mask I am hiding behind, you are simply seeing a different version. So to any guys reading this: the next time you are tempted to quip, “I like a natural woman”, stop. What truly feels natural is for us to define individually, and not for anybody else – so I promise you, you will always be seeing me at my most natural.
Is it feminist?
EXO-K C. Carruthers
Feminism is really great. Feminism makes you feel better and also makes the world better. Feminism changed my life. You know what else changed my life? Exo-K. Exo-K is feminist. I’m not saying that everything that changes your life in an unconditionally positive and uplifting way is feminist, but Exo-K is. Exo-K is everything good in the world. Exo-K is feminism and vegetarian happy meals and good friends and unexpected tax refunds. Exo-K is also a Korean boy band. Exo-K is a Korean boy band with six members and each and every member is gorgeous and can dance and sing and wear futuristic clothing earnestly. The world would be a better place if we all wore futuristic clothing earnestly. The world would be a better place if we were all more earnest. Exo-K is earnest. I like feminism because feminism reminds me that I’m cool. It reminds me that it’s okay to be who I am – it’s our patriarchal society that’s fucked up, not me. If Exo built a new society they would build it on another planet: Planet Exo. And on that planet, they would dance. There would be no patriarchy. Exo isn’t into gender roles or ridiculous measures of masculinity. Exo breaks all the rules. Exo members sometimes dye their hair pink. Exo members are mostly androgynous and that’s okay. It’s more than okay. It’s feminist. It’s
feminist because it’s an expression of individuality unbound by patriarchal hegemonic constraints. And that’s cool. Did I mention that the members of Exo-K have powers? Super powers. Super powers are feminist because they’re something we’re not supposed to have. 22
Feminism is all about taking things we’re not ‘supposed’ to have. Like the right to vote or to walk down the street without being abused. These are super powers. Kai can teleport. The fact that Kai exists at all is a miracle because look at that face. But also he can teleport and this is a great power that evokes ideas about transcending boundaries. Kai clicks his fingers in a really aloof way and suddenly he’s re-appearing on the far side of gender essentialism, heteronormativity and outdated racial motivations. Kai is the best dancer in Exo-K. D.O. has the power of Earth. When he gets really angry he can make the ground shake. D.O. is feminist rage. D.O. is kinda small but he is the best singer in Exo-K. His voice is strong and true and when he sings he shakes the world. He is also most definitely into recycling and using eco-friendly cleaning products.
Here’s Chanyeol. When Chanyeol walks his footprints are flames. Like, there are flames coming out of them. Chanyeol is Exo-K’s rapper and he’s really tall and his blood type is A. His smile is A+. Chanyeol is always smiling but Chanyeol understands that it is not a woman’s job to smile all the time. Chanyeol respects your anger and your feels and Chanyeol will use his 24
flaming feet to burn down patriarchal institutions. Yes I’m talking about arson but Chanyeol will make sure that no one is inside the building first because radical feminist is about burning down sexist hierarchical power structures, not people. Suho says no to ageism. Suho is the leader of Exo-K and Suho works in an industry that values youth and also the ability to do a really good hip-thrust. As I am writing this Suho is celebrating his 23rd birthday; this makes him the eldest of all Exo-K members and because of this the fans call him ‘Gramps’. Suho is wise and beautiful and SM entertainment just released a teaser image of him in the process of taking off his shirt and it’s glorious. Suho reminds us that sexuality is not restrained by age; that neither men nor women should be valued less because they are perceived as being ‘beyond’ the age of sexual attractiveness. Suho would definitely be against youth-wages and Suho believes you should be able to wear whatever you
want at any age even if your kids tell you Doc Martens aren’t for old people. Doc Martens are for all people. Baekhyun is sassy. The fans call him ‘Greasy Bacon’. This isn’t because he treats women like sexual objects or utters degrading compliments referencing carnal acts. Some men do that and those men are balls – but not our Bacon. Bacon is full of confidence in his body and himself. Bacon is super anti-slut shaming because Bacon hates people who hate sass. There ain’t nothing wrong with looking good and knowing it and Bacon always looks good and he knows it. He can control light. Bacon thinks that everyone should have the right to walk through dark alleyways at night wearing nothing but sass without being harassed or judged. Bacon lights the way to a better future. There are six members in Exo-K, the sixth is Sehun. Sehun has the power of wind. He is the warm breeze against your back as you draw near the end of a long, arduous journey: your journey to overthrow the Patriarchy. You will find Sehun waiting for you at the end of this road, on top of a castle. His hair is coloured like a rainbow in delicious pastel shades. The wind picks up and swirls around you. You feel lighter. No longer are you burdened by sexist thought. Entrenched behaviours taught by a kyriarchal society are swept away,
leaving you able to speak freely without accidentally using a gendered insult or dehumanising pronoun. You feared that you were a faux-minist, a feminist full of hot air, all good intention and hypocritical activism. No more. Sehunâ€™s wind is cool, and now you are cool, and so is feminism. Sehun just made feminism hip and now all the kids will get involved. We will change the world.
Cute Bruiser is an independent zine, and we want your contributions. Weâ€™re looking for feminist content ranging from media analysis and legal discussion to personal experience pieces and visual art. Send your selfies to firstname.lastname@example.org, and check us out online at cutebruiser.tumblr.com - â™Ľ the Bruisers