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Mar 22 2006

Hot Mama

This morning I skimmed a blog I’ve never read before—let’s call it Morphing Into Mama, since that’s its title. I read only a few posts, so it is possible that I’ve misconstrued the gist of the blog (it wouldn’t be the first time), but I applaud the Morphing Mama as one of the increasingly uncloseted breed of saucy young broads who recognize that they had independent, autonomous selves before repurposing themselves as child-rearers, and who are now coming out to remonstrate that the virginmarial glow of new motherhood is a load of sentimental crap. She speaks authoritatively of sleep deprivation and nipple leakage, and of this indignity and that, and resents that, according to cultural narrative, she is supposed to be “in love” with her mewling infant. Which infant, if he looked when he was born anything like my newborn nieces did upon their natal days, resembled nothing so much as an undercooked brisket.

I can dig it.

Yet, according to this astonishing post, our Morphing Mama believes that if you gain a few pounds or cut your hair or in any way alter the physical appearance of your hot prenuptial self after you get hitched, you are guilty of “false advertising.”

Who might one construe as the consumer injured by this false advertising?

“Husband,” that’s who (that’s what the Morphing Mama calls the dude she married. “Husband.”).

Then the Morphing Mama drops the bomb that will cause the shitstorm that would eventually drive her to close comments on the post.

“Personally,” she writes, “I think it would be unfair to Husband if I gained a bunch of weight and did nothing about it.”

This remarkable statement reflects our heroine’s capitulation to the patriarchal feminine hotness imperative. Whereas she sensibly repudiates the absurd notion that she should be “in love” with her brisket-shaped kid, she cannot bring herself to reject the authority of the Male Gaze. For instance, the photo in her sidebar, presumably of the author, depicts a young woman in delicious contrapposto with a stroller, gorgeous shampoo-commercial hair, and a really hot ass.

The Morphing Mama (or “MIM,” as she is known on the blog) married a guy to whom she attributes this speech: “‘You’re not going to chop of all your hair now that we’re married, are you?’ he asked nervously.”

MIM believes that before she got married, she “advertised” herself to this hair-fetishist as a commodity: a weight-specific brand of sexy conformity to patriarchal hotness standards. Furthermore, she thinks it would constitute an ethical lapse if she were to relax her white-knuckle grip on skinny long-haired femininity. In other words, it is her wifely duty to maintain her hotness. “Husband” signed up for hotness, remains a big fan of hotness, and, as a male in a patriarchy, is entirely entitled to hotness. To deprive this hotness consumer of hotness would be “unfair.”

This is no mere Twistificational conjecture. Of Husband’s fascination with hotness there can be no doubt, for here he is, guest-blogging a “birthday tribute” to his hot wife: “Suffice it to say she’s proven to be intelligent, resilient, inquisitive, and loyal. Oh, and beautiful and hot, as the ‘butt shot’ confirms. And the best thing is, all this has only gotten better with age. So happy 35th birthday MIM. I’m looking forward to another 35 with you. By then you’ll be REALLY hot! Oh, and probably also still intelligent, resilient, inquisitive, and loyal. But at least hot.”

And, lard-jesus no! MIM, who says she “works” to maintain her figure “for myself and my husband,” goes on to suggest that a person’s weight is indicative, not, as a rational person might imagine, of how much she weighs, but of her degree of “self-respect.” Overweight people, MIM asserts, are probably “depressed.” She asks, “can you imagine still maintaining the same level of physical attraction for your mate when he’s depressed?”

So it’s not fat people who are unattractive, but depressed people?

Nice try, but it’s a well-documented fact that depressed people are among the world’s most fascinating. Some of the best sex I ever had was with my girlfriend who would soon shoot herself to death with a giant gun. I’m no psychiatrist, but it that’s not depressed, I don’t know what is.

The thing is, in a world where women are the sex class (by which I mean Planet Earth), even morphing mamas are expected to display themselves according to male standards of fuckability as defined by pornography, and those who fall short are subject not only to public censure and ridicule and fat jokes, but to the ultimate horror: not being hot enough for Husband.

Whether MIM and Husband find eternal bliss in their personal oasis of mutual hotness—and really, if it makes them happy, ¡buena suerte!—is of little consequence to this patriarchy-blamer; it is the larger stupidity of the sexist beauty mandate illustrated by this pair that smegs me off. Check out this agonizing post at a blog called The Homesick Home, wherein author L. has put on a few pounds and now endures her husband’s silent disdain.

“Hub,” writes L., “didn`t want me to go to his office Christmas party, nor has he invited anyone from work to our house. When I joked that this was because I was ‘no longer a wife worth showing off,’ he got very quiet. Saying nothing at all was infinitely worse than anything he could have possibly said.”

L. has failed where MIM has triumphed, but the spinster aunt would implore all women, regardless of the degree to which they have been assimilated by Dude Nation, to extricate themselves with all possible speed from the prison of male fantasy. Feminine beauty is a load of pornographic crap.

[gracias, Lori]

180 comments

11 pings

  1. Amber

    I’m glad you posted about this. I was going to send it to you. I caught it over at Suburban Bliss.net, where another intelligent, wonderful woman is agonizing over it because her husband wonders why, after two kids, she couldn’t still have the body he married, and why she “doesn’t want to stay her physical best for him.”

    I’ll just repost some of the comment I wrote to her.

    This notion of “false advertising” makes me want to vomit the very tasty rice pilaf I’ve just eaten.

    It’s based on the premise of winning a trophy-wife-as-display-object. Marriage is a relationship, not a purchase. Relationships involve PEOPLE. People change. None of us is the same person we were ten years ago, physically, mentally or experience-wise. Wait til 20 more years goes by and neither of you resemble the person you were when you got married (even your husband! I mean look, don’t you miss the toenails he had when you got married?! Why couldn’t he stay his physical best for you?! – her husband ran a marathon and his toenails started falling off) Time ages people, physiques change. It’s not an option.

    Why is it acceptable for a person’s beliefs, history and opinions to change, but their body is expected to always stay 23, young and thin? It doesn’t even make sense.

    Perhaps one day your husband could try doing the 30 things you have to do daily before he even gets a chance to THINK about his body for the day, and then see if he wants to spend even a second of his downtime working out or thinking about how many calories are in a bagel. I bet instead he’ll probably choose to do something more important, like take a dump.

  2. kreepyk

    I’m still stuck on trying to figure out why people this superficial want to have children. You know it is going to “ruin” your looks (or at least chance it). You know it is going to be (putting it mildly) a lot of work.

    WHY?!?

  3. teffie-phd

    Stuff like this pissed me off so much I can’t even come up with something to say in your comments, except: FUCK! Shut up already! If bringing another life into this world and then taking care of it “ruins” your body then what the hell happens when you get old, or have a disfiguring accident or get cancer or the styles change to fat brunette from skinny blondes?

    False advertising is a man who says he loves you and then makes you feel like shit for having his baby.

  4. Pony

    Regarding said ass: Women of some races naturally have asses like that. Women of some races naturally have hair like that too. But the kid’s white, and both hair and butt look bought to me. Also besides, being as they are both staunch supporters of the patriarchy, I assume she’s read the fine print. As soon as her ass goes south, he’ll have (and probably take) the option to find another, younger butt.

  5. MzNicky

    I just visited this post, and it looks like comments have been turned off already. Not because, far as I could tell, any true dialogue about feminism (oh jeez no) occurred, but because some of the other commenters were being mean to MIM, doubting her weight-claim and criticizing her hair.

    Back to grown-up land for me.

  6. A White Bear

    This reminds me of a sex-positive feminist I knew in college who went on and on about how important it was to her to have sex with men who respected and adored her for who she was. She started to gain weight from some medication and suddenly started caring a great deal that men respect her for her body. In fact, she would go out of her way to have sex with any guy who disparaged her body. She overheard one guy saying something unbelievably awful about her midsection and she begged him to sodomize her that very night.

    As long as self-worth is bound up with heterosexual intercourse, beauty (as defined by men) remains a means to an identity. These women have babies to prove to the world that men still want to pork them on accounta they’re so pretty.

  7. stekatz

    Beware these mothers!

    This is a new trend (as seen on Oprah). You decide your kids aren’t that great after all because your husband is such a big o’ hunk of hot manly fullfillment.

    I’m kicking myself that I cannot remember her name, but some author had an article in Salon or some such place where she stated that if she lost one of her kids she’d get over it, but if she lost her husband she couldn’t bear to live another day. Next thing we know she’s on Oprah’s speed dial.

    Now this is fashion. Now we mothers must humorously talke about how our kids are really little assholes, and pit ourselves against those foolish selfless mothers with big butts and “mom jeans.”

    It’s yet another way the patriarchy is dividing women.

    I also went to a wedding last year where the Catholic priest waxed poetic for a full five minutes on how the bride and groom should always put each other before everyone else – even the children. I think this is code for the man is the leader of the family. The godbags are sure getting sneaky these days.

  8. jami

    there’s fascinating depressed and there’s couch potato depressed. city folk don’t see much of the couch potato variety they have in the suburbs, but it is indeed not attractive. dr. phil spends a lot of time with the couch potato depressed, to no avail.

  9. Twisty

    No doubt you are right, jami, but Dr Phil–the Oprah-approved unimpeachable male authority figure– also preaches that brides and grooms should put themselves before everybody else, including the kids.

  10. Sola

    I haven’t escaped the patriarchy, but I HAVE escaped dweebs like Husband by ditching razor, makeup, and all the crap that comes with them.

    The post and comments repeatedly refer to complaints from men about their partners’ size or appearance. But 95% of my male admirers have liked my hair at whatever length, lusted after my resplendent furriness, & praised my complete lack of makeup. In fact, I’ve heard nothing but complaints about razors in the shower & smelly makeup. My proportion of fat to muscle has been all over the map in the last 20 years and no one has said a peep.

    Makeup says, “There’s something fundamentally wrong with me. I must change.” Shaving says the same thing, along with “I must look like I never reached puberty, except for the boobs, of course.” And starving says, “I must be small and weak.” *I* say, “I work out with weights and love to wear tank tops! Worship me and my wondrous fur! And pass me another burrito!”

    Straight women! Dump the makeup and razor and do whatever the hell you want with your hair! Don’t stand next to me in the public restroom and say wistfully, “I wish I could go without makeup like you do.” Why do you believe you CAN’T?

  11. Elise

    God DAMN it, this kind of thing pisses me off. Why the HELL would you stay married to someone who treats you like that? I have no problem with women deciding for themselves what level of physical fitness/femmeyness/makeup, etc. they’re going to be comfortable with, but fuck if I’m going to change or maintain my appearance to please a man! Or at least, the man better not expect me to do it! And that’s regardless of the childbirthing situation. Honestly. There ARE men out there who know better than this. I don’t know why anyone would put up with one who doesn’t. Better single or trying other alternatives than being involved with a selfish asshole.

  12. nina

    stekatz, Ayelet Waldman is her name.

  13. B. Dagger Lee

    Dear Stekatz:

    I think the woman you’re talking about (on Oprah and in Slate or Salon or Whaffever) is a writer, Ayelet Waldman, married to Michael Chabon, also a writer. And it’s in Wikipedia, by golly!

    Yours, BDL

  14. finnsmotel

    I have a feeling that MIM felt the way she does before she met her hubby. Meaning that all the calls for the poor guy’s head seem a bit off-target. Maybe that’s just me – a guy – talking, I don’t know.

    I mean, within the space of a few posts, we’ve seen the damned if ya do, damned if ya don’t thing… one guy declares his wife hot and he’s a jerk… another guy thinks his wife’s a cow and he’s a jerk… ok, so all guys are jerks. Yawn.

    The phenomenon I’ve noticed is that most people (men and women) don’t realize how utterly lucky, fortunate, priveleged, they are. So, even when they get the perfect life, the perfect job, the wonderful home, and all that, they get bored enough to think they deserve even more. Human beings are determined to find an angst or anxiety in any situation and I think MIM is no different. She’s got it all, except the ass she had before the kids. So, that’s her mission in life.

    Sure it’s superficial and simplistic. But, so are most human pursuits. Not everyone can be Twisty.

    I know I’m not capable of blaming 24-7. I blame myself.

  15. Hattie

    Stekatz says: This is a new trend (as seen on Oprah). You decide your kids aren’t that great after all because your husband is such a big o’ hunk of hot manly fullfillment.
    Yes, the notion that babies and kids are little assholes and that men are wonderful sure is going around again. It’s a perennial. That’s the family atmosphere I grew up in.

  16. Twisty

    Says L. in an email to me:

    “And one minor point — you say, “L. has failed where MIM has triumphed.”
    Since I refuse to alter my healthy body image to conform to my husband`s wishes, I think it would be more accurate to say that “L. refuses to play the game.”

  17. terry

    I don’t want to get flamed here, because I certainly agree with Twisty’s views on the absurdity of trying to stay “hot” for your husband.

    However, I have the opposite problem. I got pregnant, and it apparently tripped some binge-eating circuit in my husband. Long story short – he has gained about 140lbs in the past 2 1/2 years. When he was, say, 70lbs overweight, it really didn’t bother me a lot. But now, I really can’t stand it. In part, its the underlying issues causing the weight gain that really bug me (his clear need to deal with a bunch of issues related to his mother, binging almost to the point of an eating disorder, obvious health problems from being so overweight, etc.). But the other part of it is that he is still steadily gaining weight. He’s 35 years old, and within a year will likely weigh 400lbs.

    I want very much to believe I am not this superficial, although perhaps that is the reality. I really am struggling over this issue, so if any of the many smart commenters on this thread have any advice to pass along, it would be much appreciated.

  18. Hattie

    A comment from “Morphing:”I must admit I was “in love” w/my son immediately but it didn’t mean I wasn’t miserable or hated this new roll [sic]I got myself into. It also practically tore my marriage apart, we’re much better now though.
    !!!!!
    What I did when I saw my husband sulking about the baby, was I plunked the kid in his lap and went shopping. I felt much better and he got to spend time with his kid. Why in god’s name people can’t lighten up about all this I don’t know.
    Of course we never cared about being perfect, so that helped.

  19. Delphyne

    Why do women want to be married to assholes like this? That’s what I want to know. What do do they get out of being married to men who think they are judges in a beauty contest? What?

  20. A White Bear

    finnsmotel: one guy declares his wife hot and he’s a jerk… another guy thinks his wife’s a cow and he’s a jerk… ok, so all guys are jerks. Yawn.

    Huh? You seem to be missing the point, which is one that Sola makes abundantly clear. Women who spend all their time either worrying about their looks or being with men who worry endlessly about their looks are wasting their time if they think it has anything to do either with self-worth or with sex.

    Like Sola, I’m a not-made-up woman of non-teeny size who doesn’t much give a shit about male gaze. And like Sola, I’ve met plenty of men and women who find me sexually attractive not in spite of, but because of my attitude toward my body. My self-worth, since it is unattached to my sexual attractiveness, makes me, ironically, sexually attractive.

    Beauty has almost nothing to do with frequency of intercourse, as anyone who has seen Jerry Springer knows. Men who think otherwise are often anaesthetized to sex by porn and advertisements and equate sex with status and his own ego. Thinness in a woman is a sign of her wealth, and a man not wanting to show off his pudgy wife is a man who fears the slippage of his status more than he cares about his wife’s health or even her sexual attractiveness.

    I’m currently in a very wonderful relationship in which we never talk about our attractiveness. We talk about our health, about our friends, relationships with people, books, movies, but in two years, we have never discussed whether I look fat in something or if he’d like it if I grew my hair out.

  21. Betsy

    MIM’s post just made me want to go talk to or read about someone with a life, a brain, … *anything* other than hearing the Deep Thoughts of someone like her, who is so clearly entirely caught up in what her body looks like.

    She is one of those people who believes, even in the midst of their utter conventionality, that she is somehow “breaking the mold” or “pushing the boundaries” or “thinking outside the box” — as if she is testing the limits of conventional thinkers everywhere! I am a mother — YET look at my ASS – it’s HOT!

    Now. What would be truly shocking and sensational — what would genuinely set a precedent — what would really be outrageous — would be to look beyond youth, beauty, and the ascendancy of the Hot Ass, and treasure *someone else* for the worth of their mind, regardless of their looks.

    Self-celebration / striving to be beautiful: I mean, it’s *SO* been done before.

  22. Delphyne

    “I mean, within the space of a few posts, we’ve seen the damned if ya do, damned if ya don’t thing… one guy declares his wife hot and he’s a jerk… another guy thinks his wife’s a cow and he’s a jerk… ok, so all guys are jerks. Yawn.”

    Awwh, does women stand up for themselves bore you? What a shame.

    It’s very easy to understand – men who judge women on our looks are jerks.

  23. Pony

    I wish I could say something more positive. This is an addict, an alcoholic, a heroin addict, just he’s using food. He will never be free of it. So either accept it now, or walk. Cliched but true: you can’t change him, you can only change your response.

  24. Pony

    P.S.

    It ain’t his momma’s fault. And if you fall for this, you’ll be next.

  25. finnsmotel

    “It’s very easy to understand – men who judge women on our looks are jerks.”

    Thanks for the update.

    I don’t think you’re going to find any people who don’t judge each other on their looks. Man, woman, child, whatever. We all do it.

    Even those who purport to be above it, really aren’t. Case in point…

    “I’m a not-made-up woman of non-teeny size who doesn’t much give a shit about male gaze. And like Sola, I’ve met plenty of men and women who find me sexually attractive not in spite of, but because of my attitude toward my body.”

    What’s the difference between your description and the one about the hot ass? The rhetoric.

    The choice to cultivate an appearance that is opposite to the patriarchally-approved standard of beauty is still a form of conformance to a standard, it’s just a different standard that attracts different folks. Women dieting and exercising to slim down sends one message… women letting their leg hair grow, wearing bandanas and military surplus sends another message. But, make no mistake, both are encoded to attract others.

    There’s a uniform for patriarchy-blaming, just like there’s a uniform for MILF-aspiring stroller shovers.

    Doesn’t make one better than the other.

  26. Twisty

    To Terry in #17

    The solution to the problem you describe is, I think, beyond the scope of the radical feminist blog. Your reaction to your husband’s sudden weight gain and the weight gain itself are separate issues. The fat acceptance gang at Big Fat Blog may have a few insights for you.

  27. Jezebella

    finnsmotel: There is NO BLOODY UNIFORM for patriarchy-blaming. Do you really think we all wear bandanas, military surplus, and have hairy legs and flannel shirts and lesbimullets? Give me a freakin break. Go back and re-read this entire website, particularly this thread, and try again. You’re not getting it. Not at all.

    Also “doesn’t make one [uniform] better than the other.” Better for WHO, exactly? Better for you to look at? No. Women who find their self-worth in something besides the hottness of their asses, which is after all, ephemeral, are much healthier on every possible level.

    Yes, yes, “people” “judge” other people’s “looks,” but we are conversing about a very specific kind of judging, in which women are judged specifically by their ability to conform to male standards of fuckability, and hence find their own entire self-worth in their fuckability (or lack thereof). THIS is patriarchal and destructive and anti-woman.

    Now, about this “false advertising” crap: clearly MIM thinks she sold herself to Husband, and he therefore has the right to trade her in if her body dares to engage in any aging. If that’s their deal, and she wants to be his hot-assed property, so be it. But there’s nothing empowering, brave, or feminist about it. I’m thinking MIM is worthy of a Vichy Feminist award today.

  28. Sola

    I was all set to stand up for part of Finnsmotel’s first post, but then he said this:
    “The choice to cultivate an appearance that is opposite to the patriarchally-approved standard of beauty is still a form of conformance to a standard, it’s just a different standard that attracts different folks. Women dieting and exercising to slim down sends one message… women letting their leg hair grow, wearing bandanas and military surplus sends another message. But, make no mistake, both are encoded to attract others.”

    I can’t speak for the other unshaven women I know, but I am *not* cultivating a frigging look. Good grief. I am being my danged self. Women don’t do everything to attract others. There is, surprisingly, MORE TO OUR LIVES.

    I like how I look, so I don’t change it. I am not making a Stand for the Oppressed.

    I’m so tired of this. What women do with our bodies is instantly political, while men do whatever the hell they want without all these political overtones. It’s enough to make me libertarian.

    It’s also interesting that you (Finnsmotel) seem to have assumed some sort of uber-butchness (bandanas and military surplus?????) in the unshaven. You would be very confused by the short black lace skirt I wear because it spins out so nicely. You would probably be even more confused by the boyfriend who used to borrow it.

  29. finnsmotel

    “Women don’t do everything to attract others.”

    Ok, I stand corrected on that point…

    Letting your image go is also a form of cultivating an image, though. I’ll stick with that one.

  30. Moxie

    I have a feeling you all are going to tear me apart, but I wrote a post in response to all the other ones discussing the idea that once a woman marries, her body becomes property of and a symbol of the marital and family unit. It’s here: http://moxie.blogs.com/moxie/2006/03/our_bodies_ours.html
    if anyone wnats to read it.

  31. Hattie

    Thinness in a woman is a sign of her wealth, and a man not wanting to show off his pudgy wife is a man who fears the slippage of his status more than he cares about his wife’s health or even her sexual attractiveness.
    That’s right. We are supposed to feel sorry for men whose wives don’t keep themselves up. And female predators are programmed to move in and take the spouse away from his frumpy wife. Keeps us nicely at each others’ throats.

  32. Pony

    If my response seemed rather over the top Twisty (and Terry), it’s because I’ve lived it. He blamed his mother, he blamed me, now he blames his daughters. Fat acceptance is for deniers and blamers.

    I walked.

    End.

  33. LauraBora

    I stumbled onto this site yesterday through another site that I love…and read each comment and sat thinking really hard.

    I was once bitching about this guy that I had this clandestine sexual thing with because he was really into me when we were alone but wouldn’t squire about like a prize hen because I was overweight. I was going on and on about superficial society and how fucked up it was that this guy wouldn’t just suck it up and admit we were in a relationship and how cowardly he was and my friend said, “You know, I have NEVER seen YOU with a fat guy.” (I was 23 when this happened and wouldn’t dream of acquiescing to this kind of a relationship now).

    I sort of felt pegged yesterday about MY attitudes toward men and their looks…because I have never dated a fat man and if my current very hot athletic man gained 100 pounds I think I’d be very disturbed. I don’t think I’d leave him over it. But I would be bummed.

    Does this make me a superficial piece of shit? Maybe!!!

    As a very non-depressed fat woman, I resent MIM’s take that Fatness or lack of a desperate desire to maintain a certain appearance so as not to cheat your husband is a symptom of depression and a lack of self-respect. I have enormous respect for myself. I kicked drugs and alcohol which had me down for the count. I’ve survived sexual abuse AND sexual assault and have used those experieneces to help others. I have moved and started new lives without any fear. I have recently adopted an exercise program in order to reduce my blood pressure and am becoming amazingly athletic. I am raising two children with my widower significant other after I fell in love with all three of them despite being a cranky loner. I love life despite the heinous patriarchy we are living under and yes, I also happen to be fat.

    YES, I want to lose weight. I don’t want diabetes or to be on BP meds my whole life…but damn, I’m not doing it in order to make sure that my husband can bring me to a Christmas Party without shame. L.’s husband is really a big jerk about this ESPECIALLY since it seems to ME that L. is barely overweight if I am reading her blog right.

    I think all women need to receive a copy of the Beauty Myth in the 9th grade.

  34. kactus

    I think all women need to receive a copy of the Beauty Myth in the 9th grade.

    By then it’s too late–young women have internalized 15 years of being told that they had better be thin and beautiful (because, as Pony pointed out, if they’re fat and love themselves they’re in blaming denial, apparently) to fit heterosexist standards. I’d say give them not just the Beauty Myth before they start puberty, but an entire childhood that says who they are is beautiful, who they will become is beautiful (even if it’s a fat accepting denier and blamer), and they have nobody to please but themselves.

  35. Sola

    Finnsmotel said, “Letting your image go is also a form of cultivating an image, though. I’ll stick with that one.”

    This wording is interesting. By doing exactly what men do–failing to shave her legs and armpits and failing to smear chemicals on her face–a woman is “letting her image go.” This is awful close to “letting herself go,” the universal complaint about women who supposedly pack on weight and lose their sex appeal.

    I’m in far better shape than most straight men my age (45). What have I let go? The belief that there’s something fundamentally wrong with me. It’s wandered off. I can’t find it anywhere.

  36. finnsmotel

    “Yet, according to this astonishing post, our Morphing Mama believes that if you gain a few pounds or cut your hair or in any way alter the physical appearance of your hot prenuptial self after you get hitched, you are guilty of “false advertising.””

    I think your interpretation is a bit harsh, especially after reading the entire post. I didn’t get the heavy vibe of Patriarchal Collusion that you infer.

    Like MIM, if my wife suddenly gained a bunch of weight, my first concern would be for her health. My second concern would be for her own mental well-being, as I know how much it would bother her, despite my insistence otherwise.

    We’ve had two kids and each post-partum year was spent with her asking how she looked and me assuring her she looked great, despite her constant kvetching to the contrary.

    Hey, we both aged through the process of child birth… she with a few changes in shape here or there… and me with less hair. Seems pretty nachrul, to me.

  37. tuckova

    This was very insightful and also a great deal of fun to read. Thank you for bringing your wise & witty spinster aunt voice to the topic, because this is the only piece I’ve read so far that didn’t leave me saying, “Yeah, but…” but instead simply, “YEAH!”

  38. stekatz

    Big Fat Blog is okay. I prefer to frequent the Fat!So? GabCafe. Go to http://www.fatso.com and follow the link (requires registration, but worth it).

    There’s really no compelling reason to ever go on a diet. They don’t work, and all those studies telling us that fat people are walking time bombs are ALL funded by the diet industries, pharmaceutical industries and the bariatric surgery organizations. The obesity epidemic is a steaming load of crap intended to make us (mostly women) paranoid YET AGAIN by our bodies so that we go out and spend money. What’s even more distressing is the number of feminists I find goosestepping to the junk science reports about fat and health. I hate seeing women criticize their fat sisters in the name of health. The health argument is a weak smokescreen. There are plenty of thin people with diabetes and high blood pressure and all the other stuff they scare fat people with. It’s not about health, it’s about power and money. MIM feels a loss of power when she thinks her hot butt is no longer fitting into her cute little capris.

    Thin is not a guarantee of lasting love or health.

    And if I “let my image go” it’s usually because I have 500 things to do in any given day, and a pair of jeans I bought at Ross for $10 is usually just fine to do my laundry, cook dinner, walk the dog, pick up my daughter from school and get my work done.

  39. finnsmotel

    “This wording is interesting. By doing exactly what men do–failing to shave her legs and armpits and failing to smear chemicals on her face–a woman is “letting her image go.””

    Whoah, don’t push me down your slippery slope. Re-read MIM’s post. It exclusively concerned itself with weight gain. If I sloppily equated gaining weight with letting oneself go, and you take offense, my apologies. But, I think the Surgeon General would back me up on significant weight gain as a sign of letting oneself go… could be wrong.

    I brought up the shaving and bandana stuff to be a wise ass. Sue me.

    heh.

  40. robin

    Twisty advices us straight women thusly:

    L. has failed where MIM has triumphed, but the spinster aunt would implore all women, regardless of the degree to which they have been assimilated by Dude Nation, to extricate themselves with all possible speed from the prison of male fantasy. Feminine beauty is a load of pornographic crap.

    This is an interesting example of The Prisoner’s Dilemma from game theory.
    If the “prize’ is to have a relationship with a man which does not obligate us to conform to sexbot standards of beauty, the best possible outcome would be achieved by full cooperation amonst all women to get off the damn train of pleasing the male gaze. This way men would have to accede to the fact of real womanhood and not pressure us to conform to the porn standard. But if there are any “betrayers”, that is women who still contort themselves to the sexbot standard, then the non-conforming/contorting women will be more likely to “lose” since men will still see the sexbot as a standard for us to aspire to.
    The depressing thing is that in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, according to game theory, the safest bet is to betray rather than cooperate.
    But maybe if we take back the Dilemma from the patriarchy, we can turn it around somehow..

  41. Jodie

    Left something similar as a comment somewhere else as well.

    I just have to say that I see a lot of people who have significant facial deformities after surgery for head and/or neck cancers.

    If a man (or woman) isn’t willing to stick around because their spouse has gained a little weight, why would they stay if something difficult really changed their significant other’s looks?

    It’s not just cancer, either, there are a whole host of other things that could significantly affect the “hotness” (this makes me think of fratboys holding up signs, and it’s about that mature) of a woman. Not to mention age, and we all age differently and plastic surgery, despite what people think, does not return you to 20-year-old dewy freshness, especially if you started getting it at age 30.

    Okay, so I’m ranting. This whole concept makes me crazy.

  42. Rene

    MIM, of course, is an idiot, and I feel sorry for her kids. She should have snagged herself one of those adorable Chinese babies — in any case, MIM’s and Husband’s DNA hardly seems worth perpetuating, although I’m sure they feel otherwise.

    I’ve been married for almost 8 years now, and my experience has been quite different. When I first met my husband, I was horribly depressed, and when I get depressed, I tend to stop eating. I was down to about 105 pounds (I’m approximately 5’8″, so this was pretty damned thin), and even though all my friends told me that I looked really terrible and frighteningly thin, I felt good about my body. In fact, that was the one thing I did feel good about — the fact that I could fit in a teensy-tiny Betsey Johnson dress that was obviously designed for 14-year-old Japanese girls. (Yes, I know that this is superficial, but I was fucking crazy, remember?) After I met my husband-to-be, he plied me with food (he’s an excellent cook, and like many people, he has strong emotional connections to it, which I never did, other than the usual patriarchy-induced loathing and fear). I gained weight — not a whole lot but enough to be healthy — and he told me all the time how much healthier and stronger I looked. He also allowed, when pressed, that my extreme thinness sort of freaked him out in the beginning, but he liked my personality and brain, which was what made him want to ask me out. I’m inclined to believe him, although I’m sure it might sound naive to some of you. He insists that most straight men really do prefer women with curves and that only women, misogynists, and gay fashion dudes admire the Mischa Barton physique.

    Since I got married, I guess I have “let myself go,” at least from the bullshit MIM point of view — I no longer fit into a size 2, I don’t wear makeup most of the time, and I seldom shave in the wintertime — but my husband seems to love and accept me the way that I am. It makes me feel like an idiot, the fact that many years of reading fancy feminist theory couldn’t make me feel OK about myself when I was in my 20s, but better late than never, I guess. I still have hangups sometimes, and I still have weird anxieties about my weight, but I’m a lot better than I used to be, and for that I’m grateful.

    Rene

  43. robin

    One more comment:
    as a thin, short, un-boobified woman, I don’t jump for joy when the reverse sexism of “real woman have curves’ banner is raised as a supposed anecdote to sexbot standards of “thinness with large breasts”.
    My weight is not the result of dieting or any such thing, it’s just the way this body metabolizes food.
    It doesn’t do women any good to exchange one artificial standard of female “desirability” for another. It would just as pointless and self-hating for me to attempt to gain “curves” as it would a naturally heavier woman to become thin.
    I’m glad Rene’s husband’s desire for her is independent of the particular size of her body, but please, no more “real women have curves” crap!
    It’s just as much as a cage as “starve yourself thin.”

  44. CGG

    How long has MIM been married? Does she seriously think that she and her moronic husband aren’t going to change with age? Will she submit herself to botox? plastic surgery? starvation? Where does it end?

  45. Rene

    Just to clarify, Robin, I never said that “real women have curves,” and neither did my husband (although he did express a preference for them, at least in a very moderate way, as in “I think women whose hipbones don’t jut out of their pants and who don’t pass out when they suddenly rise from a seated position are sexier than those who do” — since I have a preference for guys with dark hair and athletic builds, I can’t condemn him for this). Your point is well-taken, though. Even though I’m not as thin as I used to be (and I’m still quite unboobified), I sometimes get unwarranted grief from curvier women who assume that I’m starving myself or always dieting or forcing myself to vomit or this or that. I know so many women who struggle with their weight, and, like you, I’ve never really had a problem with mine (other than self-perceived problems, which, of course, are a whole other matter). I do eat, and I eat more butter and triple-cream Brie (thanks to my husband, who scoffs at anything low fat) than anyone this side of James Beard. I’m just not as heavy as most women my age.

    I really didn’t mean to engage in reverse discrimination. In fact, I almost invariably regret discussing weight at all. When I was going through my skeletor phase, my best friend tried to talk some sense into me, and I got really upset with her. Finally we made a pact that we would never again discuss weight at all because it occasioned too many neuroses in us and, presumably, in other women. She struggled with bulimia for a long time, and I think my period of anorexia was upsetting to her on more levels than I realized at the time.

    Rene

  46. Sola

    Sorry to harp on Finnsmotel, but hey, it’s better than working.

    He said, “If I sloppily equated gaining weight with letting oneself go, and you take offense, my apologies. But, I think the Surgeon General would back me up on significant weight gain as a sign of letting oneself go… could be wrong.”

    It’s very interesting that I’ve just discussed not shaving or using makeup. I never said that I’m overweight, and I’ve certainly never said that any woman who stops using makeup inevitably gains weight. Yet this is the assumption that appears to have been made.

    About myself, all I said was that the proportion of fat to muscle in my body has been all over the map. That was interpreted as I have “let myself go.” Interesting. Men have liked me at all my shapes, including my pleasantly squishy phase. My current shape is muscular, because that’s how I prefer it. What’s far more disturbing is that the assumption appears to be “Doesn’t care about makeup = ‘lets herself go’ = gets fat and unhealthy.” It says loads about the alleged lack of appeal of big women and how nonconforming women of any type are failing to fulfill their patriarchal duty.

    You rarely hear about a straight man who has “let himself go.” That’s because he’s “there” no matter what he does.

  47. finnsmotel

    >It’s very interesting that I’ve just discussed not shaving or using makeup. I never said that I’m overweight, and I’ve certainly never said that any woman who stops using makeup inevitably gains weight. Yet this is the assumption that appears to have been made.

  48. L2

    Ugh – I’ve re-written this several times and I feel like I can’t get quite the right wording. Let’s throw this and see if it sticks:

    I’ve met women who have “let themselves go” after marriage out of the idea that they already have their man, so they don’t have to try anymore. To them, the idea of putting any kind of effort into themselves was a tool to get a mate, and once they had the mate, they could stop doing those things. I’m not saying that one has to wear make-up, exercise, whatever to be happy, but it disturbs me greatly to think that I should only care about my appearance to trap a man, and once I’ve got him I can just “let myself go.” It’s not from the standpoint of false advertising, it’s more that *I* like the way I look with a little mascara on and I like the way I feel when I run on a regular basis and don’t eat grease all the time and I do those things for me. I don’t really give a flying shit if someone else thinks I’m cuter minus 30 pounds and some leg hair. Go find somebody lighter and smoother – we’ll both be happier that way.

    I even had one of these women ask me “Why do you work out?? You already have a husband!” (Obviously, this was when I had a husband.) I wish I could say that I came back with something really sharp to this question. Alas, I just stared at her for a few seconds, slack-jawed, and then muttered something about liking grilled cheese too much to stop running before walking away.

  49. batchfile

    i don’t know what to say.
    i lived with a mentally abusive man, whose little comments about my weight(shortly after childbirth even) made me a fucking lunatic. i didn’t even know what he was doing to me until it was all over but the paperwork(17 years later).
    and in turn each of my girls has started the “i’m fat!” thing in her teens. the youngest just started saying it the week before last, and she’s only 10. and everytime i tell them how they are too skinny that if they don’t eat right they will end up sick.
    and yet half the time i look in the mirror i still cannot stand my 40 year old gut. yet i’m not really fat.
    it ends when anorexia isn’t a fashion statement. it ends when men who would talk like that about and to women FULLY EXPECT to get kicked viciously hard in the nuts EVERYTIME by ANYONE(male or female) who is standing around.

  50. Summer

    “Feminine beauty is a load of pornographic crap.”

    Yes. Yes! I want to embroider this on a pillow and spray paint it on a water tower.

    Thankfully, though I am married, I seldom wonder about my own fuckability from my husband’s perspective. (He does, in fact, fuck me, so I guess the proof is in the idiomatic pudding.)

    Thanks for taking on this issue, Twisty. I wanted to, but couldn’t see through my own outrage to find the words.

  51. Pony

    “…(because, as Pony pointed out, if they’re fat and love themselves they’re in blaming denial, apparently) .”

    That isn’t what I said.

  52. robin

    Rene, you’re right, I shouldn’t have implied that you used that phrase – I will admit the words “men prefer..women…curves” sorta sent me off on a tangent – let’s call it one of my many pet peeves!
    I guess we’d both agree that finding a reasonably healthy weight is a reasonable goal for a woman OR a man, and for most people, extreme thinness or extreme fatness isn’t reasonably healthy.
    And that different body types can be all be appealing to different people.

  53. Nymphalidae

    Let’s take a look at this from a new perspective. There are things that we find attractive because there are very good biological reasons to find them attractive. We are attracted to symmetry, because that is an indication of overall health. Health is a really, really big deal when it comes to attractiveness, and starvation and fatness are not healthy states. There is also sexual selection, which accounts for things like our sexual dimorphism.

    Life revolves around reproduction. We’re simply vehicles for self-replicating molecules that happened to get smart. Culture is the garbage that accumulates when a bunch of smart apes live together for a long time. So purple eye shadow can vary in attractiveness due to cultural changes, but obesity will probably never be attractive.

  54. Pony

    All animals spend a lot of time grooming themselves or grooming others in their tribe. We do that too only add the finesse and tweaks our brains dream up that the bonobos don’t/can’t. Some people want to shave, or pierce, or tatoo. Groups set the demands. If you want to be part of that group, you’ll do what it takes. So I don’t want to wear a Mohawk, or have seven piercings in my tongue. But if you do… Kewl.

  55. Sabre

    I watched this thread from work all day, slamming my little head into the wall because I could not remember my password! Finally, I am home and can comment to my wicked heart’s content.

    I said on Brazen Hussy’s site that what I really wanted to do was slap MIM for her stupidity.

    Having had all day long to think about this, and fume at yet another hapless woman falling for the whole sexbot crap, I have to admit that my gut reaction on wanting to slap her silly is because I know where she comes from.

    I used to live there, sometimes still vacation there (albeit against my will, and damn if that water doesn’t give me the runs!), and have been working long and hard to put it all behind me. With 30 odd years of training on how to be the best sexbot one can be, it’s sometimes hard to remember that I don’t live there anymore. MIM probably doesn’t realize it, but right now, that where she lives.

    But having been there, I recognize her arguments. It’s about health, it’s about caring enough about yourself, it’s about not being depressed and loving ones self.

    I call bullshit.

    It’s about needing some one else’s approval of your damn self. It’s not about health, well being, or any of that. The notion that she’d be worried about Husband if he packed on a few extra pounds? Yeah, that’s the lie people tell themselves so they won’t have to listen to that internal voice that says, “Um, hon? Yeah, it’s your stomach. Could you maybe toss me a sandwich and ditch the fucktard who guilts you not accepting that the machine needs to be fed?”

    And it’s not about refusing to let yourself go. It’s about refusing to let yourself be at peace without someone else telling you that you are okay.

  56. Thalia

    As an artist who draws lots of Goddesses, I gotta say, fer cryin’ out loud, people! There is NOTHING WRONG with beauty or with being beautiful. Being beautiful means being your own glorious imperfect self , skinny or curvy, tiny little short thing or great mountain-woman, whatever. If we all looked the same what fun would that be?

    “Feminine beauty is a load of pornographic crap.” It absolutely IS NOT. Patriarchy’s stupid ideal of what a woman should look like, with all the attendant self-policing, the system of punishments given and rewards withheld, and the division and dismissal of women’s power by turning us against each other IS. But every human has the right to her/his own beauty. Assuming the above means that you have given over the definition of beauty to the Idiots in Charge.

    Sorry to get all kumbayah on yer asses, but we are ALL BEAUTIFUL.

    Gah, this drives me crazy.

  57. inkstains

    You wrote the post we wish we had written.

    But you will find more like-minded responses over at http://inkstains.wordpress.com

    Including from L. at thehomesickhome.blogspot.com, who has followed up on this issue many times, and I must say that when she asked her husband today about why he didn’t take her to the Christmas party, he responded that she talks to much when she drinks! Which I thought was very funny, particularly because I have been following her blog since its inception.

    But you wrote a brilliant post. I absolutely howled.

  58. bellasultane

    I had exactly the same reaction. I wrote about it more extensively here (http://commeo.blogspot.com/2006/03/bugged-false-advertising.html) in case anyone is interested.

    Most of the comments on other sites about this issue have focused on whether it’s okay for women to ‘consider their husbands’ when they make decisions to change their appearances. I think it’s bigger than simply ‘consideration.’

    The idea of ‘false advertising’ implies an exchange relationship where the woman’s appearance is part of the exchange – that, to me, is the most problematic part of the whole thing.

    Sorry if I’m being repetitive – I have comment fatigue and didn’t read all of what was said by others.

  59. Hattie

    I even had one of these women ask me “Why do you work out?? You already have a husband.
    ha ha
    I’ve heard variants of that one over and over.
    And as far as pleasing men goes: what can you do if guys are dreaming about sex with adolescent women all the time, as the vast majority of men of my age that I know are? You just get real tired of them. They love their fantasies, so I go my own way & ignore them.

  60. Pony

    Thalia your work is simply stunning. I immediately thought of The Dinner Party as companion to it.

    Thank you for linking your site.

  61. Pony

    Isn’t it amazing Hattie? Men I know who are my age are with women 20 and 25 years younger. They think nothing of it. I am not talking about movie stars or tycoons. Just ordinary men.

    But on that subject of movie stars, tycoons and ever younger brides, Trump yesterday announced his newest child bride’s delivery of a baby saying “I’m young. I keep young. I produce children”. Kack.

    You and I (and others here of our age) could have a long, long talk about this.

  62. Jezebella

    Nymphalidae: Incorrect. Three random examples:

    Large women (“obese” by our standards) were the models for fertility goddesses in the Neolothic era in the Near East.

    Large women were the height of feminine beauty in Baroque Flanders.

    And they are the height of feminine beauty today, right now, in parts of Africa.

    Extra fat means you can feed a fetus or a nursing baby, and live through brief famine periods.

    Any culture, however, which requires a particular physical attribute for a woman to be fuckable, however, is screwing up the lives of women who don’t meet the standard (too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too boobless, too boobalicious….).

  63. wkiernan

    love is good, e.g.:

    my funny Valentine
    sweet comic Valentine
    you make me smile with my heart
    your looks are laughable
    unphotographical
    still you’re my favorite work of art
    is your figure less than Greek?
    is your mouth a little weak?
    when you open it to speak, are you smart?
    don’t change your hair for me
    not if you care for me
    stay little Valentine
    stay
    each day is Valentine day

  64. Pony

    Stekatz I agree with you about the pharmaceutical industry and the juggernaut of the fad/diet business. But. You may find as you get older your joints, your heart, your arteries and your lungs, not to mention your gall bladder and your digestive system, will most likely pay the price of the extra weight which is usually not troublesome on a person up to about age 40. But it’s doing its damage.

    A lifetime of overweight will put you at higher risk (depending on your genetic makeup) for breast and endometrial cancer too.

    And that’s no junk science.

  65. Delphyne

    “The choice to cultivate an appearance that is opposite to the patriarchally-approved standard of beauty is still a form of conformance to a standard, it’s just a different standard that attracts different folks. Women dieting and exercising to slim down sends one message… women letting their leg hair grow, wearing bandanas and military surplus sends another message. But, make no mistake, both are encoded to attract others.”

    Oh I see, you’re an expert on women. Is that because you are married to one?

    Tell us Finn, what image are you trying to cultivate with the way you dress? Do you shave your legs? Who are you trying to attract?

  66. mrs_enid

    Sweet Jebus! That MIM character wrote a follow-up post intended to clarify what she originally said and clear up any misunderstandings. She just comes off as an even bigger stooge in her follow up.

    http://morphingintomama.typepad.com/morphing_into_mama/2006/03/its_like_a_real.html

    She’d expect her husband to consult with her if he grew a beard? If she wanted to dye her hair blonde she’d clear it with him? Is she fucking kidding? That doesn’t sound like an adult relationship between equals, to me. That sounds like being 15 years old and living at your mom’s house again. I think I’d jump off a bridge if I was stuck in such a controlling, infantalizing relationship.

  67. pslade

    Is MIM concerned about her falling hotass because husband supplies all money to this disgusting superficial family that should have remained childless? Is she just afraid of being left without money and a roof over her head? Do a lot of women (who don’t have financial freedom…an inheritance, marketable skills, work experience) feel this way? I guess it would depend on how much crap husband gives wife about her ‘looks.’ If hotass is that important to husband, wife needs to get big insurance policy before husband has ‘accident.’

    Thinking about ‘looks,’ reminded me…a few years ago a friend and I decided to play a game of sorts (a gender experiment, let’s say)….we were at a mall and decided to play ‘construction workers.’ We’d make comments about the men that passed by…comments about their looks, hair, clothes, whatever. Just like the sterotypical construction worker does during his lunchhour as the women pass by. I believe the male has a much more fragile ego than the female….or we’re simply raised to take comments about our looks and shutup where men are rarely judged on their looks.

    It’s cruel to pick on people’s physical attributes. Unless it’s say, Rush Limbaugh.

  68. kactus

    “…(because, as Pony pointed out, if they’re fat and love themselves they’re in blaming denial, apparently) .”

    That isn’t what I said.

    True. What you said was “Fat acceptance is for deniers and blamers.” So I suppose there is a fine line between acceptance and love, but that line is very thin.

    Fat acceptance, for me, hasn’t been about denial or blame. It has been the difference between loving myself the way I want to, or hating my fat body the way this world wants me to. It’s the difference between being active and engaged in the world or feeling like a fat piece of shit who’s too ashamed to leave the house. It means that I can insist on proper medical care that has nothing to do with my size. And especially it has to do with analyzing the lies, phobias, and prejudices that surround fat in our society. It has meant walking away from the multi-billion-dollar diet and weight loss surgery industry and refusing to contribute another dime to their profits.

    I have neither the energy (just got back from my daughter’s school play) nor the interest in changing your mind, but I would suggest that you check out Big Fat Blog and Big Fat Facts, two websites that exist to counter what seems to be an unhealthy amount of blaming on your part.

  69. slim slow slider

    ooooh Thalia, just have to say Iluuuurve your Athene!!! what a cool site!
    right, back to the blaming.

  70. Kate

    Like Whitebear and Sola, I gave up primping to receive male awe long ago. My average look is like today, when in the grocery store to get my dinner, I am covered with concrete dust, have on my work boots and a black, very dirty and too big, canvas coat on and my hair bungled behind my head in some kind of haphazard ponytail.

    Fact is, I figured out long ago that in order to earn a living and survive in this patriarchy, one has to work fulltime at it. Primping the patriarchy way is indeed a fulltime job, what with tanning salons, nail salons, hair salons, the gym, the clothes boutiques, the mall and whatever else they do.

    I almost ran over a woman like that today with my truck. In a shopping center, prancing from a yellow car was this smallish woman with purple sneakers, light purple tight pants, died purple hair and little yellow handbag and a stupid foo dog with a yellow coat on. Good god and she was heading to some clothing store. She looked at me and kind of pouted as she stepped right in front of the truck and I almost hit the idiot.

    The post about the women lamenting her husband’s disapproval only made me want to scream at her, “And you are still married?? This hasn’t taught you what a trap that institution is?”

    I took time out to raise my children, mostly time alone and I saw women on a daily basis who would and did throw their children’s lives to one side for the sake of having a man. My refusal to do so put me on the ‘do not call’ list of many women my age. I could never figure which one hated me the most; the man or the wife.

    But the men who work for me don’t seem to have a problem doing what I tell them to do. Do you think they’d obey me better if I had a ‘hot ass’ to pique their penises? I mean really.

    Those women who support the notion that a woman’s power lies in tjheir ability to raise penises at first glance are the very ones who hide and grumble under their breath about how they ‘hate men’. They hate the power they willingly hand over as they get on their knees facing squarely at the Great Penis God and beg the question, “How am I today?”

  71. Kate

    Sorry about the misspellings, my daughter is calling for me to pick her up from work and I am trying to post too.

    Gotta go now!

  72. TP

    It’s so easy for me to read the word ‘fat’ and wonder exactly what that means. It’s just as easy to read the word ‘beautiful’ and wonder what that means. It’s all so highly subjective.

    But the intensity of the debate proves more than any words the heart-wrenching trauma these issues raise in women’s deepest souls when invoked. The details of what is or isn’t thin or beautiful seem petty and useless when the point is that women live in a state of constant anxiety about it, even if the anxiety is somewhat dulled by denial or coping mechanisms. And that is not to disparage denial or coping mechanisms, either. Any port in a patriarchal storm, I say.

    And just like finnsmotel, I am slightly disengaged with the turmoil, smug and safe in my apparent cocoon of male privilege. I do care about what I look like, and I do mourn my long-lost heavenly youth, but my looks haven’t been internalized to this dire point my entire life.

    Even the smartest women I know are victimized. It can’t be explained away. I applaud any woman who can live a life less afflicted by it, and wonder what inner strength or training they have enjoyed to help them rise above the crowd.

    The two most frequent words of praise I give my daughter are “smart” and “strong”. I do call her beautiful quite often, but I do it without the same emphasis. It’s just something she is, not something important about her. I’m just hoping we can give her a feminist upbringing.

  73. Christopher

    I sort of agree with Finn, in the sense that any appearence sends some kind of message to people who see it, but I disagree with him, because you can adopt a certain image for reasons that have nothing to do with the message it sends.

    I have long hippy hair and I don’t shave. It’s not because I want people to think of me as a hippy, but because I just don’t like the way I get cut up when I shave, and I don’t want to spend the time to get a haircut.

    I’ve always been baffled by the double standard of beauty in this country. The idea that women should have to shave and put makeup on their faces just to look “normal”, while men don’t have to do anything, is annoying to me. In fact, if men DO put as much effort into their appearence as women are expected to as a matter of course, they’re mocked.

  74. Jodie

    Thalia, I am lusting after your art. Thank you for sharing your site.

    We look how we look. The people that love us will love us whatever happens to our outsides. It’s a terrible thing to believe that someone who loves you now would stop loving you if your outside changed.

  75. Thalia

    Thanks for the compliments, guys. And Pony–thank you for reminding me of Judy Chicago’s work; I’ve got to track me down a great big coffee table book of her stuff one of these days.

  76. Thalia

    Oh, and this is off-topic, but Twisty, the sibling brought Kate Bush’s new album (well new to me) over last night and she has a song on it called “Bertie”. Apparently it’s about her son and the joy he brings her, but the first thing I thought of was that your golden retriever now has a theme song!

  77. Pony

    Yes, it’s more than ok to love yourself, but I think that condition is rare and fleeting for a woman in a patriarchy, and it’s not only the obese woman who struggles with that.

    No. It’s not ok to be obese. No matter how we rationalize.

  78. zuzu

    I see this whole “what will my husband think?” thing on “What Not To Wear” a lot, especially with the haircuts. They cry, they freak out, they moan that their husband will be angry if they cut their hair “short” when all the hairstylist ever does is take off the nasty ends or take out the teasing and the five cans of spray.

    Of course, a lot of women don’t need to have a man to freak about the hair. And it’s never nice hair, it’s always got fifteen inches of split ends. But it seems that their femininity is all wrapped up in their hair length.

  79. Kate

    Hattie says: “And as far as pleasing men goes: what can you do if guys are dreaming about sex with adolescent women all the time, as the vast majority of men of my age that I know are? You just get real tired of them. They love their fantasies, so I go my own way & ignore them.”

    Absolutely. That’s the key so many women can’t seem to find; going your own way. I pity them, they happiness they wish for so much is right there with them.

  80. Frumious B

    it’s a well-documented fact that depressed people are among the world’s most fascinating.

    What? I mean… what? Please tell me you are being sarcastic.. or ironic… or something other than completely romanticizing mental illness which is what it sounds like.

  81. Frumious B

    but please, no more “real women have curves” crap!
    It’s just as much as a cage as “starve yourself thin.”

    Thank you Robin.

    No more anorexia comments, either, and don’t even start with the 12 year old boy comments.

  82. Sunya Harjis

    I want to lop off the heads of almost everyone involved in this thread. Everyone in here sounds like Mandos, coyly boasting and hiding behind a litany of indefensible assumptions. Humanity is one of the homliest of Nature’s mighty works and we are doing our best to pee on everything prettier than we are. Many would see in this a metaphor for male-female relations, but in any event, it’s violently clear that the thing humanity values in its women is not beauty at all.

    It’s obedience! Surprise!

    How does this matter to me, you ask yourself. I already know that. That’s why I’m rockin the work boots and the Jeep!

    Right, but to rock the work boots and the jeep you have internalized notions of what is and is not female. Like Satanists, whose whole deal depends on having Christians around to provide them with a cosmology and an ethics to run backwards, chunk-boot-wearing gals are still balancing on a notion of femininity which lacks perspective and has been written out by the patriarchy. I like to think this is a much cleaner and less turd-like restatement of Finn’s earlier points. You can’t pretend you are unaware of what you should be doing. We all know you know.

    It’s eminently clear that a sunset is much more beautiful than even the hottiest slut; it is also eminently clear that you may do whatever you like with beauty and gender myths as long as you don’t declare that the whole thing is bullshit. As soon as you’re rocking the work boots and the jeep…with a sarong, extra jewelry, and a penis implant… you’re confusing people, and they freak out and call the cops, and your ass gets arrested for public nuisancing or some such. Move to whatever side of the continuum you like, ladies, just remember it’s a criminal offense to step right the fuck off it.

    But that’s exactly what needs to happen to interrupt the terrible circular logic of the beauty culture (I am beautiful because people say I’m beautiful… people say I’m beautiful because I’m beautiful…) Short of interrupting it, beauty standards are yet another fearfully efficient way to cut down on the number of choices that people, especially women, have. I think everyone’s homework for tonight is to meditate on why it might be very useful to have efficient ways to cut down on one’s choices; therein lies at least part of the answer to why beauty (as applied to shaved apes who appeal) is such a pervasive concept and so impossible to unseat.

  83. Lara

    Wow.

    I may have used to think a little like this woman did, about twenty years ago, when I was slim and fit and intolerant and oblivious and drama-prone and almost entirely lacking in true self-respect within my own little privileged world.

    These days, as a fat and disabled parent who has made some sort of effort (though a work in progress) to be aware of the world in which I live – I also have far, far more self-respect than ever before.

    Guess people like us don’t fit into the neat-plucked trophy-wife mold: we’re overflowing all over the place. And people like her will continue to refuse to conceive of two unrelated facts: (a) I’m getting plenty, however you define it (love, sex, whatever, take your pick); and far more importantly (b) I am, at essence, happy, despite the world being increasingly unbefuckinglievably demented and sad.

  84. jc.

    True story. Whenever my wife complains about the 20 kilos I´ve put on since I stopped smoking (I don´t claim that the 2 things are related except in time) I just blame the patriarchy.

  85. Twisty

    “I want to lop off the heads of almost everyone involved in this thread.”

    Sunya’s been reading “How To Make Friends And Influence People” again.

  86. mrs_enid

    Sunya:

    Why are you assuming that everyone who posted in this thread is rocking work boots and a jeep? I wear make up and work out to stay physically fit. I also paint my nails sometimes. However, I also have super short hair and run around in jeans and Chuck Taylors most of the time. Not everyone feels the need to define themselves against a rigid patriarchal standard of beauty (or conform to it, either). Not everyone gets dressed in the morning with the intent of either pissing off or pleasing strange men on the street. I don’t presume to speak for anyone but myself, but I go about my day giving less than two shits about what strange men on the street or a larger, patriarchal society think about me. I’m sure I’m not alone in that too.

  87. SharonC

    Pony said: “No. It’s not ok to be obese. No matter how we rationalize.”

    No. It’s not ok to be obese. No matter how we rationalize.

    No. It’s not ok to be skinny. No matter how we rationalize.

    No. It’s not ok to be tall. No matter how we rationalize.

    No. It’s not ok to be short. No matter how we rationalize.

    No. It’s not ok to be bald. No matter how we rationalize.

    No. It’s not ok to have freckles. No matter how we rationalize.

  88. finnsmotel

    Rock the work boots and the Jeep.

    Cruise the Chuck Taylors and butch crop.

    It’s all good with me. (I’m rockin the bald crown…)

    Oh, and to reply…

    “Tell us Finn, what image are you trying to cultivate with the way you dress? Do you shave your legs? Who are you trying to attract?”

    Mine is a basic, boring, midwestern 40 year old guy look, meant to allow me to blend in as much as possible on a daily basis, keeping attention away from me and on others, so I might slip past unharmed. I hate it, but hey, the patriarchy runs this place and I need some money for vacation.

    Seriously… My point is simply that, in this day and age, any “look” is cultivated and none of them necessarily propels us above (or below) the fray. Consciously or not, we create an appearance that attracts who we want (and in some of your cases, that turns out to be nobody) and repels those we don’t want.

    If you’re doin’ it to assimilate with the patriarchy or if you’re doin’ it to rebel against, you’re still giving it value. I think we all do it and I believe it to be an inherant human trait, being that we have eyes and all that.

    We are aware of each other’s visual appearance.

    If we use it to unfairly judge someone, then I think it’s a bad thing. But, make no mistake about it, we do “buy in” or “buy out” on people all day, every day, based on how they look. Case in point.

    “In a shopping center, prancing from a yellow car was this smallish woman with purple sneakers, light purple tight pants, died purple hair and little yellow handbag and a stupid foo dog with a yellow coat on. Good god and she was heading to some clothing store.”

    That seems just as unfair as snickering at a gal in a jeep and boots.

    But, back to the original point about “bait and switch” or “false advertising.”

    If you see relationships as part emotion and part negotiation of needs (and I do)…

    When you enter into a relationship with someone, it seems to me inherant that your appearance and theirs is part of the negotiation. You may not speak about it, and you may claim not to be conscious of it, but if you’re not blind, you both have taken inventory of one another. To declare otherwise is bullshit of one flavor or another.

    If one of the two of you changes your appearance such that your partner feels you’ve crossed a boundary, the relationship will be in danger. Unless your partner is Mother Theresa and the aura of sainthood glows about their skull, a radical change in physical appearance is probably going to cause a shakeup.

    Now, should we blame the patriarchy for this? In many cases, probably. Is my balding arse unfairly benefitting from being a male? Probably. Is my wife unfairly stuck with a balding arse, when she could be out with one of you rocking the boot and jeep? Well, I’ll leave that to her to decide.

  89. hedonistic

    I read The Beauty Myth cover-to-cover two nights before my plastic surgery (breast reduction and selective removal of the effects of my heritage; i.e., facial fat). I needed to remind myself why I was doing it: To look even thinner than I already was. I had two chief motivators at the time: An autoimmune disease that caused my hair to fall out in clumps, and the loss of a long-time relationship with a man (I suspect these two losses were related). My decision to have plastic surgery had something to do with controlling the parts of my body I felt I COULD control, meaning, if I were destined to be bald and man-less, at least I could have a pretty face and perky boobies.

    I took out a second mortgage on my home to pay for it.

    These comments hit home for me: That we are discussing social class as much as much as we are discussing beauty. Robin’s comment about Game Theory. Our societal worth as consumable/disposable commodities. I will probably blog about this soon, as I’m careening toward my 40th birthday and facing choices: Just how far am I willing to go to remain “fuckable?.” Just how important IS the approving male gaze anyway?

    Unfortunately, where I roll, it’s very important.

    GAH.

    White Bear sums my dilemma up perfectly: “As long as self-worth is bound up with heterosexual intercourse, beauty (as defined by men) remains a means to an identity.”

  90. Delphyne

    “Right, but to rock the work boots and the jeep you have internalized notions of what is and is not female. Like Satanists, whose whole deal depends on having Christians around to provide them with a cosmology and an ethics to run backwards, chunk-boot-wearing gals are still balancing on a notion of femininity which lacks perspective and has been written out by the patriarchy. I like to think this is a much cleaner and less turd-like restatement of Finn’s earlier points. You can’t pretend you are unaware of what you should be doing. We all know you know.”

    Work boots don’t require knowledge of what is and isn’t feminine, more like a knowledge of what is and isn’t comfortable. Men seem to manage to wear them quite easily without needing a section of their brethren tottering around in high heels to show them the way. And of course we know what the patriarchy thinks we “should” be doing – THAT”S WHY WE”RE FEMINISTS.

  91. finnsmotel

    “Work boots don’t require knowledge of what is and isn’t feminine, more like a knowledge of what is and isn’t comfortable.”

    For evidence that men rock the work boot for more than just comfort, see Carhart. It’s a brand name that has become synonymous with ‘hard ass’. Like women chasing the ultimate pumps, men will pay twice as much for the label.

  92. Pony

    Hedonistic

    I wish I’d had the courage to do what you did, at your age. I should have had breast reduction surgery long ago. I have back, shoulder and neck pain (from size 35 FF breasts on a 5 ft 2 ” normal weight body. You may not have those problems now, but I’ll bet you would have, soon. So I wouldn’t beat yourself up to much over your need to meet someone’s idea of female beauty. Your health is a factor too.

    To the boot wearers: we don’t all wear boots to look butch. I have foot deformaties (as well as the boobs heh) and that’s the only thing will hold my orthotics and build-ups. But now that my hair has fallen out too, I can’t tell you! Everyone has prejudices and stereotypes we’ve all got to fit into.

  93. Dr.Sue

    MIM’s displeasure with her child seems to me to be of a piece with her buying into the patriarchal beauty myth. The baby is ugly and causes her inconvenience and is therefore rejectable. (I do understand that she’s not literally rejecting the kid, but that is the sentiment she expresses.) There’s no sense that there is a unique person in there who can be loved for qualities other than conventional adorableness. I feel sorry for the whole family.

    Terry, as a therapist I’ve seen couples who are struggling with loss of sexual desire due to changed appearance for various reasons. It’s a complicated issue. We often don’t have control over our sexual responses. What is important is that couples see this as a shared issue–not that one partner has to whip herself into shape to be fuckable, but that both partners are seen as valued, autonomous people who are committed to working things out within a loving and respectful relationship. This often entails the non-desiring partner exploring and altering his or her own cultural and familial issues. I wish you good luck.

  94. Chris Clarke

    If I may pipe up to unconstructively muddy the waters a bit on a trivial side issue, I’ll confess to being bemused at the notion that all men find work-boot-wearing women in Jeeps somehow unattractive, or, for that matter, unfeminine – whatever that last means.

  95. Pony

    SharonC

    Obesity is a health problem.

  96. shannon w.

    And so is being skinny. http://www.bigfatfacts.com/

  97. Ron Sullivan

    Finnsmotel, you’re making me giggle here. I wear Carhartt jeans (not work boots, though if they were more comfortable for me than the sneakers and sandals I usually wear I wouldn’t hesitate) and so does Joe. In fact, we share the same pile of jeans for the last, oh, eight years? Carhartts because the make a style we both find comfortable, the ones with loose-fitting stovepipe legs.

    Sometimes I wear long skirts and boots instead. Dress pants are just a pain in the ass to find in my size, and Tienda Ho! has great sales racks. I’d probably wear skirts more often if the driveway weren’t a morass of stinky mud all winter. They’re much easier to buy. When I’m in a skirt, Joe’s usually wearing his dress pants, which are Dickies.

    I started wearing Carhartts — the painter’s jeans, in white — decades ago, when I was a nurse, because they had all those handy pockets. Just got to be a habit. So to speak. Hard ass? Well, I was scary enough then to make small children bawl on sight. But they told me afterwards that I gave good shots, too. Go figure.

  98. acm

    “What do do they get out of being married to men who think they are judges in a beauty contest? What?”

    well, the validation that they are the contest winners!

    but of course, one would prefer an existance in which other sorts of validation were available and sufficient. damned patriarchy!!

  99. Delphyne

    “If I may pipe up to unconstructively muddy the waters a bit on a trivial side issue, I’ll confess to being bemused at the notion that all men find work-boot-wearing women in Jeeps somehow unattractive, or, for that matter, unfeminine – whatever that last means.”

    And we’re back to the main question again. Who cares whether men find this unattractive or not? Why should this matter to anybody except the man himself? Why does he feel the need to let everybody else know?

    Men fetishise everthing women do, everything. Sometimes I can’t help thinking you’re a bunch of weirdoes.

  100. Delphyne

    “Mine is a basic, boring, midwestern 40 year old guy look, meant to allow me to blend in as much as possible on a daily basis, keeping attention away from me and on others, so I might slip past unharmed. I hate it, but hey, the patriarchy runs this place and I need some money for vacation.”

    That doesn’t answer my question. You were making stupid pronouncements about how everything a woman wears is intended to attract someone. I’m asking who you are trying to attract.

    “Seriously… My point is simply that, in this day and age, any “look” is cultivated and none of them necessarily propels us above (or below) the fray. Consciously or not, we create an appearance that attracts who we want (and in some of your cases, that turns out to be nobody) and repels those we don’t want.”

    How about the idea that some people dress for comfort? Maybe you are trying to attract the work-booted guy, but I’m not. I’m trying to keep warm.

    “Is my wife unfairly stuck with a balding arse, when she could be out with one of you rocking the boot and jeep?”

    What do you mean “one of you”?

  101. gypsypeach

    Oh, you know what? Just LIVE, people. Bodies, like all living things, grow and change and wither and expand and contract. The experiences we have with the bodies we’ve got can be painful, but the journey is long and life- and the way you live it- is what you make it.

    Look, I’ve been clinically depressed. I’ve been skinny. I’ve been fat. I’ve had six therapists, and I am only 26. I spent the better part of a decade beating myself up about food and body image and the little number on the tag in my jeans. Now, To quote Margaret Cho, “I’m on the Fuck It diet. If I want to eat something, I say, ‘Fuck it!’ and eat it. This works well with the Fuck That Shit exercise plan.”

    Right now I have no idea what I weigh. It’s probably more than 200 pounds. I have an excellent partner with whom I have extremely hot sex. I feel very loved by him and am very loving to him in return. But all of that- my sexuality, my body, my hair, my identity- is NOT advertising, because I’m not selling any of it. My personhood is not a commodity. I am not for sale.

    About a year ago, I heard Maya Angelou read at a local college. She read a short vignette that I have yet to find printed anywhere, so this is an approximate quote, “My man is BLACK. MMMM mmm, like sucking chocolate from the bone./ My woman is FAT, and every time she laughs, a skinny woman loses her home.”

    At this point, I just look at all these skinny chicks lamenting over the Principles of Their Diminshing Hotness and laugh and laugh and laugh. Oh, and if your husband doesn’t want to take you out in public because you’ve gained weight? DO NOT PUT HIS DICK IN YOUR MOUTH. That should take care of some of it.

  102. Nymphalidae

    “Extra fat means you can feed a fetus or a nursing baby, and live through brief famine periods.”

    Right. But that’s not what I’m talking about. By “obese” I don’t mean some extra padding. By “obese” I mean “Can barely waddle into the China Buffet”.

  103. Bixi

    My second ever post on this blog!

    I haven’t shaved my legs in six years. Most of the time I think nothing about this; I really don’t notice at all. I stopped shaving my legs because in high school I met another fourteen-year-old girl who told me, and I believed, that she genuinely did not give a damn what others thought about her abundantly hairy legs. I was so stunned by her utter un-self-consciousness that I vowed to let my leg hair grow if I ever felt so confident and unencumbered. One day I was ready, and I never picked up a razor (for that part of my body) again.

    This year I’m trying not to shave my armpits, either, and it’s much harder, in a way I find illustrative. I’m constantly aware of that part of my body, I wonder what people think about me, I find it impossible to do backbends in yoga class without being preoccupied. It’s counterintuitive — in order to let go and feel free, I must first conform. I feel like my hairy legs give me an incredible gift — through them I know, absolutely, that what others think of me is their problem, not mine. But with my armpits I’m still stuck taking on responsibility for others’ reactions and assumptions.

    I feel very lucky in that when I was nineteen, I worked for a summer as a deck hand on an 104-foot pungy schooner. Since being fit — a good thing — often equates with being thin, aspiration to thinness in our culture has a convenient cover. But on the boat what mattered was strength — ability to haul on lines. That was it. That and quick facility with knots. It was utterly incredible. To be in a culture where being too thin and trying to vanish your body gains you not an ounce of power — where, in fact, is a hindrance to getting your work done and gaining your shipmates’ trust and respect — is a profoundly radical experience. Yes, we had culturally validated standards on our ship, but they were healthy, and it felt so good. I wish that every human being has the chance, at some point, to experience such an environment.

    I revere the women at my gym who do not shave at all. They take my breath away. Every time I see them, I realize what glory other women are denying themselves, how little and inobtrusive they are trying to make themselves.

  104. FamousSovietAthlete

    MIM’s husband writes:

    Suffice it to say she’s proven to be intelligent, resilient, inquisitive, and loyal.

    But does she hump your leg and piss on the floor when you get home from work?

  105. Pony

    No Shannon W. Anoexia is the health problem you’re looking for as analagous to obesity.

  106. Hattie

    Somewhere or other, and I’m too lazy to look up the article, there was a study showing that parents are nicer to good looking children than to plain children.
    Of course I’m a sentimental fool for babies and small children,and I think they’re all cute, but I surmise that most do not share my fondness for tiny ones.

  107. Hattie

    Con’t: I’ve learned to be careful around hostile young mothers, though, who take offense at my interest in their babies!

  108. Pony

    That’s ANOREXIA is the health problem that is the polar opposite of obesity.

    http://www.obesityresearch.org/cgi/content/full/11/4/493

    Obesity Research 11:493-495 (2003)
    © 2003 The North American Association for the Study of Obesity
    Perspective
    Are We Addicted to Food?
    Angelo Del Parigi*, Kewei Chen{dagger}, Arline D. Salbe*, Eric M. Reiman{dagger} and P. Antonio Tataranni*

    * Clinical Diabetes and Nutrition Section, National Institutes of Health, Phoenix, Arizona; and
    {dagger} PET Research Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona.

    Address correspondence to Angelo Del Parigi, MD, Clinical Diabetes and Nutrition Section, National Institutes of Health, 4212 N. 16th St., Rm. 541, Phoenix, AZ 85016. E-mail: adelpari@mail.nih.gov

    Introduction

    As the battle of the bulge seems headed toward becoming the “culture war of the new century,” with state legislatures discussing and/or passing bills to ban “junk food” from schools and trial lawyers gearing up to file lawsuits against the food industry, much as they did against the tobacco industry (1) (2) , it is very likely that the scientific community will come under increasing pressure to answer the question of why we eat so much.

    Rare forms of obesity caused by defects of the energy homeostasis regulatory mechanisms operating in the subconscious brain have been described in animals and humans (3) . However, eating is as much a means of achieving energy balance as it is a form of pleasure and reward. This makes the drive to eat one of the most powerful urges of animal and human behavior.

    Reward, Addiction, and Food

    The behavioral outcome of a reward is in making subjects “come back for more” by conditioning the approach and consumption activity to the hedonic feelings derived from the anticipation and attainment of the desired object (4) .

    The parallel between drug dependence, which is the condition originally defined as addiction, and overeating, which leads to obesity, may not seem immediately apparent. Addiction is a chronically relapsing disorder characterized by compulsion to seek and take the drug; loss of control in limiting intake of the drug; and onset of a negative emotional state (e.g., anxiety, irritability) when access to the drug is prevented (i.e., dependence) (5) . In addicted drug users, craving is elicited by exposure to drug-related cues, which may trigger a relapse. A similar behavior characterizes the craving for food in overeaters (6) . It is known that eating disorders tend to cluster with drug and alcohol abuse in individuals and families (6) , and common neural circuits are thought to underlie food and drug rewards, including opioid (7) (8) (9) , serotoninergic (8) (9) , and dopaminergic pathways (8) (9) (10) . It has been proposed that the dopaminergic brain circuitry underlying addictions originally developed to subserve eating behavior (11) . However, whereas food is the most common and natural source of pleasure in everyday life and the neurophysiology of reward in humans has been extensively studied in the context of drug abuse (12) , little is known about how the human brain specifically processes food reward.

    Role of Dopamine in Modulating Eating Behavior

    Four major dopaminergic pathways have been described: the nigro-striatal from the substantia nigra to the dorsal striatum; the tubero-infundibular from the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus to the pituitary stalk; the mesolimbic from the ventral tegmental area to the limbic and paralimbic areas; and the mesocortical from the ventral tegmental area to the neocortex, especially the prefrontal cortex (13) . The central effects of dopamine are mediated by five subtypes of dopamine receptors that are primarily involved in the control of movement, pleasure/reward, and neuroendocrine regulation of the pituitary gland (13) (14) . The receptor most convincingly associated with energy balance is the dopamine receptor subtype 2 (DRD2)1 (15) (16) (17) . Drugs acting on dopamine receptors can alter eating behavior. However, this effect is complex, as indicated by the inverted U-shape of the relationship between food intake and brain dopaminergic activity (18) .

    {…}

    Conclusions

    Do we have enough new evidence from neurofunctional and other studies to begin to suspect that human obesity is predominantly an addictive disorder characterized by compulsive eating? We cannot say for sure, as yet. Some critical steps needed to further our understanding include establishing [as preliminary data seem to suggest (31) ] whether dopamine is released in response to food ingestion in humans (as it is in animals) and establishing the pathophysiological meaning of selective neurophysiological differences between obese and lean individuals. This may be accomplished by studying the brain and its dopaminergic pathways in individuals at high risk for the disease before they gain weight and become frankly obese. Nevertheless, we contend that more research on the role of the brain in the etiology of weight gain may help us understand if the current epidemic of obesity, which we are helplessly watching spread around the world, is a global case of food addiction.

  109. finnsmotel

    “You were making stupid pronouncements about how everything a woman wears is intended to attract someone. I’m asking who you are trying to attract.”

    Ouch. In my case, it’s more of a camoflauge (sp?). Just gettin by…

    “What do you mean “one of you”?”

    I mean one of the folks claiming to ‘rock the boot’. If that’s you, then rock on.

  110. Chris Clarke

    And we’re back to the main question again. Who cares whether men find this unattractive or not?

    Oh, I completely agree, Delphyne, and I sure didn’t mean to imply it was the main question, which is pretty much why I called it a trivial side issue when I made the comment.

    The assumption is just odd to me in addition to being oppressive, is all.

  111. Delphyne

    “In my case, it’s more of a camoflauge (sp?). Just gettin by…”

    But that couldn’t possibly be the case for women. According to you they *must* be trying to attract someone.

    “I mean one of the folks claiming to ‘rock the boot’.”

    I haven’t seen anyone claiming to do this.

  112. TP

    I dress and look the way I do for 2 reasons: Health and camouflage. I blame the patriarchy. I got tired at some point for being beat up for being different.

    When you are young and pretty, showing off and trying to bend the rules of beauty to reflect some small part of you is fun. You desire, and you want to be desirable. When you get older you have a choice between trying to pretend you are still young and want sex all the time or getting some dignity and taking it as it comes, if it comes at all.

    But sex has never been more breathlessly overrated than today. I blame the…

  113. finnsmotel

    “According to you they *must* be trying to attract someone.”

    See post 29 and stop biting my tits.

    “I mean one of the folks claiming to ‘rock the boot’.” – “I haven’t seen anyone claiming to do this.”

    Then you haven’t read all the posts on this topic. There were at least two. And i say unto them, Rock the Boot!

  114. Delphyne

    “See post 29 and stop biting my tits.”

    Hmm, first of all you make a sexist statement and now you’re being rude and sexist. You’re doing well.

  115. Jezebella

    One person’s “extra padding” is another’s “disgusting pig”. Kelly Ripa on that morning show, aka Skeletor, thinks she’s “fat.” The medical guidelines for “obese” change regularly. “Fat” in Manhattan is different from “fat” in Mississippi.

    Pony’s clearly got the bee in her bonnet about obesity: Pony, please stop preaching at us. We’ve all heard it before. Twenty-four/seven, in all media, at all frequencies.

    Thin and fuckable is a constantly moving target, on purpose I think, so women who worry about it are never, never, NEVER secure in their status. Best to keep us striving for an impossible goal than trying to rule the world, eh?

  116. finnsmotel

    “Hmm, first of all you make a sexist statement and now you’re being rude and sexist. You’re doing well.”

    Ok, then bite my tits if you must. Jeez… is this about the Carhartt stuff? If so, I apologize.

  117. deb

    Ironically for personal reasons regarding my “profession,” i’m not interested in weighing in on the “obesity-is-a disease-no-it-isn’t” debate. Suffice it to say that this argument has been going on in this country (and, pretty much, ONLY in this country) for at least the last 150 years. You kids ain’t gonna resolve it today, because it isn’t a simple either/or question, no matter how many journals or blogs you cite.

    Instead, to circle back to the original post here, I wondered what you all thought of the construction of motherhood at this website: http://momsinthecity.ca/

  118. Delphyne

    “Ok, then bite my tits if you must. Jeez… is this about the Carhartt stuff? If so, I apologize.”

    No it’s about you making stupid-ass statements about women and then throwing round a sexist word like “tits”. What’s wrong with you?

  119. Betsy

    Jody said in #74:

    “We look how we look. The people that love us will love us whatever happens to our outsides. It’s a terrible thing to believe that someone who loves you now would stop loving you if your outside changed.”

    I guess that’s why I enjoy non-romantic relationships more. Physical attraction is just not a primary factor in friendship; parenthood; aunt/niece bonding; affection between siblings; or any of the numerious other ways that people can love, like, or care for each other.

    But of course, the one type of relationship that our society regards as “real,” worthy of formal validation, carrying with it rights and privileges, and acknowledged by such benefits as health insurance, social security, survivor’s benefits, and so on, is of course, the hetero-romantic relationship

    As long as this is the case, women will be the sex class and will, by and large, tend to concern themselves with their attractiveness to the other sex to a degree they would not if they could get those bennies some other way.

    (How many of us would give a damn about men if we could get health insurance through our best friend?)

  120. Hattie

    Oh, dieting is a big deal in European countries. Chic French women smoke like fiends, eat like birds, and take laxatives to maintain their “silhouettes.” The big mama is way out of style in the Latin countries now, too. And Japanese women are very careful not to put on extra pounds. These are countries where the birthrate is at replacement levels or lower. I think the style for thinness in women relates to the current unpopularity of reproduction. In the 50′s voluptuousness was “in,” as it was for most of human history. But now we’re so overpopulated that the sight of a fecund looking woman arouses disgust in many.

  121. finnsmotel

    “a sexist word like “tits”. What’s wrong with you?”

    I’m a male. With tits.

  122. Ms Kate

    While health issues may be a “smokescreen” for fat hate in many cases, the poster Terry mentioned a huge CHANGE in weight.

    140 lbs of weight gain in two years is alarming – not because the person becomes “fat”, but because it can be a signal for a number of valid health problems, from undiagnosed diabetes (my own father experienced this) to various sorts of adrenal system disorders and cancers.

    Changes in appearance are less the deal than the obvious short-term change itself – if you suddenly turned yellow, for instance, you’d be damn unattractive but that would not be a concern. If your hair fell out for no reason, our society would not approve but again, it might be a good idea to see if there was some important time-bomb like reason for it rather than simply get a bald is beautiful T-shirt. Bald is beautiful, but “suddenly” bald is a different ball game. Just because the sudden and obvious change happens to be a weight gain doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered to be worrysome because “fat acceptance” says fat is okay.

    If you ignore the sudden change part because you adhere to an alternative dogma rather than the dominant dogma, you may be being controlled beyond good sense and your best interests.

  123. deb

    Hattie,

    I never said that women in other countries aren’t obsessed with diet and weight. Of course they are. What I said was that the debate over the relative health risks associated with obesity and the attendent concerns about disease categorization of being overweight is a long-running issue in American medicine. Other countries, for whatever reasons, have not had the same kinds of medical debates about the relationship between weight and health.

    I would also argue that your assertions about “the rest of human history” are just not true. Sure, Kate Moss standards of thinness are relatively new. And, it’s astounding that the post-WWII US has become a society (likely the first) where it is literally cheaper to be fat than it is to be thin. Things have gotten extreme. I agree with you there.

    But, though many like to think that “it used to be desirable to be fat, because it showed [insert whatever here] but now, because of [insert whatever here,] voluptuousness is not valued,” this estimation of human history is far too simplistic. As I write this, I have a text on my desk from 1757 entitled “Discourse on the nature, causes, and cure of corpulency,” which asserts that obesity is a disease, and one that is growing in prevalence at an alarming rate.

  124. ryan

    just goes to show that the only good woman is a bald lesbian, preferably fluffy.

  125. Jezebella

    “moms in the city” – well, it’s expensive and a tad bourgeois, isn’t it? But at least they are getting out of the house. Maybe they should hang out with non-moms, though, because I bet all they talk about, even on walking tours, is poop and puke.

    I’m fond of Hip Mama and their Breeder anthology: http://www.hipmama.com

  126. hedonistic

    OK, I’ll bite: I’m bald, and lesbianism is starting to look reeeeel good to me right now, should be an easy switch. But please, how do I get get fluffy? What is fluffy? Can I buy it and have it injected someplace?

    Damn, it appears that now I wanna be the “perfect lesbian.”

    Somebody please shoot me.

  127. ryan

    Well, you can buy Fluff, which could lead to fluffy, but then there are dietary hurdles like Candida or a fast metabolism. It’s too bad that you want to be a “perfect lesbian” because it seems impossible to be perfect, but we should all stive to “better.”

  128. Ms Kate

    Fluffy?

    No. I’m not fluffy. Not with my biceps and quads I’m not.

    I’m THICK.

  129. BCollie49

    “But does she hump your leg and piss on the floor when you get home from work?”

    Bwahahahahahaha! Famous Sovient Athlete – thanks for the laugh out loud comment!

    Delphyne – I loved your “who cares whether men find this attractive” comment. I also love your name, which happens to be part of my email address. Now I know why I couldn’t use it when logging in here (I then chose BCollie in memory of my beloved Border Collie, Lucy – she and I shared similar traits – smart and bossy, although she had it all over me in the smart department!) However, reading some of your comments is like reading something I would write and have written elsewhere! Great to meet another Delphyne!

  130. Cast Iron Balcony

    …and resents that, according to cultural narrative, she is supposed to be “in love” with her mewling infant. Which infant, if he looked when he was born anything like my newborn nieces did upon their natal days, resembled nothing so much as an undercooked brisket.

    Twisty, you seem to be saying that the demand for wives to be good looking in order to be lovable is wrong, but children need to be beautiful before you can love them.

  131. hedonistic

    I just re-read Twisty’s post:

    “a young woman in delicious contrapposto . . .”

    Woman, your writing rocks.

  132. kathy a

    MIM’s blog just leaves me astonished, especially the false advertising bit, and the weird devotion to staying hot. in 15 years, she’ll be 50, and it is possible that hot flashes will be higher on the list of concerns; her kid will be in the ravages of adolescence, and that’s a whole different kind of hotness in parenthood.

    time does march on. before too long, we’ll all be doddering fools, should we be so lucky — so do we spend the time fretting about hot looks, or doing all the other stuff?

  133. Branjor

    Good catch, Cast Iron Balcony.

  134. thebewilderness

    I love everyone on this thread, although Sunya is right about the patriarchy chopping off their heads for for failing to realize that OBEDIENCE is the only issue.
    I have been laughing and reading bits out loud to my 81 year old mum this past half hour. I like you all very much.

  135. zuzu

    “False advertising” is, say, putting up a ten-year-old photo on your personal ad, in which you were vastly more attractive and had a lot more hair, and failing to mention that it’s a bit dated.

    I’ve had that happen to me a time or two, and while I nonetheless found the person I met to be physically attractive, I had been deceived, and I could not in good conscience continue to see that person.

    By contrast, aging in full view of one’s partner is not false advertising.

  136. thebewilderness

    Of course, I love Twisty best.

  137. Kate

    “I think everyone’s homework for tonight is to meditate on why it might be very useful to have efficient ways to cut down on one’s choices; therein lies at least part of the answer to why beauty (as applied to shaved apes who appeal) is such a pervasive concept and so impossible to unseat.”

    I think your homework might be to let go of some of the assumptions you seem to make about all the women who post on this blog. You won’t be touching my head honey.

    I work for a living. I live to work. I have spent most of my adult life poor for reasons mostly linked to the patriarchy. I care not to elaborate further, I have in other posts.

    I have no time to give a rat’s fart about what I wear, except that it safely cover my body parts from cold, wind, gawking fools or frightening young folks and that it doesn’t get caught up in a saw, get in my way or up my ass.

    Oh and being disposable because most of my work clothes last only a few months as they get ripped and generally beaten to hell pretty quickly.

    When not working, functional comes to mind, comfort again. Clean, matching, ironed and basic usually makes it for anything requiring some modicum of social interaction beyond the jobsite.

    So don’t lecture me about ‘homework’ or ‘knockin the work boots’ thing. I wear Doc Marten shoes for inside finish work because they are comfortable and have non-marking soles and are the only shoes I know that will last for years of daily wear.

    I have three different pairs of work boots, steel toed, all costing over $100,00, which may not be much to some here, but I haven’t bought showy women’s shoes in years, so I don’t know the trends. Steel toes have saved my feet often from lumber falling from sawhorse.

    Style my ass. I could give a fig about what some guy thinks about my digs. I want to live well and relax when I am sixty and on my own hard earned dime.

    As for Finnsmotel: Yes, I guess you might say I have a message with what I wear:

    “Leave me the fuck alone I’m busy.”

  138. shannon w.

    You get anorexic by starving yourself to death on purpose. It’s a serious mental illness. A good minority of America is obese. They aren’t ‘addicted’ to food, they might eat it, but seriously, even if most of those people starved themselves for a year, they’d not lose enough to be acceptable, and then they’d probably gain it back and more. And of course, most of us are overweight. So you’re fighting a losing battle. You can yell all you want, say we’re all going to die of terrible diseases, but that’s not going to do anything. So make the choices you like, and don’t bother the rest of us.

  139. bitchphd

    I’m late to this thread, but allow me to put forward a hypothesis:

    The “I’m not going to let myself become one of those mommies” thing–and before I go any further, let me say that I had, and still have, some hangups about that–is not unrelated to the “I’m going to stay hot” thing.

    A big part of women’s fear of motherhood is a fear of no longer being a Woman, in the sense of woman = sex class. It’s not all of it–a lot of it is probably also bound up in the no longer being free & easy & independent stuff too–but it’s surely part of it. Because Mommies, as we all know, are not Women: they are Mommies. They wear frumpy clothes, and they talk too much about their children, and they’re tired all the time, and they have boring haircuts, and they aren’t interesting at parties, and they don’t care about sex or movies or pop culture (except to criticize it for being bad for children) or any of the other wonderful things about the modern patriarchy, and they are No Fun At All.

    And no one wants to be Like That. So, you get pregnant, and you swear that you are not going to let the baby change you: you’ll still be fun, you’ll still go out for drinks with your friends, you’ll still be independent and interesting, and you absolutely will never, ever force pictures of your kid on anyone or talk about boring kid stuff.

    Isn’t a lot of that itself kind of the fault of the Patriarchy? I don’t think it’s so surprising that a Cool Mom who isn’t really all that into the shitty parts of motherhood (and yeah, they are shitty, of course they are, in part because they deprive us of the important things that define coolness under patriarchy) is also gonna be hung up on proving that she’s still a socially approved member of the sex class.

  140. Frumious B

    http://www.bigfatfacts.com/

    One of my hobbies is keeping up with healthfraud. Everyone should try it. It really hones your critical thinking skills. This website is a good place to start.

    First, it lists a lot facts but many lack cites to studies to back them up. There are some references at the bottom, but no footnotes in the text to tell you if the facts stated actually come from those references or not. Example:

    One oft-cited study has found 95% of people who diet to lose weight put it back on within two to three years.

    and which study would that be?

    Some of the facts cited are misleading. Example:

    Of the ten types of cancer commonly associated with obesity, deaths from nine — pancreatic, ovarian, gall bladder, stomach, prostate, kidney, colo-rectal, cervical-uterine, and breast — have decreased since 1992. Only one — pancreatic cancer — has shown an increase in mortality.

    Death is not the only statistic. They say nothing about morbidity (ie, illness). Mortality may be down (although there is no reference, so the authors may have made this up), but that implies nothing about rates of diagnosis. The reason for the decrease in mortality, if there is, in fact, such a decrease, may be improved screening and treatment.

    There is conflation of issues.

    An estimated 25,000 people die from obesity. Moderately overweight people live longer than those at normal weight. (Flegal, et. al.)

    Moderately overweight != obese. Note the only text reference in the entire page.

    And finally, the conspiracy theory:

    Nearly all the warnings about obesity are based on statistical conjecture made by those with the most to gain from the claims.

    Yeah, those medical researchers at the NIH and the Mayo Clinic really stand a lot to gain. Me, I’m a paid shill for big pharma myself. That’s why I’m responding.

    In summary, while this page is a fine exercise for people looking to hone their bs detection skills, it fails as a source of accurate health information.

  141. pslade

    You know something….whatever a woman does, in the eyes of patriarchy, it is WRONG. Become a mother and lose that hotass….WRONG! Stay single and you’re an Old Maid….WRONG! Be a lesbian and the religious freaks will come after you…WRONG! Be a black woman….WRONG…just because patriarchy is inherently racist. It doesn’t matter….no matter what a woman does, it’s wrong in some sort of patriarchial spin.

    We’re too slutty or too prim. We’re too educated thus overbearing…. or not educated enough for that job posting at our employer’s…but once we get the college degree…voila, we are over qualified. No matter what we do, what we wear, what we say, what we feel….fucking whatever, we are always wrong.

    So I say embrace all that wrongness….and do whatever the hell you want! Be free….and fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

    Doesn’t anyone wear sweatpants w/ a t-shirt anymore…with sneakers? Shit, it’s the ultimate in comfort. Like pjs. My entire wardrobe is elastic waisted…WRONG! But oh so comfy for those little extra pounds acquired from feta cheese and Swiss chocolates…

    However, it’s never wrong to blame…

  142. ozma

    I guess I missed all the fun.

    When I was young and hot, I was afraid to date and was absolutely certain I would never get married. I discovered later about the patriarchy and all that but I reacted and rebelled to the phenomena without knowing its name. I have some traumatic memories of college and the crazy sexism I encountered there–which I didn’t label sexism until a few years in. Just sort of thought ‘Men: It seems very inadvisable to love one.’ My friends, hot girls all, thought something terrible must have happened to me. It never occurred to them I might have a point. Until later, of course. Much later.

    When I read that entry, I remember that it was precisely the assumption that the story there would be my life that kept me from any meaningful relationship. (That, and the fact I was–to my regret–heterosexual.) I think what I didn’t like about the idea of loving a man was, at least in part, being chained to the constant upkeep thing. The male gaze seemed like a virus that would infect every area of life. And loving someone, really loving them, with all that sexist baggage? Too much trouble. I couldn’t do my work (i.e., be obsessional and freaked out constantly about my work) and worry about my hair and weight and body hair and pore size all at once. And I wanted–no I needed– to do my work. Perhaps all the cruelty women inflict upon themselves about their bodies got poured into my work. And it was probably an escape from the usual shackles. The cruelty was crueler because I am a woman but I suffered there with lots of celibate, emotionally stunted men. Occasionally, my heterosexuality would get the better of me but with some effort I managed to stay the course.

    Eventually I did love a man (not voluntarily, by accident) and lots of horrible and absurd things happened. In the early years, some of the turmoil interfered with work and yes, he is a man so it isn’t as if we’ve remained untouched by the stupidity Twisty so often describes. Call me crazy though, but I’ve found that love can be stronger than patriarchy. Once in a while. There is nothing I have to be or do for this person and he (this MAN) after 15 years of ridiculously complete acceptance of absolutely everything about me, has helped me to accept myself, sort of. So when I read that story about the MIM (also the acronym for Maoist International Movement) my main thought is how does that not drive you crazy? My second thought is that it’s hard to revise my view that love for men can be an evil trap for women. (Of course, it’s always dangerous to love anyone or anything.) Yet, loving and being loved so much is the only thing so far that’s made me (occasionally) happy.

    Now I just have to keep up appearances for the people at work.

  143. Ms Kate

    I think MIM should be forced to complete an assignment: Read Dorcasina’s blog, then Read the Badger blog, and then check in with the “life with a seriously disabled child” of her choice.

    Then she might understand why so many people around find her shallow, superfical, trivial and arrogant. Maybe. We can only hope. Then again, she might “sympathise” or “empathise” in her pseudopsych student way with how Mr. Badger and Dorcasina’s husband didn’t check with them before developing fatal cancers.

    I notice she put in an attack dog appearance at other blogs, notably one where the blogger attacked her writing style and thematic material first and foremost. Very funny that she foamed at the mouth about the superficial aspects of that critique in the comments, but never really hit the core of the matter.

  144. Ms Kate

    BTW, it’s Gena’s Delusions of Mediocrity trackback, below.

    I also have to add: “L” ain’t so bad as MIM. She is just, as many of us do, blowing off steam and trying to figure her shit out through blogging. On the other hand, I think Gena’s got MIM pegged through and through.

  145. Twisty

    In #130: “Twisty, you seem to be saying that the demand for wives to be good looking in order to be lovable is wrong, but children need to be beautiful before you can love them.”

    No, I am saying that someone for whom appearance is a significant concern might be less than enthusiastic about having given birth to something that looks like a newborn infant.

  146. Kelda

    The fat/thin thing is really interesting. There are loads of lifestyle choices that will kill you (or at least increase your chances of developing certain diseases), but there’s a huge percentage more hysteria directed at what weight you are. For example, say I’m out in the summertime. I’m fat, and ginger. People feel free to criticse my weight because of health implications, but I’ve yet to be criticised for not wearing a hat or suncream. With my level of paleness, propensity to burn, moles etc malignant melanoma is a very major risk – but the criticism is of my weight. Yeah, there are health issues – but the reasons we’re all so bothered about these *particular* health issues is all to do with the Patriarchy and being defined as being a member or user of the Sex Class.

    I salute all the people on this thread who have gone some way to confront their image issues. Perhaps there might be a path out of here for me too.

  147. Blippity

    As a morbidly obsese woman, I know that I am neither depressed nor do I have low self esteem. (I won’t waste anybody’s time proving these claims.) I’m happily married (a 2nd time) and have a 3 yr. old daughter. Now, at one point in my life, when I was fully covered in patriarchy, I was depressed with low self esteem and I did gain weight. I was married to a dickwad who wanted to mold his 140-ish pound wife into an elusive trophy. His endless pounding managed to lay the red carpet for a 20 pound per year weight gain. Until, after 5 1/2 years of abuse I put a stop to it. Then, I was single and didn’t date much for about 10 years.

    Since then I haven’t lost the weight, but I’ve shed many pounds of the patriarchal crap piled upon me since birth. Now, I’m married to a true, egalitarian man. I drop my socks on the floor and he picks ‘em up. Some would think it’s a miracle that they return to my sock drawer clean & folded in the next day or two. I could go on about his amazing sparkle, but I’ll spare you.

    Living well had better be the best revenge. My spouse and I both vow to do our best to keep our daughter above the fray. We’ll need all the help we can get! Keep it up Twisty!

  148. Mandos

    Short of interrupting it, beauty standards are yet another fearfully efficient way to cut down on the number of choices that people, especially women, have. I think everyone’s homework for tonight is to meditate on why it might be very useful to have efficient ways to cut down on one’s choices; therein lies at least part of the answer to why beauty (as applied to shaved apes who appeal) is such a pervasive concept and so impossible to unseat.

    Though poor crucified on-brief-vacation me felt terribly hurt that you decided to start with a totally random backhanded insult about me, would it surprise you to hear that I actually agree with this? I think it’s very important to think about why someone might want an easy way to cut down on other people’s choices.

  149. thebewilderness

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos,
    I know you think you are a person and in your own life you probably are. Around here you are a concept, an epitomy, an abstract aggravation, and mostly the voice of the niggling patriarchy…obey…obey…obey
    Speaking only for myself, of course.

  150. Sunya Harjis

    Of course I’m right. I’m just saying something more than typically horrifying: that even good little feminists who buy organic yogurt and wear nothing but comfy clothes are still hauling coil for the patriarchy.

    Everyone in this thread who stamped your feetsies and insisted “but I really DON’T give a shit!” – you are all fools, or liars, or both. How stupid do you have to be to miss out on the ramifications of Failing To Obey?! One person in a thousand is talented or interesting enough to get away with bending the rules. One in a million – the great scientists, artists, and financiers of our age – are valuable enough to society that we forgive them open flaunting and failure to conform. But all the comfy-shoe-clad, not-a-fuck-giving, cool-jeans-at-work-wearing women who insist to the last gasp that they are not worried about what people think: not only are you lying, but you are losing money and power every minute of the day. That you are allowed to dress the way you do is evidence that 1. you are unimportant and 2. you aren’t even dressing all that oddly in the first place.

    Blah blah blah BUT SUNYA, you whine, sounding to me like spoiled children, BUT SUNYA I DON’T CARE ABOUT MONEY OR POWER!!!!! I’m HAPPY BEING ME! Fuck you.

    FUCK YOU.

    Your sloppy luxury is why women are not CEO’s, senators, warlords. You have mistaken transient and individual physical comfort for general accomplishment. You are still obsessed with clothes and appearance, it’s just an obsession with having your own way – on this one relatively marginal point – instead of an obsession with up-to-the-minute fashion and social standards of attractiveness.

    The triumph of feminism should not lie in that you are allowed to be comfy.

    You don’t seem to understand that we are fighting a war here! Andrea Dworkin died in ignomy because she insisted on this point, so I don’t expect anyone in particular to listen to me here. But I want to state plainly my vision of feminine beauty in the New Sunya World Order at least once. That way you can at least tell what I have in mind.

    People are not beautiful even with fancy clothes and makeup on. It’s true! Draw away, mentally, from your clinging obsession to human beauty. Get past it. I think eventually it will be easy for people like us to laugh at the whole idea of human beings thinking they are pretty. After that, it’s a small thing to follow the Patriarchy’s Professional Dress Code. Get a good job in manufacturing, politics, banking, insurance – don’t waste your patriarchy-fighting efforts in nursing or HR or teaching or whatever you people think you can do to change the world.

    Really changing the world means invading the Patriarchy’s most sacred spaces in ninja garb. One day they wake up surrounded and they don’t even realize how it happened. That’s my vision of feminine beauty: 3 billion women with pantyhose on and pens hovering over the paychecks of the world – coyly and beautifully forgetting to sign.

    I get tired of reading blog entries from fat handicapped welfare mothers bemoaning the welfare lifestyle they’re trapped in. And then, when they tell you their whole life stories, it turns out that they have stupidly and willfully put their idiot pride before every consideration and they have failed above all to obey the Patriarchy’s little rules – not even the big ones! Just the little ones, like acting dependent on advisors or wearing makeup to job interviews! So here they all are at the end of the line, fucked, pregnant, and fucked again, and they’re still proud. Those people are useless to me. All the pity in the world won’t fix what’s wrong with them. My advice to everyone who isn’t yet to that too-late stage is: guck your stupid fucking pride. Put the fucking pantyhose on and start fucking fighting for women instead of your own damn fool self.

    You were all supposed to think about obedience and having your choices cut down. Smart people were supposed to realize that almost nobody on the planet likes to be around weird-ass shit. So maybe think about that for serious now when you think about beauty and making the proverbial first good impression instead of telling me, and the whole fucking Patriarchy, that we’re missing something oh so special and precious and important about you.

  151. mrs_enid

    Sunya, I guess your reading comprehension is not so good? I’m not speaking for anyone but myself, but I don’t wear jeans to work, for chrissakes! I actually have a very well-paying, professional job at a large company that requires me to wear business drag Mon- Friday. So, there go your assumptions that everyone who posted in this thread is some underpaid hippie.

    No one here made some eighth-grade inspired, pouty statement that they don’t care what anyone, anywhere ever thinks about any aspect of them. However, some of us have asserted that we don’t give a shit whether we have heterosexual appeal to strangers. I can say unequivocally that I really don’t give a fuck whether strange men find me fuckable. I’m not 19 years old anymore. I haven’t been for way more than a decade. I grew up. I got over that.

    However, in doing so, I didn’t throw up my hands and decide to “show them” by getting fat and wearing Birkenstocks, no make-up and military surplus. Gawd bless anyone who feels comfortable dressed like that, but it’s not my style. I still wear make-up. I still paint my nails. I still work out and am in good shape. However, I have what most people would call a butch haircut and if I go out with friends I’ll wear a pair of comfy sneakers before high heels. My point is that no one would ever mistake me for a sexbot. But I’m not going to be mistaken for Hothead Paisan anytime soon either. Again, if you didn’t get it the first time, many women dress to please themselves, especially once they reach a certain age. Not all of us are getting dressed in the morning trying to turn on, or piss off and shock the patriarchy. I know quite a few women who aren’t interested in playing that game. I really don’t think it’s as novel as you’re assuming it is.

  152. Cass

    Sunya:
    I don’t know of any human beings who fit this caractiture either; and I don’t personally fancy giving up my “feminine” profession to sell insurance or torture brown people, all in pursuit of a political fantasy that makes “Lysistrata” look like realism. To do so would (among other things) require me to become less of the weak, contemptible human being I am and more of an ideological machine, a la “The New Soviet Man”… which I probably wouldn’t have the power to do anyway, regardless of my inclinations. The appalling truth is that we’re all weak, vulnerable and short-lived mortals, filled with repulsively selfish emotions; and a good many of us are doing all we can just to keep our heads above water.
    As for you aesthetic preferences: I’m not inclined to argue whether the human body beats a sunset or not, but I’d be willing to guess YOUR preference has something to do with the fact that you really don’t like human beings much at all…

  153. Paul

    I wanted to address the comments in #140 from Frumious B. Hi and thanks for the link to Big Fat Facts, first of all. Second of all, this:

    “First, it lists a lot facts but many lack cites to studies to back them up. There are some references at the bottom, but no footnotes in the text to tell you if the facts stated actually come from those references or not.”

    …is untrue. If you clicked into, say, The Truth About Long Term Diet Success, you’ll see full footnotes and references that are completely backed up.

    Whether you choose to believe these fully cited references that dispute the reliability of dieting is, of course, your choice.

  154. thebewilderness

    Sunya:
    Not going to obey you, don’t care if I’m of use to you. You sound too much like the old boss for me to want you as the new boss. However, I do agree with several points you may or may not have made. I don’t think it matters a great deal how you choose to resist the patriarchy. So long as we resist. One of the things I like best about this thread is that diversity that comes of such disparate views. Makes for thinking and plotting and planning which makes for action. All good stuff.

  155. auntsnow

    Wow. So according to Hot Mama, if someone changes during the lifespan of a marriage, they are guilty of “False Advertising?”

  156. kactus

    I get tired of reading blog entries from fat handicapped welfare mothers bemoaning the welfare lifestyle they’re trapped in.

    Yeah, and we all know the internet is just OVERRUN with fat disabled poor folks speaking their truth.

  157. zuzu

    Well, and here’s an idea: DON’T READ THEM!

  158. hedonistic

    HM. The waters here are so muddy I quite don’t know what to say without typing an overlong post and getting stuck in the moderation queue. There are so many “isms” here, we could run off in countless directions and never solve anything. Sexism. Lookism. Racism. Classism. All fall under the protective arm of The Patriarchy.

    There is the generic “lookism” that grants favors to pretty people. Folks, male AND female, like to look at pretty people and give them stuff. Is this some kind of genetic imperative, or is it patriarchy? Or is it just the beauty standard that is patriarchal, the rule that says X is pretty and Y is not?

    There are male beauty standards too; are they patriarchal? Possibly. Tall, good-looking men of a certain age are promoted faster and generally make more money than similarly situated ugly, short men. But I’m treading close to “men suffer _____ too!” So I shall stop.

    I’ve started blogging on beauty matters (more to come!) but should anyone care to visit MY den, be warned. My writing, such as it is, focuses on pleasure (food, leisure, etc); consequently, the not-so-pleasureable pieces of my life are missing. This is by design. It will become clear after about ten seconds that I’m a bad, bad feminist, due to my class status that allows me to have it both ways much of the time, plus my stubborn insistence on caring what men think of me. I blame my heterosexuality, I blame my heritage, I blame my vanity, I blame my stupidity, but most of all, I Blame the Patriarchy.

    I shall now hit the “blame” button.

  159. Lara

    “I get tired of reading blog entries from fat handicapped welfare mothers …”

    Sunya, who are you addressing? Is it their fat, their disability, their parenting status, their womanhood, or their social class that offends you so much? Or is it the fact that they’re speaking about these things in public?

  160. Ron Sullivan

    Sunya, you’re being insufficiently cynical. The reason those jobs are “good” is that they’re held mostly by men. If lots of women had those jobs, the jobs would become low-status PDQ. Consider physicians in the old USSR; consider typists (formerly “typewriters”) who at first had to be male because men had, oh, the posture, the dexterity, the sticktoitiveness, the manliness to do the job when it was skilled work; then it became the typing pool, typists, the bottom of the office ladder, unskilled, and suitable for “girls.”

    Of course, the secretaries, excuse me administrative assistants, the receptionists, and arguably the librarians actually have the whole world in their hands already. The trick is getting them to take concerted action, because of the Jay Gould* Rule.

    I blame the patriarchy. And the monied class.

    *”I can hire half the working class to kill** the other half.”

    **Or was it “shoot”? Cites are all over the place, but I remember*** it as “shoot.”

    ***Well, I’m really old. Though I think Hattie**** who posts here has me beat by a year or two.

    ****I’ve always wondered if that is a nod to Hilo Hattie. Hey look, a quadrupedal post!

  161. hedonistic

    Ron – - you’re right. Lately men have been going into nursing, and the pay and prestige of the profession has gone up. Coincidence? One might say it’s more a supply-demand thing, but I rather doubt it.

    Also, I hear there are now more women than men at the various law schools. Wanna bet that the minute the profession is female dominated, the prestige and pay will go down?

  162. Sunya Harjis

    Oh my fuck. I can’t even believe some of these comments… “it doesn’t matter how we resist as long as we do resist”?! I’m gonna go get me some uncomfortably large breast implants! It’s my way of resisting the Patriarchy! Also hilarious: “new boss sounds like old boss” – yeah, I can’t fuckin’ wait to rape your ass to death. I’d sure hate it if you had more options in your life than comfy or uncomfy shoes. Whatever you do, don’t listen to me, because I’m some kind of bad female data point! “Oooo so brute and inhuman,” you coo. Sure thing. We’ve got all the time in the world to softpedal this shit and be real nice and kissy-kissy with each other, don’t we?

    And then, of course, some idiot is all “well do you hate fat handicapped welfare mothers because they’re fat, handicapped, on welfare, or mothers?” I hate them because they could have stopped that litany of fuck-ups at a tremendous number of points but they were too fuckin’ proud to do it. Were you born fat handicapped and a mother on welfare? You have my sympathy and a big fat Female Government social security check when I come to power. Have you been fucking around on the battlefield? You don’t deserve sympathy, you deserve productive contempt. For every woman garroting herself with her own personal and exquisitely narcissistic pride, there’s one more whining stereotype and one less captain of industry among our ranks.

    But the spectacular Celine-esque grave humor comes in when Ronnie and Heddie are all “it’s not the patriarchy… it’s rich people!” Even granting all your ludicrous Marxist assumptions, are you seriously telling me that if women infest banking, law, and politics, all the patriarchy power will devolve upon flower arrangers? I mean what do you have in mind here – if women control all the production plants, governments, militaries, and courts, men will still actually have all the power from their… their what? Their baseball teams? Their candy stores? Fucking Christ, and you people think I’m the crazy one! “Makes Lysistrata seem realistic” or whatever – that’s rich. You might as well come right out and say you’re not gonna win so why bother trying?

    But above all, I flew into a terrible wrath when I read this:

    “To do so would (among other things) require me to become less of the weak, contemptible human being I am and more of an ideological machine, a la “The New Soviet Man”… which I probably wouldn’t have the power to do anyway, regardless of my inclinations. The appalling truth is that we’re all weak, vulnerable and short-lived mortals, filled with repulsively selfish emotions; and a good many of us are doing all we can just to keep our heads above water.”

    Whoever you are, you’re stupid, an animal dominated completely by comfort, a shambling half-human monstrosity. You’re probably one of those dumbasses who really do believe that death is the worst thing that could happen to you. I don’t have time to be your History Of Civilization 101 instructor, so you’ll just have to take my word on this one, but:

    Weak, contemptible, selfish, short-lived, vulnerable mortals made the whole human world and everything in it, including the patriarchy. They made everything from your flushable toilet to your mass-produced sock, from the Roman army to the ramen noodle, and all the political systems, religions, and philosophies you could ever imagine. And now you want to tell me that for whatever reason, this one thing that I ask for is utterly beyond the bounds of human capacity?

    Why are you even here then? Do you just want a comfy place to bitch self-righteously from? Is this entire blog your comfy rhetorical pose shoe and the patriarchy itself nothing but a whine-generating engine? That you could conceive of a contempt for tilting at windmills when you yourself are furiously masturbating your own sense of victimization passes belief. Believe me when I tell you: not only are miserable dirt-eating humans capable of disassembling the patriarchy, they can even do it without you if they have to.

  163. Pony

    Did you Twisterites? Harjis translates roughly as “war”.

    I have also noted an aspect of racism toward women of SH’s oriigin, played out here, that tolerates rude and obnoxious behaviour from such women because we (whitey) all know what a pisshole she’s escaped from, and she’s cute about it, and so we patronize her.

    Have I got it?

  164. Twisty

    Do you know where Sunya is from? I don’t.

  165. Pony

    No. But that’s not really the point. The name translates roughly as “war”. Sure fits. Be a perfect troll choice. And the comment about patronizing stands.

  166. Ron Sullivan

    Wrong, Sunya. And sloppy. When you come down off that adrenaline high enough to make sense and actually leave half of any dialogue to the other person in it, sit down and read some history first. Then read the posts you’re allegedly replying to. Then reply to them, not to some half-assed off-key Disneyfication of them.

    Pantyhose gonna overthrow the patriarchy? I doubt it. The guys who control all those production plants, war induetries, etc, will somehow fail to notice that women are taking “their” positions if we Dress for Success? Who you kidding? No, it ain’t hopeless, but the strategy of screaming at strawwomen because they haven’t spent their lives doing your theoretical job your theoretical way is old and Been Done and, while diverting enough, not terribly useful.

    Meanwhile, get your sorry lance out of my windmill. I’ve got bones to grind.

  167. kathy a

    damn, ron — you’re good.

    sunya, i haven’t a clue what’s gone wrong in your life, just as you haven’t much of a clue about anyone else here. wearing pantyhose may get the foot in the door some places — god knows i did that long enough, and inched along in ways i otherwise couldn’t — but it isn’t the key to changing the universe or anything.

    slinging mud at sisters is a spectacularly unhelpful strategy. you may or may not have noticed that the group of people here is not of one view on many particular points; we do not share similar lives, necessarily; experiences, backgrounds, personal preferences, home arrangements, professions, and life views differ. so what?

    as sojurner truth said, “ain’t i a woman?”* she was a woman of great strength and dignity, and she recognized the inherent dignity of others. whatever we are struggling against, we should at least have the strength to listen and recognize the struggles of others.

    it can’t hurt to lighten up, either.
    _____
    * no, i don’t compare my relatively easy life to that of ms. truth’s. she is a huge inspiration, though, on a lot of levels.

  168. thebewilderness

    Cripes Sunya,
    Don’t you get the part where you sound exactly like the abuser who screams and rants that they are beating us for our own good and if we could just learn to do and think exactly what we are told they wouldn’t have to beat us quite to death. I realize that many of us were accustomed to that behavior when we were small children and could not defend ourselves. Some of us even repeated the experience in abusive relationships. However, even when we put up with it we still knew the person doing it was an asshole.

  169. Cass

    “Whoever you are, you’re stupid, an animal dominated completely by comfort, a shambling half-human monstrosity. You’re probably one of those dumbasses who really think death is the worst thing that can happen to you.”

    “Why are you even here then? Do you just want a comfy place to bitch self-righteously from? Is this entire blog your comfy rhetorical pose shoe and the patriarchy itself nothing but a whine-generating engine? That you can concieve of an contempt for tilting at windmills when you yourself are furiously masturbating your own sense of victimization passes belief. Believe me when I tell you: not only are miserable dirt-eating humans capable of disassembling the patriarchy, they can even do it without you if necessary.”

    Reading all of this, Sunya, its hard for me to avoid the sense that you’re not altogether fond of me. Am I being too sensitive? I’ve been known to do that. If not, however, I guess I’ll just have to swallow my wounded feelings, and give you a response point by point.

    Its true, now, that I’m incredulous at the thought that any successful revolution could happen without me.(Aren’t you?) As for the justice of these other charges… that I’m given to whining, self-righteousness, and masturbating on my own sense of victimization… I shall leave it to the Gentle Reader to judge for themselves. Which brings us, finally, to that “shambling, half-human monstrosity” thing. I don’t think its true. Indeed, my chosen career could be described as trying my best to help and heal the victims of the patriarchy… which, in my humble opinion, is one of the best ways to try to attack that particularly tragic feature of human society. I wouldn’t go so far as to say its a calling, but its certainly the most important thing in my life.

    But enough about me. As everyone should know by now, I never miss an opportunity to remind you that Patriarchy ultimately resides in the human psyche. For those of you who wondered, “how can a radical feminist unleash a screed against ‘fat, lazy welfare moms’ worthy of Limbaugh?”… I’ll tell you. Our Sunya, like most ideologues, has the disease herself. In fact, my dear, substitute the language of 17th century Puritanism for modern feminism, and I believe you’d fit right in to the Rev. Mather’s congregation. Everyone around you is selfish, sensual, lazy and self-indulgent; you’re filled with an apparently limitless supply of rage against anyone who fails to live up to the abstract standards you set for them. You’re the type that ends up dominating most political revolutions (the Russian, French, etc.), which is why they end up providing much less in the way of liberation than of bloodshed and previously undreamt-of levels of oppression. (No, I didn’t forget that Jacobin touch of wanting to behead us all…)

    It must be a very unpleasant way to live, Sunya, and I am sorry for you.

  170. Sunya Harjis

    And my nominal enemies answer me with attacks on my character and pudgy, substance-free lip service to the topics I address. Some rube has the unvarnished temerity to tell me I’m sloppy, and then you completely gloss over the entire course of human history to arrive at your position, bound and gagged, as a flagellate patriarchal victim. Also: pantyhose obsession! F-

    I can’t count how many of you disguised your wrath as pity for my madness or bad home or whatever you flatter yourself to think could cause me to be so unbelievably more awesome than you all. Contemptible swine, it should comfort you to know that many, many, many men think they are being very clever when they say stuff like “I bet you got hurt by some man, huh… someone raped you, huh… I bet I’d feel like that too, if I were a raped woman.” They think they’ve really got one in on me, they’ve seen through all my bullshit, they called my bluff, and now I shouldn’t have anything left to stand on. Their insufferable, sickening, sadistic little smiles of triumph are miniature and dainty rapes in themselves. It’s funny – I expect it from them, but it always sets me off my lunch to see it coming from women.

    It’s all the same revolting song: good girls don’t attack, good girls don’t get angry, good girls don’t tell the fucking truth. Hide it all away along with the rest of your filthy cunt-stinking self!

    You disgusting little farts of civilization want to paint me as The Second Coming Of The Patriarchy, but which one of us – and here I mean you or me, not me or them – is the one who tries to smother the confident and warlike female? At least when I mean to attack you I do it openly and shamelessly. At least I justly and correctly refuse to rephrase my hatred as pity and my insults as sympathy.

    PS on Sunya’s racism: I believe wholeheartedly that lineal descendents of Mohammed are the master race.

  171. Ron Sullivan

    Cute, Sunya. Lety’s see you do something — even say something — effective against the patriarchy. Or (shudder) even against the patriarchs.

    Warlike my pudgy ass. Crab in a bucket.

  172. Cass

    Sunya, you misunderstood me. Of course I’m always hurt, to some extent or another, when someone attacks me. (Didn’t I mention my sensitivity?) That doesn’t mean I’m going to sit down and shriek out some primal rage into my computer. For one thing, my feelings didn’t rise to that pitch; I also don’t believe Twisty, our host, intended this forum for that sort of thing. Its true, I had the initial thought of giving you an outraged recital of all the things I’ve done to fight the Patriarchy these many years. But this would’ve just bored the other readers, and sounded insufferably self-righteous. And on reflection, you’re attacks were so over-the-top ludicrous (a “shambling, half-human monstrosity”??) that any response other than light mockery seemed way out of place.
    So you’re quite wrong to think I didn’t attack you; I did, just in a completely different fashion than you’re accustomed to, or even, apparently, able to detect.
    Also, you would note- contrary to your charges- that (as with Mr Mandos) I didn’t speculate about your past or your personal life; I merely made some observations on your personality, based on how you yourself have interacted here. If I was unjust or off-base, the Gentle Reader, again, may judge for herself.
    The last line of my post was, I admit, unfortunate. Pity is tied up with condescension, of course; what I intended to say is that, along with whatever anger and irritation I feel towards you, I also empathize with someone who is, by all evidence, completely possessed and dominated by their own rage. (I’ve studied quite a lot about such people.)
    Finally, Sunya, you’re quite free to consider me an enemy if you like; but from my end (though I enjoy putting the scalpel to others every so often), I don’t have the energy or time for collecting and nurturing emnities. It seems rather wasteful, when there are so many more important things demanding our attention.

  173. kactus

    And then, of course, some idiot is all “well do you hate fat handicapped welfare mothers because they’re fat, handicapped, on welfare, or mothers?” I hate them because they could have stopped that litany of fuck-ups at a tremendous number of points but they were too fuckin’ proud to do it. Were you born fat handicapped and a mother on welfare? You have my sympathy and a big fat Female Government social security check when I come to power.

    Oh ho ho! This is getting interesting. You know, Sunya, I can’t help but feel as if you are speaking about me, a fat, disabled, formerly-on-welfare mama who blogs about exactly those things and isn’t quiet about it. Or am I perhaps being a bit too sensitive?

    But if there’s another fat, disabled, mom-on-welfare out there blogging, I’d sure like you to point me in her direction, because I’m all about coalition-building and support. We can be two lone voices in a wilderness of middle-class academics and professionals.

  174. Cass

    I’ve known a few fat, disabled welfare and ex-welfare moms, my love; some even with disabilities. And you’re certainly O.K. in my book…

  175. Sunya Harjis

    “Prove it! On the internet!”

    Wow, fuck you. We stopped talking about world domination ages ago – because you never had anything to say about it but “you’re a crazy molested woman!” – and now we’re running on your personal steam from that guy who thought you were so damn good for failing to make any kind of substantial, or even persuasive, point. Do you even fucking know what your precious proof would consist of? What do you want, Queen Ron? Scans of my passport with the Dangerous Feminist stamp? Police records of my Awesome Feminist Crimes? How about this: why don’t you produce a fucking seven figure income so the next time your heart goes out to poor raped women everywhere, you can cut a nice check to the halfway house. I won’t even ask you to prove that you did it because I’m not a classless boor.

    Dear Kaktus:

    Whoever else I meant, I also meant you. All cleared up?

  176. Mandos

    Wow. This has got to be by far the weirdest thread on IBTP.

    Since thebewilderness has elected me Supreme High Avatar of Patriarchy, I am, on patriarchy’s behalf, officially smiling. But just because thebewilderness must be expecting it of me.

  177. kactus

    I’m so honored. I shall now wear my Welfare Queen crown with pride, while throwing my ill-gotten food stamps upon the rest of you suckers who work for a living.

  178. Kate

    Sunya Rants: “One person in a thousand is talented or interesting enough to get away with bending the rules. One in a million – the great scientists, artists, and financiers of our age – are valuable enough to society that we forgive them open flaunting and failure to conform. But all the comfy-shoe-clad, not-a-fuck-giving, cool-jeans-at-work-wearing women who insist to the last gasp that they are not worried about what people think: not only are you lying, but you are losing money and power every minute of the day. That you are allowed to dress the way you do is evidence that 1. you are unimportant and 2. you aren’t even dressing all that oddly in the first place. Blah blah blah BUT SUNYA, you whine, sounding to me like spoiled children, BUT SUNYA I DON’T CARE ABOUT MONEY OR POWER!!!!! I’m HAPPY BEING ME! Fuck you.

    FUCK YOU.”

    NO. FUCK YOURSELF.

    Firstly, since you’ve taken it upon yourself to come in swinging as the high and mighty dick swaggering truth teller that you are, we’d like a bit of a resume from you. So what do you do to fight the patriarchy besides vomiting all over blogs that apparently symbolize some deep seated personal wrath you have held inside yourself?

    I do care about money and I don’t work in an office and i don’t worry about ‘comfy shoes’ or prance around in whatever other stereotypical wear you seem to have fixated in your mind about certain women. IN fact I spent a whole day banging nails to make a living in the business I own, where I call the shots and give the orders, get it? See, I am not one of those who so righteously describe. But unlike you, I don’t hate other women aren’t like me, because well, I leave hating women to the patriarchy. I leave blaming women for the patriarchy.

    “you whine, sounding to me like spoiled children” A beautiful example of projection if I ever saw it. Stomp your feet, be the ‘little bitch’, scream and yell, call some names, say curse words even ! Offend! Offend! Oh you are so witty!

    “I hate them because they could have stopped that litany of fuck-ups at a tremendous number of points but they were too fuckin’ proud to do it. Were you born fat handicapped and a mother on welfare? You have my sympathy and a big fat Female Government social security check when I come to power. Have you been fucking around on the battlefield? You don’t deserve sympathy, you deserve productive contempt. For every woman garroting herself with her own personal and exquisitely narcissistic pride, there’s one more whining stereotype and one less captain of industry among our ranks.”

    ‘Could have stopped the litany of fuck-ups’? What the fuck is that about?

    Lemme see, women on welfare are fuck-ups right? Because there really is no patriarchy that is oppressing women right? Men aren’t abandoning women, women aren’t lied to or getting sucked in. No, you are the Perfect Patriarchy Blamer. Hardly, more the perfect women blamer.

    Since apparently, in your cave or other planet, all women, even though oppressed by the patriarchy are aware and see it coming from miles away, I’ll let you in on something; oppression here often means those who are oppressed must blend in, often in order to survive, often they align themselves with their very oppressors until a light comes on and they understand.

    But since women can’t make a decent living and since they primarily are stuck with the child rearing, that kinda often leaves a choice; starve or welfare. Only a truly died in the wool patriarch hates women and especially hates poor mothers.

    That statement is wrought with ignorance that I even thought twice about wasting my time to post this. But I cannot let it go undone. The conclusion one can make from this rant about women on welfare is that 1)you haven’t lived long enough to understand the makings of our society and how men and women interact 2) you have never had to deal with pregnancy, the fear of or parenting, or probably not even a long term relationship, much less marriage. Whether queer or straight.

    But this isn’t enough to illustrate your hatred and contempt for women and ‘other’ weaklings you see around you, you must also kick around a disabled person in a lame attempt to show just how smart and snarky and ‘with it’ you really are.

    And you rant some more: “”But the spectacular Celine-esque grave humor comes in when Ronnie and Heddie are all “it’s not the patriarchy… it’s rich people!” Even granting all your ludicrous Marxist assumptions, are you seriously telling me that if women infest banking, law, and politics, all the patriarchy power will devolve upon flower arrangers? I mean what do you have in mind here – if women control all the production plants, governments, militaries, and courts, men will still actually have all the power from their… their what? Their baseball teams? Their candy stores? Fucking Christ, and you people think I’m the crazy one!”

    Oh now, don’t worry your little head! You’ll grow out of it. All adolescents think people see them as crazy — because they are.

    Because you see, after you graduate high school and go to college or not go to college at some point you will have to make a living and you’ll finally get to see that the almighty isall important. Control comes from the dollar, its so simple but oh so far away when you sit at the computer with your pink bedsheets and your middle class french provincial furniture you’ve had since sixth grade. We know, you need to rebel and to let the world know how much you hate it when mum and dad tell you that you have to finish your dinner, but you’ll grow out of it. When those hormones get a little more settled you’ll see some sense, or just get a chance to get hooked up with some good medication because you are heading straight to the shelter wearing that shit all over your sleeve like that. YOu make a bad hiring prospect.

    “Contemptible swine, it should comfort you to know that many, many, many men think they are being very clever when they say stuff like “I bet you got hurt by some man, huh… someone raped you, huh… I bet I’d feel like that too, if I were a raped woman.” They think they’ve really got one in on me, they’ve seen through all my bullshit, they called my bluff, and now I shouldn’t have anything left to stand on. Their insufferable, sickening, sadistic little smiles of triumph are miniature and dainty rapes in themselves. It’s funny – I expect it from them, but it always sets me off my lunch to see it coming from women.”

    Like no one here has ever been raped, like no one here has ever dealt with men like the above. Goddamn, seems like you just discovered their shit yesterday and still haven’t gotten over it. Most of the women here can deal with that shit ten times better than you obviously. But then you go and project your hatred onto the women here. You are the one who is the contemptible swine. No one else. You sit your own stew of batshit crazy hell on wheels brimstone and fire. YOu sit and burn and you want to scream about it to everyone else.

    “It’s all the same revolting song: good girls don’t attack, good girls don’t get angry, good girls don’t tell the fucking truth. Hide it all away along with the rest of your filthy cunt-stinking self!”

    And then you bring up patriarchal abuse. Tell it to the men who so irritate you, they’ll be amused that you have co-opted their favorite lines. No one is amused here.

    “Do you even fucking know what your precious proof would consist of? What do you want, Queen Ron? Scans of my passport with the Dangerous Feminist stamp? Police records of my Awesome Feminist Crimes? How about this: why don’t you produce a fucking seven figure income so the next time your heart goes out to poor raped women everywhere, you can cut a nice check to the halfway house. I won’t even ask you to prove that you did it because I’m not a classless boor.”

    You need to prove something, give us something, anything S. so we don’t conclude that you are either at home in bedroom above, typing upon your computer ma and pa gave you last christmas, between your ‘war’ fantasy games, or not in some halfway house yourself, in obvious need of a reassessment of your medication.

    “You disgusting little farts of civilization want to paint me as The Second Coming Of The Patriarchy, but which one of us – and here I mean you or me, not me or them – is the one who tries to smother the confident and warlike female? At least when I mean to attack you I do it openly and shamelessly. At least I justly and correctly refuse to rephrase my hatred as pity and my insults as sympathy.”

    You want war? My head could explode. I just spent all day banging nails and let me tell you I’d have no problem taking a swing at your head, but since the one you have seems to be stuck tight up your ass, I think a crowbar would be more in order.

    Bend over bitch.

  179. Ron Sullivan

    I couldn’t say it better than Kate did, but I’ll add the oh so nitpicky detail that when you put something in those little rabbit-ear punctuation marks, you’re saying the words are a direct quote. Unless you’re using some idiopathic self-referential language, of course. Then the normal thing is to answer the person who is supposed to have said what you’re quoting. That means the quote should have some resemblance to what that person actually said. So far you’re batting under .250.

    I’m not a mere queen, by the way. I am an editor. Sometimes even when I’m writing I’m the editor. Makes for a better product. Maybe you should try it.

    Proof? Just get off your ass and do something useful. You’re not doing anything useful in the time you’re spending typing cute diatribes here. Of course, it’s possible you don’t spend much time on it; maybe you’re a really really fast typist. That should get you a place in the office, and enough money to keep you in pantyhose.

  180. wanda gag

    obesity is rampant across america among men and women. This is ahealth issue, not a parriarchy issue. There are kids under the age of fifteen walking around with diabetes and heart problems because they are too fat. If you believe the issue of obesity and sexual attraction only goes one way check out http://www.myfatspouse.com and read the posts of women complaining about their huge husbands.

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  7. Hedonistic Pleasureseeker » Blog Archive » Confessions of a Hot Chick

    [...] I have no one to blame but myself, but my hobbies and/or moonlighting activities also require conformance to patriarchal beauty standards: Professional bellydancing, occasional artist’s modeling, and heterosexual sex with the men of my social class. The bottom line is that so long as my beauty affords me temporary access to male privelege (in the form of dates, jobs, cash prizes, whatever), I will invest vast quantities of time, attention and money in my face and body. This despite the knowlege that my success in this endeavor inevitably harms and alienates me from my sister-women. Game Theory offers up an explanation for why I persist at it. To quote Robin, who posted at I Blame the Patriarchy: “If the “prize’ is to have a relationship with a man which does not obligate us to conform to sexbot standards of beauty, the best possible outcome would be achieved by full cooperation amonst all women to get off the damn train of pleasing the male gaze. This way men would have to accede to the fact of real womanhood and not pressure us to conform to the porn standard. But if there are any “betrayers”, that is women who still contort themselves to the sexbot standard, then the non-conforming/contorting women will be more likely to “lose” since men will still see the sexbot as a standard for us to aspire to. The depressing thing is that in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, according to game theory, the safest bet is to betray rather than cooperate.” [...]

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  11. Engleberts in Missouri [miz-er-ree] » Blog Archive » Is marriage only about looking HOT?

    [...] It’s very reminiscent of the shitstorm that hit the blogosphere when Morphing into Mom (MIM) made her very controversial “False Advertising” post. That post sparked a huge back-and-forth debate over the idea that if a woman’s physical appearance (i.e. hairstyle, weight) changes after getting married, she’s somehow letting her husband down and is guilty of “false advertisting.” [...]

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