Dookoom: Why not Larney Jou Piel?

2014-10-19 15:00

Reading the responses to Dookoom’s music video, Larney Jou P**s in publications like City Press, The Con and The Daily Vox, I was reminded of how I was publicly reprimanded by poet and gender activist Bernedette Muthien a while ago.

I was teaching the subject of Spike Lee films and decided to post some edgy monologues from Do The Right Thing on a social-media platform.

The monologues came from a montage of racial insults as the film heated up to its explosive climax.

For example, the protagonist Mookie vents: “Dago, wop, garlic-breath, guinea, pizza-slingin’, spaghetti-bendin’, Vic Damone, Perry Como, Luciano Pavarotti, Sole Mio, non-singin’ motherf**ker.”

Muthien wasted no time in objecting to the post. Why not fatherf**ker? Why do the worst insults always have to be feminised and when will people who should know better stop propagating discourses that marginalise women?

In a similar vein, I must ask Dookoom: Why not Larney Jou Piel?

And why is AfriForum’s objection to Larney Jou P**s not based on its gender politics? Why does its concerns about hate speech or incitement to violence not extend to gender and representation?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that if AfriForum was to make good on its threat to pursue legal action, the issue is that we are looking at a battle of patriarchies in representational terms. Afrikaner nationalism was not merely racist; it was profoundly patriarchal.

The challenge to apartheid did not move beyond these confines.

Black nationalist struggles against racism often placed a higher premium on addressing race and not gender.

As writer bell hooks argues, black consciousness and black nationalism fell short because they failed to recognise that “racism is fundamentally a feminist issue because it is so interconnected with sexist oppression.

In the West, the philosophical foundations of racist and sexist ideology are similar”.

In Larney Jou P**s, we see themes such as the ongoing exploitation of farm workers and land rights being addressed by men (Isaac Mutant and the farm workers) to men (the white male farmer, the larney).

The term ‘larney’ signifies the patriarchal power granted to white (heterosexual) men under apartheid.

To be the larney means to have absolute power.

In US terms, you are The Man. You express your power by feminising other men under your control. Hence, to be likened to a woman means to be weak.

The appellation “jou p**s” (your c**t/vagina) feminises your interlocutor, signifying your power over him. To be female equates with being powerless?–?being f**ked.

This is why hooks says racism is a feminist issue.

Masculinist, heterosexist, nationalist ideologies do not break the cycle of oppression. They operate within the parameters set by patriarchy.

Writing about the marginalisation of women in US hip-hop, Professor Rashad Shabazz argues that male hip-hop heads “used hip-hop to exclude women”.

They “did not throw out hegemonic masculinity that truncated [women’s] access to the public space?...?they embraced it”.

In effect, according to Shabazz, “the geography these black youths created was ideologically underwritten by the white patriarchal structure it opposed”.

Thus, they ended up validating what they stood against.

This is what Larney Jou P**s seems to be doing, not just by the aggressive performances of its male characters, but by the absence of female characters and narratives.

It’s like Bok van Blerk’s Afrikaner nationalist De La Rey, which deletes black subjects from the South African War?–?to which AfriForum did not object.

The battle for the phallus (patriarchal power) continues, so no mention of the larney’s piel (penis).

He’s supposed to have or be a p**s (a woman). Women only exist metonymically as the lowest insult.

Haupt is an associate professor at UCT’s Centre for Film and Media Studies and author of Static: Race and Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media and Film

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