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Aug 28 2006

Sex

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Footwear as birth control. Photo of three of the author’s lower extremities by Stingray

Linking to yesterday’s essay on misogyny in sporty-wear is this post by pro-sport-corset blogger Random Bird. I am sorry to report that Random Bird’s remarks are mostly of a nature that causes bitter tears to spring to the despondent auntly eye (for example, Ms. Bird employs, without apparent irony, the hideous, superincumbent word ‘Derrida,’ in conjunction with such cringingly dude-o-centric rhetoric as “The vagina is empty. The penis fills it.”).* Happily, she does discover what is perhaps the only imaginable use for a McDonald’s salad: comparing it to an uncircumcised weenie. Then she asks the very same question that blamers with the old pioneer spirit have often asked me.

“What are you wearing?”

I kid, I kid. Everybody already knows what I am wearing: two boob scars, a pair of red polka dot boxers, a couple of Ace bandages under a giant fracture boot, one cruddy green leather oxford, and three chocolate marshmallow bonbon crumbs.

Anyway, what really interests me about the post to which I allude is that, after some blogular introspection on the subject of her ‘blowjob duties’ (gulp), Random Bird, who of course is 25, muses thusly:

It seems that some feminists today are taking the position that to embrace your sexuality is to embrace the patriarchy. Yet at the same time, some of these women are also saying that the patriarchy is stifling women’s sexual rights. So I’m left wondering: What is a good feminist supposed to think about sex? Is it simply sex on women’s terms? Is it sex separated from our culture? If it’s the latter, how can we separate our individuals sexual identities from the social constructs that have created us? Is there some Supreme Feminist Platonic Essence of “egalitarian sex” where men and women are equal?

Random Bird is onto something here (ignore the first bit—which I include only for context—where she invokes the strawfeminist; a girl who mistakes her vagina for an empty void would see feminism as the enemy of female sexuality). If I’m reading her right, she’s very sensibly curious, as have been a decent number of blamers over the years, as to just how a feminist is supposed to get off in this crazy, messed-up world.

Yall will be pleased to know that I have the answer.

A feminist gets off the only way a member of an oppressed class can get off: with extreme caution.

In other words, until the psychotic global system of dominance and submission gives way to a sane one that doesn’t fetishize oppression, there is no solution to the buzzkiller political problems inherent in all heterosexual boinking. That’s right. No solution. No happy ending. No scenario wherein prancing in a pink sportcorset can be construed as a politically neutral act. No ‘egalitarian sex’.

Sorry!

I can already smell the fallout; this unpleasant observation always pisses people off. Particularly women. Particularly those straight women who derive a large-ish chunk of their identity from their mad sexbot skillz and brilliantly successful assimilation of the principles of femininity, e.g. “pole dancing is empowering!”, women who don’t yet grasp the scope of the hatred with which men view them. Because they are members of a patriarchal society, and because patriarchal societies always blame women for injustices visited on women, Sexy McSexersons often feel compelled, in no small numbers, to accuse radical feminists (and the occasional spinster aunt) of trying to suck all the fun out of fucking.

Not so fast, Sexy McSexersons! Whoa there, femininst-o-phobes! Radical feminists are not the enemy. We’re not even a bunch of homely old frigid prudes jealous of all the hot sex we’re not getting. Patriarchy is the real sex police. By convincing you that you’re hot when you cave in to its psycho demands, it has turned you into its slave. “Well, what of it?” you say. “What I choose to (a) do in the sack or (b) wear to work or (c) have implanted in my chest is none of your beeswax.”

Perhaps not, but, well, it’s just that certain of your so-called choices are making the whole group look bad. Men appear to have gotten the impression that women are not, you know, quite as entitled as men are. So they’ve institutionalized ‘beauty,’ dieting, cosmetic surgery, sexual harassment, wife-beating, and rape, to name but a few of the thousand unnatural shocks female flesh is heir to. We’re blaming the patriarchy, not you, but really, mightn’t it be time to step up?

“Examine your lives!” is the Twisty refrain. Don’t forget that, as a member of an oppressed class, everything you do is political. So what say you reevaluate those phony, misogynist feminine constructs? Every tube of lipstick, every coy little head-tilt, every train-yourself-not-to-gag-while-deep-throating-a-flaccid-bratwurst session is a symbol of oppression. And not just your oppression, either, but the oppression of all women. And they’re not just symbols, either, but concrete evidence of your collaboration with the dominant culture. Every time you ‘choose’ to totter down the street in a pair of heels and a pencil skirt you’re a Yay Patriarchy billboard. It says “I willingly brand myself as different from and subordinate to men. Shall I bend over now?”

Patriarchy isn’t just some hollow word invented by hairy dykes with sour grapes, you know. Women’s oppression is some serious shit. The sportcorset, insignificant little bondage joke though it may seem, doesn’t exist in a vacuum, ladies. It’s a part of the normativization of femininity—globally pernicious patriarchal bullshit that, if women are ever to fuck unfettered, must be chucked back into the fetid swamp of dudecrap whence it came. Nobody really looks hot working out in a human rights violation, anyway.
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*A vagina is no ‘emptier’ than a leg or a dick or any other body part, but today’s empowerful woman remains unshaken in her belief that we’re all tottering around town with tragic, gaping holes in our clams. The vagina-as-negative-space/woman-as-receptacle concept is one of patriarchy’s more unappetizing morsels of propagandical bogosity.

224 comments

7 pings

  1. Joanna

    Chapeau, Twisty!
    Yesterday, I thought about “the empowerful woman”; today the words I will think about: “We’re not blaming you, but really, mightn’t it be time to step up?”

    I love your (green) shoes!

  2. k, dog

    nice post, actually very tough stuff to write about.

    also, what a weird shoe.

  3. TP

    Examine your lives!

    The fear of feminism is so amazing. Seems like my initial reactions to feminism were much the same as many of these young women: How will I ever be able to have sex again if it makes me an oppressor of women and a person who hates women and enjoys their degradation every time I make love?

    Luckily for me I have a mind that is disposed towards regarding the world as a complicated place where degrees of different states exist without contradiction or logical flaws. I have a smattering of sub-Junior College Philosophy to realize that categorical constructs can be flawed and disproven by those with the patience to figure out logical flaws.

    Many of the ideas I agree with that are feminist are mostly valid outside a relationship of friendship and mutual love. Within this relationship, knowing about feminism helps me to understand the cultural struggles, somewhat unconscious, of a man and a woman seeking companionship and love from each other.

    I have to laugh at the idea of the Alan Alda type feminist scorned and belittled by the mainstream. It seems so unlike my life, even though I do most of the cooking and cleaning around my house. Some people would see ‘women’s work’. A feminist sees something that needs to be done and just does it because otherwise you live like an animal, which seems to me what the patriarchy wants to reduce me to; a mere animal.

  4. Ron Sullivan

    It’s weird, isn’t it, the things that get mistaken for sex. For fucking. Blather about “empty” vaginas (or, when I was in school pre-Derrida, wombs as “internal space”) and Standbyyourmanitude and clothing f’rgods’ sakes and yeah, crap one has to practice to endure. And ya know, I’m homely as a mud fence, but way back around 1970 when I realized I’d get an extra half-hour’s sleep if I quit with the damn makeup, my sex- /love-life improved immediately. That same weekend!

    And when I got the hell away from the local patriarchal mores that still stuck to my shoes back in the hometown (this included some of the local dykes in my favorite bar giving me secondhand shit because they couldn’t figure out if I was butch or femme… Yeah, time-warp stuff. Be bi; get it from all sides.) and took the geography cure, things got pretty damned good. Great sex for thirty-some years and counting. Didn’t even have to shave my legs. Didn’t have to do anything I didn’t feel like, except get up and get dressed and hold down a job now and then, and that’s because we like to eat and drink and have indoor plumbing.

    All this costuming? All this fashion nonsense? All this looking or behaving some certain way? It’s all about the patriarchy. It isn’t about sex.

  5. Rose Connors

    While I could understand the sportcorset post well, this one gives me pause for consideration. I suppose getting married in the first place was an anti-feminist thing to do. Does it alter the scenario when I’m the primary breadwinner or just make it worse? DH is the designated kitty litter man. Is he oppressed or enlightened? I have a higher sex drive and usually initiate. I don’t perceive our sexual relationship to be either feminist or anti-feminist. Does it have any bearing? These are things I’ll have to think about today.

    If the vagina is a void, is the womb a bigger void? How about the mouth? That would explain obesity in epidemic proportions.

  6. Buttercup

    twisty, you’re amazing.

    thank you.

    I’m a 45 year old blamer who grew up with a feminist mother in the 60s and 70s, and i’ve been in the trenches. My husband and I respect each other and our relationship is as close to completely equal as we can get it, which is pretty damn close. (I’m a bit more assertive than he is so I sometimes get the upper hand.) It’s challenging maintaining a relationship that sane in an insane world, but so far so good.

    Thanks again. We need more like you.

  7. Delphyne

    Golly. My nostril is empty. My finger fills it. My ear is empty. An elbow fills it.

    Not to open old wounds but you seem to have found someone else who thinks that a functioning gag reflex means that they are no good at oral sex. Does it ever occur to these women that oral sex might not be good for them? -

    “And then I woke up, ready to admit it: I’m afraid I’m not good at oral sex. I was horrendous as a teenager; you can ask Patrick. I remember, at age seventeen, puking up lettuce on his dick.”

    Maybe that’s what separates out feminists from women who haven’t yet embraced it – we’re not prepared to ignore our bodies’ complaints, whether it be being unable to breathe because we’re strapped into a corset or vomiting up salad over an unappealing penis.

  8. langsuyar

    ‘Every time you ‘choose’ to totter down the street in a pair of heels and a pencil skirt you’re a Yay Patriarchy billboard. It says “I willingly brand myself as different from and subordinate to men. Shall I bend over now?”’

    It does say that, it really, really does! You can’t run if a man tries to rape you, and its a 90% chance that the man is one of your friends or family. Pretend we live in a civilized world where what you wear and do doesn’t signify your sex-class status and THEN put six (or five, or three depending on whose stats you use) women in a room together and find out which one of them has been raped or abused.

    Rape is a tool of warfare, and by acquiesing to a cultural imperative to dress in subordinate feminine drag costumes, you show just how effective it is in controlling you. Step out of line, look too masculine or too slutty and someone will let you know how horribly you’ve erred. Then tell me your choices about dress are made in a vacuum.

    Finally, I would just like to say that “vagina as empty” is something that leaps from the hallowed halls of academic misogyny a la Plato’s “half-formed man” or Freud’s “penis envy”. Idiotic buffoonery used to justify rape and oppression as natural and right. If your vagina is an empty, longing receptable for the penis, it only echoes your mind. Try filling your brain with something other than the garbage this woman hating culture spews at you and you might view your body differently, even–god forbid!–sovereignly instead of something to mold to fit someone else’s desires.

    Because you are choosing to accept sex-class status, because you don’t live in a vacuum, and because it affects me, too, try to pay attention to the reality of the world you live in.

  9. Sara

    That is one beautiful green shoe. If you didn’t have other biological factors guaranteeing its success, I don’t think you could count on it as effective birth control. Not at all.

    Meanwhile, I love how you always tell people to just think about their choices, and then how many do, out loud, right here or in their own public spaces. The diversity of language and voice used to convey the thoughts your thoughts help spark is fascinating. No matter the age of the speaker, I always wonder what these same voices will sound like a few years from now.

    Blame on.

  10. CafeSiren

    Golly. My nostril is empty. My finger fills it. My ear is empty. An elbow fills it.

    I love this. I’ve had occasion to think, when confronted by the bogus argument that hetrosex is “natural” in a way that homosex is not because the penis and the vagina were meant to fit together, that my thumb would fit up my ass, but it doesn’t mean that that’s the best thing to do with either body part.

    And although this might sound condescending to the blogger to whom you link (and my apologies for that), i’m not at all surprised that said blogger is 25, rather than 35 or 45 or some such thing. It’s easier to buy into the patriarchal sexbot mandate when it takes little effort to achieve it. I was there. As we age, though, and the effort gets greater, the whole thing seems less natural, and increasingly silly, and eventually, supremely irritating.

    Being a feminist is hard at 25.

  11. rootlesscosmo

    I think it’s important to focus on the idea that the argument here–which I think is completely convincing–is about social and political structures. Yes, they’re expressed at the level of individuals, but anecdotal evidence (“My guy is different,” etc.) no matter how truthful, is sort of beside the point. The kindly master doesn’t make us re-evaluate the slave system, the brave Army medic doesn’t make us rethink our opposition to militarism, and similarly the conscientious male domestic partner doesn’t really call in question the critique of patriarchy as an oppressive system of institutions, practices, and ideas. And the Thatcherite myth of “individual choice”–a myth because it presumes equality of power and freedom, which don’t exist–always turns into a game of Blame the Victim: if she’s oppressed it’s because she doesn’t resist, individually (regardless of risk to herself or her kids etc.) No, it’s because she belongs to an oppressed group; individual heroes are admirable but rare, which is why it’s short-sighted to rest our hopes of justice on everyone acting heroic. Solidarity (with its corollary, not blaming the oppressed for their suffering) is the key.

  12. Shannon

    For fuck’s sake, people, there are different ways to give a blowjob. Try to avoid doing things you can’t manage, as a caring partner won’t get off on that sort of thing. In other news, we all make our compromises. Sometimes we choose to put another brick in the wall of the patriarchy, but that does not make us bad people. Sometimes we choose to help break down the patriachy. Feminism is like zen, I think. They say carry water, chop wood before enlightenment, and carry water, chop wood after enlightenment. There’s never going to be a place where you can stop thinking and believe you are truly free of all influences from the outside world. It’s a tough path, but hey, you don’t have to do it if you don’t wanna.

  13. GenderBlank

    Twisty,

    I’m not crazy about that shoe, but I thoroughly enjoy how you’ve paired it with a sport sock. It assaults all my fashion sensibilities. Well done!

  14. dr_igloo

    Reading Twisty is better than sex anyways.

  15. annakill

    As far as women who say that they are choosing of their own, unadulterated free will to squeeze into the narrow confines of feminine gender drag or otherwise engage in practices which limit their scope of power, parrot submissiveness, or mutilate the sovereignty of their bodies in any way shape or form:

    Don’t piss down my back and tell me its raining.

    No one is saying you [the general you, not specific] can’t wear those shoes (sportcorset, fake tits), after all–you’ve been trained to love your oppression, but don’t pretend you live in a fairyland where your “choices” are free of influence or consequence. If you are going to assuage some patriarchal ego and hide behind the mask your oppressor deams acceptable, at least have the courtesy to not insult me with this crap about personal choice and how egalitarianism would kill your sex drive.

    Boo-fucking-hoo. I’d rather live in a world without rape, even if it means you loose your patriarchy approved sex-drive. My sex-drive will remain just fine, and so will my choice of clothes. Maybe its time for you and the men you try so hard to please to evolve.

  16. karen

    Twisty,

    I have been lurking about your blog for 2 weeks now, I love your writing. Being new to Blaming, I have been afraid to post any comments.

    Today’s post caused depressing epiphany.

    Feminism does not liberate me from guilt about sex. The reasons given for the guilt have changed, but the guilt itself remains. I am a heterosexual woman, and no matter what, that’s bad.

    I blame the patriarchy. (But I love that shoe.)

  17. thebewilderness

    To me this is not just ignorance, but willful ignorance. I understand she is young, but criminilly, doing the mental work to differentiate between your own sexuallity and the dictates of the patriarchy is feminism 101.

    “It seems that some feminists today are taking the position that to embrace your sexuality is to embrace the patriarchy.”

    No, willfully ignorant patriarchy pleaser, this is not true. It SEEMS true to you because you are willfully ignorant.
    I hereby apologize to the young patriarchy blamer for the intensity of my outrage.

  18. Beth in Michigan

    I don’t care for the pointy patriarchal toe on that shoe but I am rather enamored with the spiky wooden heel, that looks lethal!

  19. schatze

    First I read, then I went back and looked at the photo. What I saw first was : a velcro boot, a green shoe and a turkey baster. Somebody help me! The shoe brings back fond memories of shoes I called my Wicken Witch of the West Shoes. These are even better being WWotW green and not black. You must be feeling better, the blaming is first rate.

  20. schatze

    To clarify, that is not a “Wikkan” typo but a “Wicked” one. The turkey baster, I cannot explain as easily.

  21. Mandos

    And the Thatcherite myth of “individual choice”–a myth because it presumes equality of power and freedom, which don’t exist–always turns into a game of Blame the Victim: if she’s oppressed it’s because she doesn’t resist, individually (regardless of risk to herself or her kids etc.)

    Warning, nitpick alert.

    Mmm, I always thought that theThatcherite ideology—whatever you want to call it—explicitly doesn’t assume equality of power and freedom. It simply says that you must make do with what you already have, because it claims (rightly or wrongly) that to attempt to alter class structure is to invite further tyranny. ie, your choice within the existing system is the best freedom you’re going to get given a starting place provided by capitalist markets.

    I don’t agree with the idea either but I think it’s better thought out that many people give it credit for.

  22. grrr kitty

    Gah! It’s a nun shoe, good for frosting the hearts of nice Catholic boys everywhere with the ice of pure terror.

  23. e fulton

    bogosity?

    Or is it bogusity, as in the state of being bogus? I admit that bogosity reads better, but ’tis confusing.

    In any event, Twisty, thanks for setting down another boundary in the ever-continuing fight to keep feminism from being whatever the hell Madison Avenue wants us to think it is so that we’ll buy more shit. I thought of this recently while leafing through the misnamed “Real Simple” magazine. Readers were asked what their best beauty tool was to save time, and so many people went right to products of one form or another. It didn’t appear to occur to the readers (or, possibly, the editors) that the best beauty tool is to stop hating the way you look and finding happiness and confidence in your own damned self instead of relying on brand name snake oils and their fear/shame advertising.

  24. raging red

    What is edgy or ironic (or “edgy-ironic,” even) about working out in a corset? The patriarchy expects women to look hot when they’re at the gym, and RandomBird obliges, with an assist from that little mom-and-pop outfitter, Nike.

  25. CGG

    It’s not just heterosexual boinking. It’s boinking period. The patriarchy has fetishized homosexuality in much the same was that it forces women into being the sex class. It’s a no-win situation for every woman regardless of their sexual orientation. Also considering how “virginity” has been fetishized an argument could be made that choosing not to boink is submitting to the patriarchy.

  26. jbeeky

    As a bumbling, eager to learn feminnist, I need to ask: Given that we have been raised from infants to seek outside sources of sexuality and beauty, live still in a society that uses mindmelt marketing to ensure the tradition follows, how do we then begin to find our own “sexy” and “beauty”? Any skirt, some skirts, hemp skirts? Any heel, low heel, rubber heel? No makeup? Some? How do I trust myself after years of social sabotage? The older I get the more I see the way I leaned on the patriarchy to get by. Now that I am looking to change, how do I not throw the baby out with the bathwater? How do I know exactly where the subconscious internalized patriarchy end and I begin? I am an educated, successful woman but still struggle to cut away those layers that I now find self-sabotaging. See where I am going here?

  27. Twisty

    1. Bogosity is a more lyrical form of the word bogusity, which I feel just fine about using, since neither word actually exists.

    2. Mandos is back! The natural order is restored.

    3. To whomever took exception to my green shoe: I assure you, it’s not pointy-toed, although I can see how the angle of the picture might make it seem that way. My anti-foot-pain instincts prevent me from cramming the Twisty toes into tight torture shoes invented by misogynist gay male fashion designers.

  28. Vibrating Liz

    Schatze’s hallucination of a “turkey baster” has me howling! A visual Mondegreen!

  29. Carpenter

    “It seems that some feminists today are taking the position that to embrace your sexuality is to embrace the patriarchy. ”

    Ah yes. And of course ‘embracing your sexuality’ is not about you wanting yourself to get off, or you wanting yourself to see naked attractive people, or you wanting to do said people. It means making yourself eye candy for others and being subject to other peoples desires. If there is one idea that should catch on it is that your sexuality should involve you as the subject. How did we miss this? Maybe people would buy it if I disguised it as a shiny pink covered self help book and someho got it on Oprah’s book list.

    This woman = passive because vagina gets filled thing, man=active yadda yadda, to me reeks of magical thinking. People have this superstitious belief that thing mean things in the natural world. Penis = signifier for active priciple is to me the same when people thought 7 was magic becuse there were 7 colors and 7 planets(that they knew of), or thinking if I light a green candle I will get money ‘cuz money is green. This is the worst kind of armchair philosophy and it is touted equally by biblically feuled wingnuts an eugenics pushing ev-psych woman haters. I suspct anyone who says things loike that has little grasp on scientific thinking, and probably has logical leaps everywhere in their thought process.

  30. Lorenzo

    jbeeky,

    As a bumbling, eager to learn feminnist, I need to ask: Given that we have been raised from infants to seek outside sources of sexuality and beauty, live still in a society that uses mindmelt marketing to ensure the tradition follows, how do we then begin to find our own “sexy” and “beauty”? Any skirt, some skirts, hemp skirts? Any heel, low heel, rubber heel? No makeup? Some? How do I trust myself after years of social sabotage? The older I get the more I see the way I leaned on the patriarchy to get by. Now that I am looking to change, how do I not throw the baby out with the bathwater? How do I know exactly where the subconscious internalized patriarchy end and I begin? I am an educated, successful woman but still struggle to cut away those layers that I now find self-sabotaging. See where I am going here?

    I would think that perhaps it would be best to begin by asking what clothing choices have to do with women’s sexuality? The problem is patriarchy’s social construction of women’s sexuality as performance for men’s sexuality, not which costume women perform in, so to speak.

  31. Jezebella

    jbeeky:

    Everyone’s answer is different, but mine is this: I conform to femininity as much as I must to propel my career forward. I will shave my legs, wear a bit of makeup, and stay relatively up-to-date fashion-wise so that I look like the professional that I am. Is this giving in to patriarchy? Of course it is! Of course. But I need a job, and I want a job I like. So I cave, and I acknowledge that.

    The first thing you should do is stop reading fashion magazines. Next, stop thinking you have any obligation to look like any celebrity or model, EVER. Also, only exercise and eat well to the extent that it makes you healthier and happier. Not to make the boys at the gym want to fuck you.

    [it took me so long, too long, to figure out that a hard-on is no complement. most straight men want to fuck any woman who'll have them. it's not like they're all that particular]

    Anyway, for me, it boils down to this: if practicing a degree of femininity serves my purposes, then I will do it. If it makes me feel bad, costs a lot of money, is painful, distracts me from my real goals, or only rewards me with generalized male sexual approval, then fuck it, cross it off the list, and don’t even look back.

    I have over the years shed a number of feminine practices that seemed like reasonable capitulations at one time. It’s not easy to do a total purge, just start questioning your motives on a regular basis, and you’ll find old habits starting to drop away. You’ll also find you have more time on your hands, more money in your wallet, and less distraction from the things that matter to you.

    xo,
    Jezebella

  32. Buttercup

    Jezebella, excellent answer.

    also love the “hard on is not a complement” thing. That is something that all women need to know. (if they haven’t figured it out for themselves yet)

  33. greengage

    Your green shoes make me love you even more. They are indeed beautifully witchy. I think they would look great reclining against your recliner, too.

  34. The Baboon

    Carpenter: Magical thinking about the vagina is in order, because it’s a magical body part. Which is why it gets put down so much. A void. Hah! A mouth! A ferocious, chomping mouth! Silly patriarchy defenders work to disguise the creative elastic membrane from what it is – the beautiful producer and consumer, never “filled” because it is a red-hot two-way electric conduit of transformation. Fear of the mouth (not of the void – who’s scared of a hole?) is the engine that keeps the patriarchy running.

  35. Betsy

    Ooh, that is one well-turned ankle.

  36. Betsy

    Oh dear, that seems to have a double meaning that I didn’t realize until I posted it.

  37. Twisty

    “Ooh, that is one well-turned ankle.”

    Hah!

  38. antelope

    “How do I know exactly where the subconscious internalized patriarchy ends and I begin?”

    For that matter, how does anybody know where the tendency to turn into your mother (or father) ends and you begin? Where does the tendency to emphasize the sides of your personality that match the friend you’re hanging out with at the moment end, and you begin? I could go on all day.

    I enjoy the search for a good answer to these questions, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t debate them and any number of others like them. It beats all heck out of discussing, say, purse styles, but you don’t really expect a final, definitive answer, do you?

    Besides, if there was a final, definitive answer, the feministophobes (love that!) would just say that we’re being exclusionary purists with no room for diverse points of view.

  39. jbeeky

    Jezebella,

    Thank you! I guess I am in a stage where I am am trying to find the motivation in my behavior. Seems simplistic but when I take it down to the level of whether the motivation was so cleverly externalized in our society for so long that I internalized it and now see it as a true motivation of my own doing, I get frustrated and quite frankly confused. I stopped hag mags long ago after I was involved in a grass roots campaign called “Don’t Use Our Cans to Sell Yours”, a call to the alcohol industry to stop exploiting women in thier beer advertising. As you can see it was wildly successful and now you NEVER see alcohol sold by silicone sisters. Never. But really taking inventory of myself and what I truly call my own seems to be a longer more convoluted journey than I first thought.

  40. CafeSiren

    I think Jbeeky’s question is really interesting, because our likes and dislikes are so conditioned by patriarchy that we can’t untangle one from the other. An example: I like to wear boots with a moderate heel because 1) I think they I look good in them, and 2) They impart a confident “don’t mess with me” attitude when I wear them. They do, however, get a bit uncomfortable after about four hours, which I emphatically don’t like.

    Now I have to ask: Is it possible to “look good” for myself alone? In some cases? Any? And what about that attitude? Is it there because I know I look good in said footwear?

    The main problem is the oh-so-pervasive “gaze.” Are my choices a response to it, even if I don’t think they are? I never consciously say to myself, “If I wear these, men will think I’m hot.” Does that mean that my lack of intent mitigates the effect of the gaze?

    To use an extreme example, for the sake of argument: Could I wear a corset (I never would, but still) in good conscience, if I truly and sincerely didn’t give a darn whether others found it sexy?

  41. CafeSiren

    The moderation bot hates me today.

  42. hedonistic

    Oh dear, I will need a frontal lobotomy if I am to stop liking “feminine” things.

    I am doomed.

  43. missginger

    Please allow me to be a big nerd for a moment:

    The vagina is not “empty” on its own. In fact, the walls of the vagina lay flat against each other unless the woman who owns it is aroused or menstruating.

    For what it’s worth.

  44. nolo

    This post — and the comments — are exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks to everyone.

  45. teresawymore

    Carpenter: “If there is one idea that should catch on it is that your sexuality should involve you as the subject.” Yes! Well into the Third Wave, and we’re still taught that women must focus on becoming better objects. This is reinforced by teaching us to substitute pleasing for pleasure. Why the hell do we keep talking about blow jobs? Let’s talk about cunnilingus for awhile.

    “In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed that can provide energy for change. For women this has meant a suppression of the erotic.” (Audre Lorde)

  46. yankee transplant

    Printing and saving, filed under “Classic Blaming”. Great post, Twisty.

  47. emma goldman

    1. Twisty: LOVE that shoe! as well as its occupant.
    2. Rootlesscosmo, you raise an interesting conundrum. On one hand, the anecdotal does not count as data, and the my person/relationship is different/better can have the effect of minimizing the totalizing effect of the patriarchy. On the other, the personal is political. that is, being willing and able to construct a het relationship that at least questions and blames the patriarchy once in awhile may be the best for which we can hope right now–but it also can serve as a model for others, for people who want to BtP but don’t quite know how to go about it. We all have to live our lives–within the context of the patriarchy, yes; but we can’t do any more than BtP if we don’t make our own personal stabs in that direction.
    3. Dr_igloo: much as I love twisty, I love sex more.
    4. Carpenter: thanks for that clarification. For me, the sex IS all about getting off, seeing attractive naked people, getting off some more, doing/being done by said people, getting off some more, etc., but you’re right that the sexbot version doesn’t involve the sexbot getting any actual orgasmic pleasure out of the whole thing, which is just perverted.
    5. Jezebella, a hardon may not be a compliment, but, when I want to fuck one, it certainly is a complement. (sorry; nitpicking about spelling for my own amusement is probably not nice, and I really liked your commentary, but I couldn’t resist.) And I loved your comment about fashion magazines in particular. I haven’t bought (or read) one in decades; even the covers just seem so repellent. I definitely BtP.

  48. TP

    It’s always inspiring to me when someone like jbeeky chimes in. And all these posts encouraging women to relax about the feminine camouflage they are bound to wear.

    That’s what has drawn me to feminism. The idea that we are not required to have all this anxiety about our outward selves, that it is imposed on us by the culture.

    Anxiety about being good at giving blow jobs, for example, taken to the point that you actually vomit on a penis. Who wants that kind of pressure? And then, pretending to like giving head. What has being good at giving head to do with being loved by someone? Nothing.

    I think becoming aware of feminism can open your eyes to who loves you and who doesn’t. The guy pushing the back of your head down might just love blowjobs, not you.

  49. slade

    This is off topic, but maybe some of you blamers might be interested in this. I just read that the Governor of S. Dakota is asking for people to pray for a week….seems that the state of S. Dakota has had NO RAIN for quite some time now. Hmmmm….isn’t that the state that the legislature, Governor, and stupid voters decided to force women to carry to term the children of rapists and their male relatives?

    Yes, it is. And now it seems that Mother Nature is punishing these cruel folks. HA!

    Anyway….I dropped the Gov. a note mentioning this fact. Maybe if they change their ways toward women, Mother Nature will turn on the faucet again!

    If others are interested in contacting the Governor:

    http://www.state.sd.us/governor/

    Blame Blame Blame

  50. rootlesscosmo

    Emma Goldman: I agree completely that “the personal is political,” certainly in the sense–which as I remember was the main one intended by the women who created the phrase–that personal relationships have a power dimension and are linked to institutions of power on the larger scale. Can decent, respectful, comradely het relationships serve as a kind of political action? Maybe. I hope so. They exist–my partner and I used to discuss giving an annual Leonard Woolf Award to men who genuinely supported women of ability and imagination, and there were candidates, though not many. Whether they can serve as exemplars I honestly don’t know.

    My main concern was that–for complicated historical reasons–a lot of Americans really have trouble focusing on structures and institutions, preferring to fall back on anecdotes, true or urban-legendary, like the Welfare Queen or the Happy Hooker or (probably the earliest version) the Happy, Childlike Slave. But if we’re trying to understand how a society works (and, hopefully, how to change it for the better) these curiosities are immaterial.

  51. emma goldman

    Rootless, I agree completely. I think it’s vital that we not just examine our lives, but examine the structures within which they are lived, insofar as any of that is possible, and i also agree that examining the structures of power is not one of the strong suits of most Americans. I find myself doing a lot of backing and forthing in my own life–trying to see the structures, trying to make my way among them, trying to effect change when I can, in whatever small ways, etc. Other times, I uncork some wine and have at it.

  52. Betsy

    O Twisty, won’t you please delete my second post that came right after the first. Just once, just once I want to squunch my eyes up and pretend I am one of the makers of the bons mots.

    Oh, how I wish I were dry!

  53. Ms Kate

    Particularly those straight women who derive a large-ish chunk of their identity from their mad sexbot skillz and brilliantly successful assimilation of the principles of femininity, e.g. “pole dancing is empowering!”, women who don’t yet grasp the scope of the hatred with which men view them.

    I think on IBTP, you are more likely to catch crossfire on this from straight women who don’t do any of these things, yet still enjoy sex with men. I have long resolved the heterosexual connundrum by being rather picky, choosing toys over boys unless the proper dynamic was in place. I think that is why I’m somewhat uncomfortable in “drag”, which is when I seem to elicit the male gaze: my bozo filters are not in place.

    The problem with this approach: it works at the individual level, nothing more.

    That said, I don’t think a lifelong lesbian really can speak for or advise straight women on feminist sexuality in this manner, not to the detail that this post attempts. You don’t like dick and we know that and respect that, but damnit Twisty, you don’t have much cred here! Consider how limited a straight womans “truths” would be advising gay women on these issues, and how that would sound.

  54. Twisty

    Ms Kate, you don’t know me, so it is not surprising that your assumptions about my personal history are without basis in fact. But even if they were not, I would still have no compunction cutting loose with a critique of what I regard as irrresponsible behavior. Gay or straight, wrong is wrong.

  55. KTal

    Just have to say, this is a great discussion, so good that your back beating the drum dear Twisty.

    My greatest epiphany came when I gained alot of weight and simoutaneously had to go on welfare.

    Not only could I not afford to look good anymore, but the weight gained by taking anti-depressants to calm a severely anxious state, forced me to accept myself as something other than existing as attractive to men. Although prior to these events I considered myself quite the feminist, I learned I had much to learn. My choices were to opt out and accept a double-stigma status, or fight on and pretend.

    I could no longer wear the high quality, classic styled wardrobe I had carefully crafted over the years, no longer could I enter into a woman’s clothing store or even pick out clothes at Goodwill and feel comfortable.

    Not only did every purchase seem like I was cheating on other more important needs I and my family had at the time, but the woman I saw in the mirror in the fat lady clothes was not the woman I knew or wanted to ever be.

    I had a few years of confusion and discomfort, depression and feelings of worthlessness. Then I found I could exist on my smarts and my talents, exclusive of the approval of the male.

    I remember once wondering why all men are such jerks. Then after that phase, I suddenly realized, the potential friends and partners I could have known, I had failed to see before.

    Random is afraid, like so many her age, that if she does act solely based on her own desires and decisions, lives for her satisfaction and comfort, that she’ll be abandoned and unloved, her vagina will dry up and she’ll just blow away in the wind. Not so.

    But I took her down over at her own place in my regular rambling style. At 25 I already had three kids and was pissed as hell. Was I that unusual?

    -

  56. Ms Kate

    I agree: I’m working with a Twisty “projection” here. Fair enough.

    Furthermore, I fully agree with your analysis of “empowerful”ness being yet another trap akin to “smells like liberated”.

    That said, it still sounds at times like a Catholic Priest lecturing married couples on sexual behavior. You can’t go off on heterosexual sexual practices and presume external cultural motivations are the only possible motivations operative. Saying that no woman could possibly actually want to fellatiate her lover is like saying that because mainstream porn loves girl on girl action for the titillation of men, then the only reason a woman could possibly want to lick out another woman must be titillation of men. No woman could ever actually like that, really? Or do it for her own enjoyment and mutual pleasure of her partner? Of course not, she’s trapped in patriarchy.

    Can we blame the patriarchy for such patronizing of women and their imputed motivations that they just aren’t able to see?

  57. Twisty

    Girlfriend, as grossed out as I am by the idea, I will concede that it’s theoretically possible for a woman to dig fellatio. What isn’t possible is that when she does it, she enjoys the same degree of agency as the recipient.

  58. slade

    Sounds right, Twisty. I’ve never heard a girlfriend of mine say she came while blowing. Not a one.

    And I don’t care what anyone says…..coming is important. Fuck cuddling.

  59. Carpenter

    more on the vagina:
    I dont think its too anthropomorphising of vaginas to say they are more like mouths than they are like some void that must be filled. On the subject of mouths theres the whole vagina dentana thing. I can only explain this by assuming that people have very powerful emotions-e.g. the insecure need to believe that vagina lesspowerful han penes. And the last thing you want to think about is what if they aren’t, so of course you think that, hence you imagine vagina dentana, a mouth mangling your delicate penis. I suppose thus is akin to saying whatever you do dont think about a hippopotamus and of couse you must think babout a hippopotamus. Or how some female friends fine Alan Cumming or steve Buscemi attractive-as they are so unattractive that thats the last thing you wanna think.

    Of couse it also has to do with the fact that bigots are greedyand must have faith in contradictory stereotypes. Thus vaginas are ust passive holes that have razor sharp teeth that will bite your dick off. Women are passive but also controlling harpies, women hate sex and are naturally choosier but they also need your giant throbing cawk.
    Also jews are all whiny castrated nebishes but they control the global banking system, and blac people are all lazy but really whave higher bone/muscel density and thus are built for harder labor than white people.(see the fucked up thread from feministe last week).

    I suppose this is because people are more interested in the “meanings” of things(that almost always coincide with the cultural ideology involving other people doing their work for them) and not in the facts about things.

  60. bigbalagan

    Twisty, there are days when you are great, and there are days when you are positively awesome. I’ve been reading radical writing of numerous shades for years. Your ability to directly connect the powerline between the most apparently intimate act and the global (intergallactic, for all we know) partriachal dominance that is fundamentally what so much of our “world” is about transcends the usual (and enjoyable) episodic nature of blogging.

    My testimony (as a man, fwiw) is that patriarchy pervades and destroys all relationships, sexual or otherwise. What we don’t know about is what we are missing. For example, who can actually know what a friendship between two people who (whatever their physical attributes) might move into a “sexual” relationship would be like? (Here I’m using “sexual” relationship to mean intimate physicality, to address the pro-fellatio lobby). The answser is no one—nix—nil—none. Individual relationships are socially mediated. They cannot exist outside the social structures that provide their very currency and language. So there is in fact no such thing as “the personal”.

    It may arise once pervasive and fundamental oppression has been eliminiated in social relations. But for now, they cannot be experienced and are really not even conceivable. What we have is a shadow of what we could have. Speaking as someone in a 20 year marriage that is deeply fulfilling, I say that it is nothing like what any of us could experience, it is a great gift but for two deeply damaged beings whose struggle to best honor each other is the bright act of the better parts of our natures, the parts that can still see how badly off we all are.

    Oppression is not avoidable. If we admit its existence, we admit a condition for a class, not a bunch of some individuals. The most fundamental fact about patriarchy is that it is pervasive. Otherwise, who would accept such a bunch of idiotically nonsensical manifestations such as high heels, sports corsets, etc.? We notice and remark on the strange behavior of people who, for example, move down the street by walking on their hands. But if that somehow became the norm for a sex-class, then it would be unremarkable, and indeed defended by some folks as by right for their individual enjoyment should they happen to get a kick from it. Obviously this is nothing like fellatio, or worse yet rape, but the point is the same.

  61. Luckynkl

    “You can’t go off on heterosexual sexual practices and presume external cultural motivations are the only possible motivations operative.”

    Of course we can. Human beings don’t live their lives by instinct. Human beings rely on belief systems to get us through the day. And guess who’s been dictating and controlling our belief systems since we were all itty bitty babies?

    Sorry, but all your bases are belong to us. Do not touch that dial. There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image; make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: There is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the Outer Limits.

  62. Blume

    The very phrase “edgy-ironic postmodern sexuality” makes me feel sorry for Random Bird.

  63. Catherine Martell

    I don’t believe there are any clothes at all (or indeed any lack of clothes) that a woman can wear without at some level invoking fetish or subjecting herself to the judgement of the patriarchy. The opposite to wearing ‘sexy’ clothes is to wear big, shapeless garments, and the patriarchy have that cornered too – it is they who invented the burqa. Either way, all garments when worn by a woman reinforce the notion that her body is a sex object, to be covered up or revealed to the beholder.

    Many of us want to escape this vortex of oppression, and resort to comfy, gender-neutral tracksuits. So do I, when I’m not at work. But even a tracksuit doesn’t solve the problem. Men are still likely to judge you in terms of your sex appeal – you’ll be called ugly, frumpy, frigid; or perhaps the fact that you’re wearing a tracksuit will make them think of you getting sweaty in a gym like the chicks in the Call On Me video; maybe you’ll even look hot in it. (I’m paraphrasing here from an old flatmate who was Mr Patriarchy – he really made me realise the truth in the old saying that ‘men would fuck a hollowed-out melon’. To a man like that, everything a woman does and is comes down to sexuality.)

    There is no escape from the male gaze. Even if feminists took a leaf out of Chairman Mao’s book (which would be dubious for any number of reasons) and invented a standardised, genderless uniform, the patriarchy would find a way to fetishise it. Stilettos, pencil skirts and sports corsets are just the tip of the iceberg.

  64. Dr.Sue

    Twisty, I’m so glad you are back full force, and the comments are all thought provoking.

    jbeeky, I struggle with similar issues. When my son was little, he loved dressing in stereotypically “feminine” garb–sparkly costume jewelry, velvet and satin, in deep pinks and purples, etc. I seem to remember being drawn to soft & sparkly attire myself, “naturally,” though it’s hard to tell because princessy stuff is foisted on little girls at such a young age. But nobody was pushing this on my son. If he still wore Dorothy shoes, pink lipstick and velvet skirts at age 12, it would be considered subversive (or sick, depending on the neighborhood), but I know that if he were a girl I’d have discouraged this kind of dressing because it would have “meant” that she was buying into patriarchal messages. With my own attire, it’s hard to tell whether I’m pleasing myself or some “ideal” I didn’t realize I’d swallowed.

    I work with women who are recovering from eating disorders, and similar issues arise. It’s all very well to say, “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full; eat what your body tells you to, and you’ll be healthy.” So many women have totally lost touch with the signals their body sends. If you’ve grown up with the message that a buttered baked potato is “evil” because it’s going to add a certain number of calories to your diet, then a craving for a baked potato is going to be met with an equally strong aversive impulse. It doesn’t surprise me that lots of women just join Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, so that food choices are made for them and they don’t have to deal with sorting all this out. It’s so hard and complicated, when it should be simple and natural, and of course for that, IBTP.

  65. Ms Kate

    What isn’t possible is that when she does it, she enjoys the same degree of agency as the recipient.

    Yet where is the line between making this simple statement of obvious fact in a patriarchy, and denying the heterosexual agency of women altogether? Between describing oppression and imposing it? Between “I’ll do it with a man but do it my way, patriarchy be damned” and women have limited agency in heterosexual relations” to “women lack the capacity” free for all?

    At least now we have context (instead of dissing specific sexual acts and four letters for an icky thing not to be named), but it is problematic in that denying women the capacity for agency historically leads to proscribed behavior for women.

    I strongly agree that sports corsets on Serena are designed to deny agency and contain female agency. I’m strongly conflicted about containing the agency I have for the sake of a rigid ideal, including those who have strict ideas of feminist sexuality not including a hard penis.

  66. Hawise

    KTal- I was never the classically thin woman and so never developed the obsessive need to buy clothes that do not fit right. The first time I wore high heels, my feet hurt for three days and so I never developed the need to show an elongonated calf. I did learn what styles and fabrics suit me. I learned that the majority prefer to have commerce tell them what they like and as a result, I often find my favorites at a steep discount when they are available. I work to maintain ME, the me that I am proud of and I rarely worry about what others think of that construct.
    Interestingly, I have never lacked friends and partners. There are people all around us who do not swim in the mainstream and just because some want to force us into it, does not mean that we have to go. I like my rivulet, it has depth and a warm current and it goes everywhere that I want to go.
    On another note, there are places for corsets, sports is not one of them. Some of my best friends love corsets and make their own. Of course they are friends with back problems which explains alot.

  67. Delphyne

    Either Twisty is right or she isn’t, Ms Kate. The problem with the Catholic priests is not their sexual status but that they are wrong about their views of women and marriage. Now if they’d tell their flocks that marriage is a patriarchal institution designed to keep women and children subordinate to men then they’d be right and we should all pay attention.

  68. Branjor

    There’s nothing empty about the vagina. It is a collapsed space. There *is* no space unless something pulls the walls of it apart.

  69. Whitters

    Particularly those straight women who derive a large-ish chunk of their identity from their mad sexbot skillz and brilliantly successful assimilation of the principles of femininity, e.g. “pole dancing is empowering!”, women who don’t yet grasp the scope of the hatred with which men view them.

    Because there’s no hatred AT ALL coming from other women, right? I mean, that would be completely against feminist ideals, wouldn’t it? Oh…wait a minute…

    It’s nice to know that if I decide to have a boob job (which I plan on doing), wear makeup (which I do), and grind on a pole (which I have done), then I am somehow being an ignorant brainwashed slut who is incapable of making the “right” choices for myself. I suppose I should live my life always asking, “But what would the radfems think of this?” before doing anything or making any sort of decision.

  70. maggiethewolf

    I feel, to best participate in this thread, that I need to find some Dorothy Parker moo-goo dust and sprinkle it on me AND THEN hang at each of the 7 sisters until I’d ooze feminist nomenclature as easily as I sweat in a sauna.

    However, feeling undergunned, I still launch a salvo.

    What about the Red Bug Factor? We have hostas and red bugs swarm on those hostas. They join at their butts and one drags the other and not even my thundering feet will tear them asunder. They want to fuck not because fucking is especially pleasant when you’re a red bug, but because procreation is their point. That’s their supreme purpose. And they’re quite cavalier about my feet, for mortality is inevitable, but reproduction makes them immortal. So, they’ll do risk and endure whatever they must to reproduce.

    We’re red bugs too. All our fancy polysyllabic words and ducky notions don’t let us duck the big feet of fate. Time squashes all of us…and even worse, chips away at all of us…and on a cellular level, we understand that procreation is the only way our DNA survives the grave, so bring on the corset, the spiky shoes, the bimbo bra. We’ll do what we must do and endure what we must endure to reproduce.

  71. Kaethe

    >What is a good feminist supposed to think about sex?

    It’s all about my orgasm. Putting my “mad sexbot skillz” to my own delight.

    A good partner, on the other hand, thinks about the other’s orgasm.

    I think you’re dead on, Twisty, in that servicing a man is servicing the patriarchy. As a feminist and a blamer, the best I can do is demand equal time (or more) fighting the patriarchy.

  72. k, dog

    I read through some of your older stuff (am new here)…and have been thinking about the phrase “universal sexbot mandate.” I think what is just as universal, if anything is, are the strictures we face on the spread of our affections. What is important is not who gives who head so much as who can walk down the street arm in arm or hand in hand. I’m a woman-lovin’ man, but there are plenty of my guy pals that I love to be affectionate with. And frankly, the latter is just as much of an issue. Much of the Arab world is deeply sexist, but (speaking as someone of Lebanese heritage) I really like the way it allows affection between men. This is not to excuse the much worse parts of Arab culture, just to point out some things about our own way of living: we have very strict rules about how you can be physically affectionate with various people. Yes, there are homophobes in our society. But for the most part, we are not homo-phobic, but homo-allergic, afraid of just being physically close with members of the same sex. I think too often people see a few blatant homophobes and mistake them for a universally held belief, when the deeper problem is less with homo*sexuality* and more with homo*philia*. We have a whole system of sympathies and alliances across gender lines which cross-cut the various sexbot/desirebot mandates in place. Which is to say there is more than just sex at stake in pictures of corseted females. There are also deeper, more fundamental forms of intimacy and attachment. But maybe that’s not right either.

  73. ew_nc

    I have empty holes in my ears and my nose, am I supposed to allow a dick to be put in those?

  74. Twisty

    Ms Kate, my point is that women ain’t got no agency from the git-go. Why is it that, whenever I point this out, I am accused of bringing about the condition I merely describe?

  75. teresawymore

    But the really fascinating question to me, Ms Kate, is what exactly does “for her own enjoyment” mean?

    There is the pure tactile sensation, and some women even claim to like the taste. More likely, it’s an association—Pavlov’s dog really wanted a steak but he learned to love bells. How many women have learned to love “servicing” for approval and security, for the sheer clarity of expectation or for the tawdry sensation of decadence?

    The curious thing to me as a writer of erotic fiction is how terribly huge the bdsm market is and that it’s still growing. The people buying these novels of “alpha” males and subordinate females in slave-sexual relationships are WOMEN. Desire is not simply a genetic function but a highly constructed part of personality, and what, do you suppose, has contributed to that construction?

  76. Delphyne

    “There is no escape from the male gaze. Even if feminists took a leaf out of Chairman Mao’s book (which would be dubious for any number of reasons) and invented a standardised, genderless uniform, the patriarchy would find a way to fetishise it. Stilettos, pencil skirts and sports corsets are just the tip of the iceberg.”

    No they aren’t. Stilletoes mess up your feet and cripple you, pencil skirts hobble your walk and make it difficult to move and corsets interfere with your breathing. These items are used by the patriarchy to make women literally feel their oppression in their bodies. Even if our minds ignore what is being done to us our bodies know. The reason why men find these items sexually exciting is because they cause women pain and discomfort.

    So what if a man fetishises a utilitarian uniform? I don’t really give a fuck what men think about me as long as I am free to move, walk and breathe. Please preach your counsel of despair somewhere else.

  77. Twisty

    Hey pole-grinder,

    What’s with all the hate? I’m just the messenger. Here’s the message:

    The dominant culture is going to love your new fake tits, and will lavish you with praise and hot-cha-chas for demonstrating your willingness to endure the risks and pain of mangling surgery for the sake of your own subordination, but it will not love you any more than it does now.

    By the way, as a recent alumna of multiple surgeries, 3 of them boobal, I would beg you to reconsider letting anyone with a knife anywhere near your chest. That shit fuckin hurts.

  78. teresawymore

    Maggiethewolf: “We’ll do what we must do and endure what we must endure to reproduce.”

    If you believe sex and intercourse are synonymous, you have accepted the male as normative for defining sex. Do you realize that a woman’s orgasm has nothing to do with reproduction, unlike a man’s?

    We’re not bugs. Sure, we have urges to do things with our genitals, but what we do with them is entirely learned. The Catholic Church’s “natural law” is based in the notion that sex has one form and one function, and that is based on male experience as normative.

    Besides, if sex is really just biological when it comes down to it, why the heels and fake boobs? How does that make one pussy better than any other?

  79. maggiethewolf

    teresawymore, women’s orgams do correlate with reproduction. The contractions advance the sperm.

    And heels and fake boobs extend fertility markers.

    Why makes you think we’re not big, fancy, chatty bugs?

    And you wrote, “Sure, we have urges to do things with our genitals, but what we do with them is entirely learned.”

    And what has led you to believe that ANYTHING is entirely something? I’m not arguing that our constructions, our artifices, don’t play a part. I do suggest that we extend biology, rather than deviate from it.

  80. Joanna

    Sorry, Twisty, in my comment at the start of this thread I misquted you! It should have read:
    “We’re blaming the patriarchy, not you, but really, mightn’t it be time to step up?”

    In order to make change, first we have to figure out what we want to change, then we have to try to imagine something different. Blaming is part of the first stage, and our conversations (including these here) are the only thing that will make possible a next stage. It is possible to individually and collectively change the meanings we assign to behaviors, feelings, practices, even if at times it feels impossible. I don’t think we can do this only as individuals, but I don’t think the collective stuff happens unless we examine our lives, as Twisty says.

  81. Catherine Martell

    Delphyne tells me: “Please preach your counsel of despair somewhere else.”

    I’m not preaching a counsel of despair. On the contrary, I’m quite cheery. Nor am I, in any sense, advocating stilettos, pencil skirts, or sportscorsets, and yes, I am fully aware of their specific problems. I just observed that escaping from the political dimensions of your appearance is potentially not so easy as switching heels for flats. As Twisty argued above, these things do not exist in a vacuum. The patriarchy places a woman’s appearance at the top of the list of stuff for her to be judged on, with everything else falling a very long way behind. Jezebella’s post, above, is enlightening – she admits that she makes compromises in the way she dresses between feminist inclination and patriarchal expectation. Most of us probably do. She acknowledges that ‘it’s not easy to do a total purge’, and I agree. But what I’m really interested in is what might remain after a total purge. Would anything be politically or sexually neutral while the patriarchy endures?

    Now, you may decide to participate no-holds-barred in the patriarchal pageant – like Whitters above, who’s about to empowerfulize herself by getting her boobs sliced open and replaced with big lumps of oddly-shaped, slowly-hardening poison – or you may decide that you’d rather wear clothes that leave you ‘free to move, walk and breathe’. FWIW, I think it’s tickety-boo that you choose the latter. But my point remains: the patriarchy will continue to judge every woman as a potential sexual object. Including you. Whether you like it or not. Whether you care or not. For that is its way.

  82. teresawymore

    Maggiethewolf: “women’s orgams do correlate with reproduction. The contractions advance the sperm.”

    A woman’s orgasm is totally unnecessary to reproduction. As many rape survivors can attest, the sperm will get there even if impregnation was horrific. On the other hand, a cold beer has helped innumerable coeds reach impregnation, but no one’s put that in a biology textbook yet.

    “And heels and fake boobs extend fertility markers.”

    Exactly. They are marks of culture: taught, learned, enforced. They enhance, obfiscate, and manipulate desire. They are necessary to reproduction insofar as those reproducing decide they are. Nature and God really don’t care if I have a push-up bra. And I told my husband if he cares, he must first put a hanger around his balls to keep them from their unsightly sag.

    “Why makes you think we’re not big, fancy, chatty bugs?”

    My cerebrum.

    “And what has led you to believe that ANYTHING is entirely something? I’m not arguing that our constructions, our artifices, don’t play a part. I do suggest that we extend biology, rather than deviate from it.”

    I suggest we are complex, but I would say you’re minimizing excessively to say our constructions “play a part.” It is biology that “plays a part.”

  83. amaz0n

    And heels and fake boobs extend fertility markers.

    Horse shit. Fake boobs are just that – fake boobs – and even the most realistic (and breast implants are not designed to look realistic) resemble non-modified breasts about as much as a peg leg resembles a human foot. By your logic, men should despise fake breasts. If men are attracted to “fertility markers,” they should be repulsed by a bodily modification that could potentially prevent a woman from breastfeeding.

    And how does hobbling footwear qualify as a “fertility marker”?

    And if attraction to these “fertility markers” is so unavoidable and unchanging, why have the demands of the patriarchal society of women and their bodies been so fickle and subject to fashion? Hell – just take a look at the way women have been depicted in art for the last five centuries alone (a mere sneeze in the ultimate lifespan of the human species), and you’ll find that the patriarchy has, at one time or another, demanded every possible bodily shape from women at one point or another, so long as it is one that is impossible for the majority of women to acheive healthfully and without extensive effort.

  84. teresawymore

    Didn’t this ruckus start about blow jobs? So we’re talking about the penis as a sex organ, not a reproductive organ.

    You know, most of us here are suggesting the vagina is the counterpart of the penis, even when we talk about the penis as a sex organ. That’s patriarchy-thinking because that’s what serves their interest.

    The female SEX organ is the clitoris. It’s just that men have little use for it except how quickly it can be used to make you spread your legs, get done with “foreplay,” and move on to “sex.”

  85. Delphyne

    For someone who says she isn’t preaching a counsel of despair Catherine, you’re doing a good job of sounding like that’s exactly what you are doing -

    “I just observed that escaping from the political dimensions of your appearance is potentially not so easy as switching heels for flats.”

    “She acknowledges that ‘it’s not easy to do a total purge’, and I agree.”

    Do you know what? It really is that easy. Try it. You’ll find out how easy it is. You have to want to do it though and maybe that’s the problem.

  86. Luckynkl

    “If you believe sex and intercourse are synonymous, you have accepted the male as normative for defining sex.”

    Someone finally said it! Thank you! I was beginning to wonder if “lesbian” was going to register on anyone’s radar. What precisely do people consider lesbian lovemaking? Not sex? Of course this is exactly how the patriarch’s think. Lesbian sex isn’t “real” sex. And their attitudes and laws reflect it. As a result, a lesbian lawyer was able to have a field day with a client’s husband who accused her client and her lesbian lover of adultery. The letter of the law, however, states that penile penetration must occur in order for an adultery to occur. Oops. Sorry boys, can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    While love and affection is a basic human need, sex is not. Intercourse has little to do with love and affection. Interourse, under patriarchy, is a political institution. The result is, we live in a rape culture. Until we start to understand that intercourse is a political institution, we will never begin to understand or address rape and men’s violence towards women.

    As for intercourse and men’s gaze being “natural,” there ain’t nothing natural about it. Men are taught and conditioned to hold these values and attitudes toward women. If men were taught to fetishize ears, then it’s ears that would attract the male gaze. But it’s not ears or sex men have been taught to eroticize. Sorry, sisters. But what men eroticize is POWER. Not sex. Intercourse is only a means to an end. It’s a male status symbol of power, control and dominance. And that is what he worships and eroticizes. Not you. You’re nothing but the sacrificial lamb.

  87. rootlesscosmo

    “my point is that women ain’t got no agency from the git-go

    I agree completely that the “agency” mantra is too often invoked to rationalize acceptance of subordination as though it were a liberating choice. But there is, I think, a real problem with the claim that oppressed groups lack agency entirely, which is that it leaves us with no way to explain how they do, in spite of everything, manage to organize resistance. (Marxism has the same problem–capitalist relations produce “false consciousness,” yet they also–inevitably–give rise to revolutionary opposition.) I don’t know how to reconcile this difficulty but I think it needs to be dealt with.

  88. Catherine Martell

    “Do you know what? It really is that easy. Try it. You’ll find out how easy it is. You have to want to do it though and maybe that’s the problem.”

    No, that is not the problem. This argument is not about my wardrobe though incidentally, if it was, you’d find it full of comfortable and non-crippling garments. The problem is – surprise! – the patriarchy. I am arguing that:

    1. Under a patriarchal system, women’s bodies are universally fetishised;

    2. Therefore, ANY clothes a woman wears are subject to fetishisation;

    3. Therefore, no matter what I discard from or add to my wardrobe, I will not be able to avoid being viewed as a sexual object by the patriarchy, at least not while I keep wearing clothes;

    4. And I don’t think running around naked would help much, either.

    It isn’t despair, it’s an observation. I’m interested in how other women deal with the politics of dress. Obviously, one can select clothes on the basis of comfort rather than conformity. But it doesn’t take long for men to work out ways of fetishising even the most utilitarian of outfits – and, before you know it, by wearing your functional school uniform, ER scrubs or office suit, you’re accidentally appeasing the patriarchy. Or challenging it, in which case it will probably call you a ‘hairy dyke with sour grapes’ (viz. Twisty). Either way, it will judge you on how you look. It may be liberating not to care, but that doesn’t stop it happening.

  89. Delphyne

    “2. Therefore, ANY clothes a woman wears are subject to fetishisation”

    This is where we disagree, as I pointed out, the reason why men fetishise high heels, corsets or pencil skirts is not because they are “clothes women wear” but because they are “clothes which cause women pain or discomfort and women wear for men’s pleasure”.

    And I don’t really understand why you are so concerned with what men think. Even if they did fetishise comfortable clothes (which they won’t as I’ve already explained), does it matter that much? At least you are comfortable and free.

    Uniforms are another discussion entirely. Women’s uniforms haven’t traditionally been utilitarian, (skirts often seem to be the order of the day) however the fetishisation of uniforms (both women’s and men’s) comes from the power dynamics in the occupations they represent.

  90. Twisty

    But Rootless, unlike some other oppressed groups, women have so far been stunningly unsuccessful in organizing resistance. We’re still living in a rape culture, so how else to account for it except by admitting that women got no agency? Men aren’t gonna stop raping women just because a few of’em say ‘no’ once in a while.

  91. antiprincess

    “I just observed that escaping from the political dimensions of your appearance is potentially not so easy as switching heels for flats.”

    Delphyne – out of the five pairs of shoes I own, three pairs are more-or-less modest heels that I never wear. They gather dust and get ignored, and for what I paid for them, it’s just as well (they’re all second hand, bought to serve a specific purpose like attendance at a wedding or something). The other two are godawful practically-orthopedic slipons (hand-me-downs from a spectacularly fashion-backward aunt), one pair of which I’m wearing right now, as I do every single day and will continue to until I can feel the asphalt on my feet.

    I have essentially switched my heels (such as they are) for flats. and you’re right – it was easy. While I was at it, I stopped shaving and started to pretty much ignore all aspects of my appearance. I feel better and have more time to read.

    But now that you know what I look like IRL, I’m willing to bet that you still probably think I’m kind of an unfeminist dimwit, even though I don’t look even remotely sexbot-like. You probably conform more closely to patriarchal beauty standards than I do, without even trying.

    My choice of footwear does not change the fact that you and I still disagree about almost everything under the sun.

    It’s not really the shoes. It’s not really the clothes. It’s not the ribbons or the bows or the boning or the heel or the random odd sucking of whatever sticks out. It’s how we assign meaning to these objects and actions. And those meanings will vary from person to person, some folks investing them with deep symbolic resonance, others with barely a second thought.

  92. finnsmotel

    “Would anything be politically or sexually neutral while the patriarchy endures?”

    No, because even the attempt at neutrality is judged within patriarchal norms and rules. Throw off all femininity (or masculinity for that matter) and there’s still a patriarchally-approved label for it. There’s no escaping the judgment without fully escaping the system. Patriarchy requires gender and androgyny aspires to neutralize gender, therefore it is outside the norm of patriarchy.

    That said, I am interested in the concept of agency, though.

    I’m thinking that humanity, being strapped to natural selection and survival of the fittest within a system of limited resources (and all that jazz), is prone toward social systems that give and take agency as reward for behavior within that system to manage the greater good and at least semi-equitable distribution of resources. And, it’s inherently impossible for us to design systems that are equally equitable to all because somebody’s always gonna have more of something than somebody else, no matter what something we decide to focus on. Whether it’s acorns, ducats, gold nuggets, horses, tits, rape chambers or whatever.

    (Side Note: Even when humans invent fictious races, like the Ferengi on Star Trek, we give them a characteristic, like big ears, to compare with one another.)

    Let’s say we went with a meritocracy of intelligence. There’d still be loads of people feeling oppressed by the smarties, some folks fighting for dummy rights, and some wishing for a smart-neutral world. (Side Note2: Bush has done his best to foster the smart-neutral world.)

    I’m admittedly only a JuCo anthropologist, and I’m not suggesting we stick with the status quo into infinity. Not by any means. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for change, but I don’t expect a ton of improvement within any human system.

    I mean, if you believe that having hetero sex denies you agency in the relationship, I agree that you should consider dumping him. Hey, lose boys altogether if you think it would improve your life. But, I would advance the radical theory that homo sex is equally imbalanced in agency equity distribution, but the agency ain’t divided along gender lines. (What to do, what to do? No homo sex either?)

    Take it a step further and recognize that all human relationships of any kind have a give and take of agency. It’s a negotiation for currency at every turn.

    Nobody gets everything they want. We’re all making compromises within these systems to meet our needs as best we can. It’s fantasy to expect that eliminating patriarchy would also eliminate the inherent human tendency toward dominance and submission. You might change the currency, but the negotiation will always be there.

    I’ve got no summary beyond that. Just my 2c. Shoot holes and flame as you see fit.

    -finn

  93. KTal

    Hawsie says: “I work to maintain ME, the me that I am proud of and I rarely worry about what others think of that construct.
    Interestingly, I have never lacked friends and partners. There are people all around us who do not swim in the mainstream and just because some want to force us into it, does not mean that we have to go.”

    Exactly. I never lacked any either, what I lacked was the ability to see them.

    _______________________________

    A good example of sexuality/oppressive acting out as a learned behavior exists in the behavior of overly sexualized children, particularly those who had experienced the sexual and mental manipulation of a pedophile. A pedophile perverts a child’s natural need for affirmation, nurturance and approval into serving the sexual needs of the pedophile.

    The pedophile trains the child to barter their bodily sovreignty in exchange for affirmation and nurturing. Of course, this constitutes a fraud, because the pedophile only wishes to please themselves, regardless of the social and physical pain and also the emotional conflicts it causes the child. But the pedophile successfully convinces the child that to please another despite what consequence it may bring to oneself is the utmost act of love. Implicit in this also is that the pedophile deserves this service and the child benefits by giving service.

    Obviously, the child must deal with the double standard that the pedophile makes all the calls and decides what, when and how, if ever, the child will be able to assert its own needs. THerefore the child must accept the construct that the pedophile’s pleasure, desires and wants come first and the child shall never propose the pedophile suffer for the sake of the child’s pleasure, which oft has little to do with sex play.

    The child becomes object and loses all, or never even develops, any sense of self as a seperate whole individual. Also, the child makes the logial leap that their entire sense of self worth hinges on their ability to sexually please other individuals.

    It is a dominant power relationship and no surprise to me in anyway that pedophilia is a problem in patriarchical societies and similarities to behavior and constructs in a pedophiliac relationship eerily mirror the idealization of women as object of power and male as sole giver of power.

    Corsets, high heels, pencil skirts, boob jobs, tight jeans and the rest serve only to confirm this. ALso, might I add, since getting close to power is the best that a woman who plays by the rules is allowed, then the closer the better. Therefore, such accoutrements also serve the dual function of signaling that wearer has attained power as assigned by male approval and is therefore entitled to receive higher status and approval from others.

    Although these women claim that the hirsute, liberal feminazi has no power and thus disrupts them little, seems these superior womenfolk spend a lot of time heaving heavy in their corsets over said inferiors.

  94. rootlesscosmo

    “women have so far been stunningly unsuccessful in organizing resistance.”

    I wouldn’t agree. There was and is a women’s movement; there are a lot more women in the sciences, in medicine, in law, in the academy, than when I was a kid (the 1940′s and 50′s); Title VII and Title IX are still the law, though enforcement is another matter; there’s a feminist presence on the net, including this blog. We do live in a rape culture, and I think it’s accurate to say that the resistance has achieved only limited gains and has actually been in retreat since its high point around 1973 (I think Susan Faludi’s “Backlash” was right on target.) But thirty years ago marital rape was still not recognized as a crime in most jurisdictions, there weren’t rape victim assistance and counseling programs, sexual harassment and “hostile work environment” weren’t recognized as forms of gender discrimination, there weren’t shelters and support networks for women fleeing violent men, and rape war wasn’t understood as a tactic of war–a specific war crime, in fact.

    I’m not trying to paint a rosy picture here or suggest that we can all turn over and go back to sleep. If I had to sum up what happened to the progressive movements of the 60′s and 70′s, in fact, I’d put it this way: We Lost. But we did resist, we haven’t lost everything, and gloomy as I am, I’m not ready to accept the “1984″ vision of the future as “a boot stamping on a human face forever.”

  95. TP

    “It’s nice to know that if I decide to have a boob job (which I plan on doing), wear makeup (which I do), and grind on a pole (which I have done), then I am somehow being an ignorant brainwashed slut who is incapable of making the “right” choices for myself. I suppose I should live my life always asking, “But what would the radfems think of this?” before doing anything or making any sort of decision.”

    It’s much better to ask what those wonderful MENFOLK would think of it, because if you are able to make yourself even less human and more one-dimensionally sexual maybe some MAN will want to own you and protect you from all the other men who want to rape you. The MEN have your best interests at heart, so PLEASE THEM and don’t worry what those mean old radfems might think!

  96. hedonistic

    I wanna know why Luckynl doesn’t have a blog. Preach it sister!

  97. witchy-woo

    AntiP – “It’s how we assign meaning to these objects and actions. And those meanings will vary from person to person, some folks investing them with deep symbolic resonance, others with barely a second thought.”

    However the individual assigns meaning to objects or actions, or not, the patriarchy has the final say and that makes the assignations of the individual totally meaningless in the great scheme of things.

  98. maggiethewolf

    amazOn says: “If men are attracted to “fertility markers,” they should be repulsed by a bodily modification that could potentially prevent a woman from breastfeeding.”

    Yeah, if the eyes weren’t fooled by caricature and the head cared trumped form with function, it would work that way, but…consider a stallion that will fuck a latex vagina…or what an ex-bf once told me: that a man would fuck a knot in a tree if he could. I’m not saying it’s sensible. I’m just saying what it is and all the “horse shit” you can muster isn’t going to cover the stink of the beast in us.

    teresawymore says: “A woman’s orgasm is totally unnecessary to reproduction.”

    Nah. First off, there’s no “totally” in anything anywhere. Second off, why do you think many men are so interested in the female orgasm? Think like a cop.

    Ask, “What’s their motive?”

    As far as your cerebrum, bugs have brains too. Are you a fundie who believes we’re not animals?

    teresawymore says, “I suggest we are complex, but I would say you’re minimizing excessively to say our constructions “play a part.” It is biology that “plays a part.””

    You might be right here. I don’t know. No one knows. I just don’t want folks to forget that they’re akin to big bugs, albeit bugs with constructions.

  99. Jodie

    “There is no escape from the male gaze.”

    Actually, yes there is. All you have to do is be older and heavier (although maybe just older would get you the same result).

    I no longer seem to be considered a random sex object by society at large. Sometimes the result is that when I am quiet, I am invisible (which is weird, but I’m growing to appreciate it). When I choose to indicate that I want to interact (by eye contact or talking), it seems that I’m just a human that other humans respond to without sexual overtones.

    It feels like a constant threat has been removed.

    It’s really cool. I can’t see that it’s had any effect on dating, either, although finding companions takes more effort on my part.

    Not that this means the patriarchy has gone away or anything, but I no longer seem to be important to it.

  100. Ron Sullivan

    maggiethewolf:
    women’s orgams do correlate with reproduction. The contractions advance the sperm.
    Not by enough to make a big difference in “reproductive success,” evidently, in current human populations. You really think the most orgasmic women have the most (and most fertile) kids? Or that orgasms make a statistically significant difference even between conception and non-conception? That’s going to take some serious evidence-gathering, that is.

    And heels and fake boobs extend fertility markers.

    Tippytoes posture is a fertility marker? Huh. News to me.If it’s a matter of sticking your ass out, bustles accomplish that much better. Fake boobs, ditto — of course, swollen boobs actually indicate that you’re already pregnant or still nursing, neither of which makes for current fertility. Deferred gratification? Not particularly a matter of instinct.

    But that’s a snide aside. Fashions change enough from generation to generation to make them dubious as “fertility markers.” Nobody actually has to dress up to get pregnant. Nobody really has to dress up to get laid. Especially women don’t. If we walk up to a random guy and say, “Hey, wanna fuck?” that’ll work faster than putting on a pair of pantyhose.

    And of course that has little to do with why we’re expected to wear heels to the office.

    Why makes you think we’re not big, fancy, chatty bugs?

    We wear our skeletons on the inside, for a start. But if we’re telling just-so stories, maybe we should consider which sex of the average bug, bird, or even mammal wears the conspicuous couture.

    As for being distracted during the act: Might be that your red bugs don’t let go because once they’re started, they can’t. Ever had a good close look at a bug’s junk? Lord, lord.

  101. Twisty

    “Ever had a good close look at a bug’s junk? Lord, lord.”

    Ron’s on fire!

  102. CafeSiren

    Why do you think many men are so interested in the female orgasm? Think like a cop.

    Well, before some inborn knowledge of female reproductive mechanics, I would hazard two not-necessarily-mutually exclusive guesses, based on the individual involved: 1) Performance (the ability to induce female orgasm implying sexual prowess), and/or 2) Empathy for one’s sexual partner.

    Really, this picking a conclusion and arguing backwards from it is a serious logical fallacy — a “just-so” story, as Ron puts it. And it’s a circular argument to boot.

    (Can y’all tell today was the first day of my teaching semester?)

  103. amaz0n

    why do you think many men are so interested in the female orgasm?

    Um, until this generation, most men thought that the female orgasm was a myth, or at best some form of hysteria.

    And as for the reason why many men nowadays are so interested in the female orgasm, it’s because the elusive “multiple orgasm” and all variations thereof is for many men an extension of their beloved virility.

  104. wkiernan

    A fracture boot? Jesus H. Kee-rist, Twisty, what now? I wish I knew your address; I’d send you a hard hat for Christmas, ’cause I think you could probably use one. As the poster in the break room says, “Hard Hats Save Lives!”

    - yours, Mr. OSHA

  105. maggiethewolf

    Yeah, you’re cute, Ron, but what confuses me is your congruence with the self-righteous right, who believe that evolution is hokus-pokus because they can’t bear the thought that we’re beasts. When I compare us to bugs, I’m not comparing junk or skeletons, but the prime directive.

    However, if you insist on a near match, consider the chimps, with their DNA: 98.5% identical to ours. Their behavior is also overwhelmingly similar.

    So, we can talk about constructs day after day after day, but at the end of each day, it isn’t fucking or empty vaginas or patriarchy or corsets that matter most: it’s procreating and then dying.

    And all our neuroses, given our cognizance of our mortality, should be forgiven, for whereas we can rhyme our lines and giggle about bug junk, we’re all food for bugs and this is why I try to have compassion for men who crave women in corsets and women who crave corsets.

    We fuck each other because we’re all fucked.

  106. nolo

    maggiethewolf, ron’s cute, but he’s also got a point. We are not bugs. You also have a point, but not the point you think you do. We have a lot in common with chimps (not the things you think we do, but bear me out). One of the more interesting things we have in common with chimps and certain other primates (such as bonobos), is that we are among the very few mammals whose females do not go through estrus cycles. Put another way, we don’t go into heat, dear. Instead, unlike females that go into heat, us human females are sexual in our interests and behaviors regardless of (and independent of) whether we are actually fertile or want to procreate. In other words, unlike the bugs who have to fuck when the hormones say they’re fertile, humans, chimps and bonobos get to fuck when they feel like it. And indeed, it turns out that humans, chimps and bonobos feel like fucking for all sorts of reasons that have little to nothing to do with procreating, and all sorts of things to do with our social networks.

    Now I know I’m going to get told that all the “reasons” women and men engage in sex are just the clever mechanisms evolution came up with in order to get us to have children. But think about this– evolution came up with heat cycles, which are a much more efficient and direct means by which to ensure that procreative sex occurs, long before evolution came up with us. Why would we evolve away from a more efficient procreative strategy, unless maybe sex for us is about more than just making babies?

    Just a thought. Ron’s post was pithier, though.

  107. B. Dagger Lee

    NO, no, no. The prime directive , per Starfleet General Order #1, is that advanced civilizations shall not interfere with less advanced civilizations, in practice on Earth, it means let’s talk about the bonobos.

    And it makes me want to tear my hair out when people talk and think about evolution as if it is a teleological process. Evolution has no design, no intentions, no prime directive, no clever mechanisms, and no goal, no just-so stories, as Ron so elegantly and slyly put it.

    yrs, B.D.L.

  108. Jezebella

    Make it stop, make it stop!! Someone just said BONOBO! and meant it!!

    And the spamulator let it in. Twisty, you must send Phil to Arcane Spamulator Coding School so he can sort this out.

  109. Shannon

    You know, a problem with the idea that we all have indivudal meanings for our cultural artifacts is well..it’s easier for me to express it in example form. Let’s say that I have decided that wearing a shirt that says slut in pink glitter puff really means I’m an intelligent and refined human being. But the truth is that people will react in their culturally defined ways to you, and thus change your behavior in response and it all goes over again.

  110. Jezebella

    Delphyne – quoting you quoting me via Catherine –

    ““She acknowledges that ‘it’s not easy to do a total purge’, and I agree.”

    Do you know what? It really is that easy. Try it. You’ll find out how easy it is. You have to want to do it though and maybe that’s the problem. ”

    There are a couple of reasons a total purge is difficult, beginning with just figuring out what assumptions need to be deprogrammed. If you’ve lived in the Patriarchy-Matrix your whole (young) life, it takes a while to see clearly. It’s NOT that easy, especially for someone (like me) who was raised by an appearance-obsessed mother in the American South. You have to peel off the layers of training, one by one, be they mental or physical. Simply recognizing the effects of the P-Matrix on one’s self-image & self-presentation is a difficult task for the Fledgling Blamer. Give the kid some time, for heavens’ sake. It takes a while to rid oneself of bad habits.

    And, as noted before, I choose to make compromises because I still live and work in the Matrix, and I make no apologies. Perhaps you, Delphyne, are independently wealthy or perhaps have a profession that requires you to have no public, professional appearance, but I am neither. I have to pay my own bills, and furthermore, I like my public service job. If wearing a navy blue suit now and again means our mission is furthered, I’m willing to do that. My desire to wear pajamas and birkenstocks day in and day out is outweighed by my desire to serve my community and have a fulfilling and rewarding career. Don’t be hatin’!

  111. Chris Clarke

    EvPsych is a Tool of the Patriarchy.

    And anyone who blithely enters into argument with Ron Sullivan about matters evolutionary will likely have a new anal orifice evolved on them in rather short order. She knows twice as much about it as I do, and I know damn near everything.

  112. maggiethewolf

    Sure, B. Dagger Lee, evolution doesn’t have intent, but we do. Our intent is replication. If we do, we win. Otherwise, we lose.

    Now hang onto your hands, B.D. Lee, because I suspect this analogy will have you yanking your locks. Deprive a plant of water. What will it do?

    Flower, of course.

    Why?

    Because it’s about to die and so it does what it’s designed to do: reproduce. So it goes with us, for the mechanisms that made the flower, the bug, and the bird also made us. Whereas I don’t dare extrapolate too tightly from flower to fella, it seems worth considering that we’re not the very very extra special species and that nearly everything we are and do is because we choose. Again, you lefties have wrapped around and ideologically linked with the right. Doesn’t that make you wonder (I’m asking this question for the third time.)? I know you hang your constructs on choice, but consider that we’re not so clever that we haven’t constructed a way to choose.

    And nolo, thanks for calling me dear, dear, but I knew that we don’t go into heat. Otherwise, the boys would be sniffing my ass once a month. It would be simpler if we did, but because we don’t, the male is always guessing, loitering, cocking his biceps, and flashing his cash.

    Nolo, I do agree that we fuck for reasons other than procreation. Correction: maybe A reason. We fuck to bond so that when we do procreate, the bond won’t be broken by the babe. Of course, there are exceptions, but young het couples fuck a whole lot more than is needed to inseminate.

    Now, nonny, nonny, Mr. Ronny, no more non-sequiturs, sir.

    This is good fun, but it’s not a good rebuttal:

    “Why makes you think we’re not big, fancy, chatty bugs?

    We wear our skeletons on the inside, for a start. But if we’re telling just-so stories, maybe we should consider which sex of the average bug, bird, or even mammal wears the conspicuous couture.

    As for being distracted during the act: Might be that your red bugs don’t let go because once they’re started, they can’t. Ever had a good close look at a bug’s junk? Lord, lord.”

  113. Mandos

    Actually Ron Sullivan is a she, but she’s probably amused that everyone mistakes her for a he. I think that’s why she uses Ron, actually.

  114. Chris Clarke

    Flower, of course.

    Why?

    Because it’s about to die and so it does what it’s designed to do: reproduce. So it goes with us, for the mechanisms that made the flower, the bug, and the bird also made us

    I want everyone here to drop what they’re doing and go drink a glass of water RIGHT NOW.

  115. Chris Clarke

    Also, is this where I put my pro forma whine about my other pro forma whine (about how lame EvPsych is) being in moderation?

  116. TNTrash

    Ok. Whoa-back, y’all.

    I have to, have to point out that bonobos are chimps. Pygmy chimps, to some folks. A.K.A pan paniscus. The chimps we usually see on TV are common chimps, or pan troglodytes (sp?) for the nerds.

    The bonobos are our closest relatives among the apes. And they are APES, not monkeys. That’s why Desmond Morris, the wacky primatologist, called his book “The Naked Ape,” not “The Naked Monkey.”

    I know, I know, it’s picky as hell, I guess. But the distinction bears something in the argument, I think. Consequently, Mr. Morris did a series that I saw years ago on the learning channel about human sexuality that, via teensy-tiny, fancy-assed camera technology, showed how the cervix actually dips downward during orgasm, which I guess does “advance” sperm, but yeah, not enough that it would make or break conception. I mean, when I got knocked up I didn’t have an orgasm during intercourse. *shrugs*

    But all this talk of primates and apes and orgasms just brings me back to how humans, a.k.a. homo sapiens sapiens, evolved from hominidae, and learned to actually travel and move and hunt, etc. ad infinitum, in larger groups, not smaller ones. Our current cultural self-absorption and insistence on “MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEEEEEEEEE!!!!!” as a fucking life-focus doesn’t just speak to our cultural evolution- even while it keeps greasing up the cogs of the patriarchal machine by making us forget that we exist AMONG one another, and not apart from one another- it speaks to our DEVOLUTION, as a physiological species. Extinction seems to be the next step, and it’s sad. It’s good that we’ve evolved with big brains and specified hands and vocal chords and all the other exaptations. Makes us smart, funny, and innovative, in some ways- in that we can decide to change it, or at least put a dent in it before it blows up in our faces.

    Then I go and read the Random Birdshit and I think, Help Me Baby Jeeesus, this is where all that high-falutin’ evolvin’ done went to. *throws up hands*

    Twisty, darlin’. I’ve been reading your blog for a while. From one spinster aunt to another- I can’t tell you how glad I am that you’re hear posting. Hope you don’t mind I’m here. I tend to get all long-winded and shit.

    Luvs.

  117. Catherine Martell

    Delphyne says: “This is where we disagree, as I pointed out, the reason why men fetishise high heels, corsets or pencil skirts is not because they are “clothes women wear” but because they are “clothes which cause women pain or discomfort and women wear for men’s pleasure”.”

    You list three specific examples there which do indeed cause pain or discomfort, and appeal to a subset of the patriarchy for the reason of causing women pain – but more likely to most men because they exaggerate what is considered a ‘feminine’ shape, ie slim waist, curvaceous hips, boobs thrust forward and up, etc. Men fetishise all sorts of clothes that aren’t painful or incommoding. White cotton panties aren’t uncomfortable. Nor are babydoll nightdresses, miniskirts, thigh-length boots, string bikinis, stockings or hijabs. Well, perhaps they are if you wear them all at once. I don’t expect that the sportscorset is uncomfortable, come to think of it – it’s probably little more than a camisole with some strings round the middle. It’s ridiculous, but I very much doubt it does physical damage.

    My point is that the male gaze reduces women to sexual objects, whatever they wear. Men reward women who wear smart, sexy, revealing things, and denigrate women who do not.

    Delphyne goes on to say: “And I don’t really understand why you are so concerned with what men think. Even if they did fetishise comfortable clothes (which they won’t as I’ve already explained), does it matter that much?”

    Yes, it does, because men, and the patriarchy, control the vast majority of our economic lives, and therefore – as Jezebella implies above – a woman’s appearance is absolutely central to her earning potential and career fulfilment. It’s fairly easy to show that being young and hot are still the principle economic advantages a woman can have – witness the fact that the only industries in which women routinely earn more than men are porn and modelling (and, even in those, they don’t on the managerial level). I’m not especially bothered if I walk down the street in sweat pants and a couple of builders go ‘Cor, look at that ugly old dyke.’ It’s irritating, but it doesn’t ruin my life. On the other hand, I am extremely bothered if women who do not conform to the patriarchal dress code don’t get promoted.

    Which is why, when Jodie says above that she has escaped the male gaze by being older and heavier, I disagree. Sure, you won’t be leered at in the street any more. But you will still be judged on your appearance. The fact that you are judged as not-sexual-object still means you are being judged on your inherent sexual objectness. Men finding you ‘invisible’ is not actually a positive thing – especially not when it comes to choosing someone for a job.

  118. Violet

    ‘Random Bird’ is what happens when you drag a thousand dollar scholarship grant to Bob Jones University through Hooter’s.

  119. hedonistic

    (looks around) Who let the bonobos in?

    Anyhoo, I’m with Catherine and Jezebella and whomever: We’re reduced to objects regardless of what we wear, so, pffft. Spare me.

    Jammy-pants and birkenstocks ARE comfortable (I wear them both in private), but they won’t thwart the Patriarchal Master Plan, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. They might make a statement (“I abdicate! Leave me out of the game!”). Still, they CHANGE NOTHING.

    Since keeping women poor, disadvantaged and dependent (reducing our bargaining power, making us sexually available for the price of a handful of bills and a sandwich) IS the Patriarchal Master Plan, the answer to “How shall I dress?” becomes obvious: We dress in a way that thwarts the Master Plan.

    Your uniform may vary. Mine is the one that’s gonna make me the most money, pay my health insurance, and provide for my dignity in old age: The business suit.

    For what it’s worth, pencil skirts and heels are not “painful” unless they’re badly made and ill-fitting. Corsets? Sometimes, but not always. I don’t believe the argument that “men like to see women in pain,” unless the individual man in question is an odd sort who really IS into pain. I give the average guy much more credit: He likes these things because he’s been taught to like them. Anything that emphasizes whatever part of the female form is in fashion THIS decade is going to garner approval. And, as others have stated, reward.

  120. maggiethewolf

    Amen to what you wrote, Hedonistic.

    And I love what C. Martell wrote here: “Our current cultural self-absorption and insistence on “MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEEEEEEEEE!!!!!” as a fucking life-focus doesn’t just speak to our cultural evolution- even while it keeps greasing up the cogs of the patriarchal machine by making us forget that we exist AMONG one another, and not apart from one another- it speaks to our DEVOLUTION, as a physiological species. Extinction seems to be the next step, and it’s sad.”

  121. hedonistic

    And I want B Dagger Lee to start a blog too.

  122. Pony

    Hedonistic: here’s where to find Luckynkl

    http://www.feminista.com/issues/article.php?type=essay&number=6&v=6&n=1

  123. kindred

    Twisty –

    Please write a book.

  124. finnsmotel

    Twisty, you know I love you, but I’m starting to wonder if this blog isn’t simply a devious scheme to get intellgient people to talk dirty in public.

    -finn

  125. Delphyne

    “Jammy-pants and birkenstocks ARE comfortable (I wear them both in private), but they won’t thwart the Patriarchal Master Plan, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. They might make a statement (”I abdicate! Leave me out of the game!”). Still, they CHANGE NOTHING.”

    Yah think? Why do men put so much effort into making sure that women wear the patriarchally approved uniform if dungarees and messy hair mean nothing? Did Andrea Dworkin’s refusal to fit in mean nothing? I don’t think it did considering how much energy was expended on attacking her for the way she looked. Women who step out of line can expect to be hammered – that’s not nothing.

    “For what it’s worth, pencil skirts and heels are not “painful” unless they’re badly made and ill-fitting.”

    Well perhaps you might persuade someone who hasn’t actually worn them (men) that this might be so, but it isn’t true. I didn’t say pencil skirts were painful, I said they interfered with movement which they do. High heels are painful however well-made they are – even women who wear Jimmy Choos get sore feet from them.

  126. hedonistic

    Delphyne, I never said clothes had no meaning. I said they changed nothing. That the men hammered on Dworkin rather proves my point rather than disproves it, doncha think?

    And some men DO wear skirts. Skirts on men have gone in and out of fashion. Today, unfortunately, all we have is the kilt, but the men who wear them insist they are more comfortable than pants.

    Ah, now we get to talk about SHOES! See, this was my plan all along, to talk about shoes. Jimmy Choos are poorly made(they are pretty, but you are correct, they suck, and I don’t wear them). But a pair of basic 1 1/2 inch heeled Manolos? Sex and the City connotations aside, they are extremely comfortable. Are they worth the cost? Since I buy mine on EBay for the same price of a new uncomfortable pair of midlevel designer pumps, yes.

  127. Keeshond

    “‘Random Bird’ is what happens when you drag a thousand dollar scholarship grant to Bob Jones University through Hooter’s.”

    Oh my goodness, Violet, I’m still laughing over this.

  128. Delphyne

    If refusing to wear fetishised female garb didn’t change anything men wouldn’t have cared what Andrea Dworkin wore, they could have just continued with their alleged blanket fetishisation of all women’s clothing. However they did object, they knew that her refusal to fit in with what they wanted was a threat to their power and she was punished for it.

    Honestly, I can’t believe that you are bringing up men wearing skirts as if that was some kind of argument against what I’ve been saying. I bet you haven’t come across one man wearing a skirt (pencil or otherwise) when you’ve been in situations where you have to don your business suit.

    I knew you’d come up with an expensive pair of shoes that allegedly prove that high heels can be comfortable. Once again, they aren’t and the price-tag or the quality don’t do anything except act as an incentive to persuade yourself that they must be comfortable. Don’t kid yourself or your feet, they aren’t – they are crippling. I used to believe the bullshit that I read in Vogue that these very expensive shoes were comfortable (something to do with balance I believe) then I realised it was just a marketing technique designed to make us ignore the evidence of our own eyes and the feelings in our feet.

  129. Ron Sullivan

    Just to wrap this one up for my part and move on to fame and fortune and the orthodontist’s office in an hour and a half: maggie, your ex-bf made my point for me:

    what an ex-bf once told me: that a man would fuck a knot in a tree if he could

    So the corsets and funny shoes are hardly necessary to getting sex, let alone pregnant. And no, we don’t “lose” if we don’t reproduce. There are six billion of us, and the way we personally sequester any gene combination just isn’t going to reliably stick around long enough to “make us immortal.” It really isn’t even that teleological. It’s not a contest. There are no losers. There are no winners. Everybody dies, and none of us knows what we’re actually bequeathing on the world.

    I can’t fathom why you think I’m somehow not talking about evolution, let alone why you think I’m not perfectly conscious of our commonality with all other living things. What I’m saying is that it does not mean what you think it means. And if you want “fancy,” look again at those bugs. They’ve been evolving at least as long as we have, and likely faster.

  130. maggiethewolf

    Regarding Ron’s alleged evolutionary expertise, education is a wonderful thing, but it can hinder one. I know monstrously bright people who deliver all due caution and beguiling wit to the consideration of an issue, but they won’t risk removing their eyes from the microscope. They won’t risk closing their eyes, after they’ve accrued all their data, and contemplating with imagination. I know imagination makes sciency sorts squirm. They’ll play with words in a thread, as if said words were pals on a playground, but they’ll shun suggestions that don’t agree with their cognitive constructs, as if said suggestions were the homely girl with the home-made dress and the crusty nostrils.

    I don’t know if Ron is such a person. I have seen a lot of sparkly syllables from her instead of considering questions and unpopular suggestions.

    For the fourth time, I wonder if any of you realize and recognize that your reluctance to ascribe biology to behavior does agree with the Right, with their holy notion that we’re not beasts. I suggest that we are beasts and to best the beast, we have to admit that much of what we do isn’t due to social constructs, but to biology. And yeah, yeah, yeah, someone might respond with the assertion that the moogooley monkey has a gimbwabbly bone in his penis, which differentiates it from the typical homo sapien sap, but that’s a non sequitur. A straw primate. It’s the magician’s waving one hand while a germane question is slid beneath the table with the other.

    And the ubiquitous willingness to abide such non sequituring suggests that your constructs, like the constructs of the Right, are holy to you folks.

    Now, I wrote the passages above before I read what Ron wrote. I agree, naturally, that we all die. I further suggest that we all die and are soon forgotten. But there is a competition for resources and we seek ways to reserve resources for us…and then our kin. Thus, there are losers and winners, within time-trains of DNA.

    Ron, we both like words and ideas and whereas our ideas occasionally intersect, I feel like I’m a hummingbird, oft-mistaken for a bothersome bug, and you’re the grand swan, beloved and admired. Fly, girl. Fly. Your pond of notions will look different if you move. Then return to the pond and being admired, but take a chance on what I’m suggesting.

  131. hedonistic

    I so lurrrrrrrrve being told how I feel! Thank you Delphyne!

  132. Delphyne

    Why don’t you address my main point Hedonistic -

    “If refusing to wear fetishised female garb didn’t change anything men wouldn’t have cared what Andrea Dworkin wore, they could have just continued with their alleged blanket fetishisation of all women’s clothing. However they did object, they knew that her refusal to fit in with what they wanted was a threat to their power and she was punished for it.”

  133. Jodie

    “Sure, you won’t be leered at in the street any more. But you will still be judged on your appearance. The fact that you are judged as not-sexual-object still means you are being judged on your inherent sexual objectness. Men finding you ‘invisible’ is not actually a positive thing – especially not when it comes to choosing someone for a job. ”

    Actually, I don’t have any trouble at all in getting jobs; what I do is pretty specialized and I’m good at it. My social skills and ability to work independently and solve problems are what my employers are looking for; my appearance or gender is not important to this job. I’ve had several instances of competing groups trying to hire me away.

    There will always be appearance judging of one sort or another. However, for most of my early life (starting about age 12) I DID feel like an object in many men’s eyes, and now I don’t. I haven’t had any strange man on the street say anything other than some variation of “Hi” or “Can you spare a quarter” for years now. There’s no inappropriate staring, no grunting, no touching, no nothing. I am not a sexual object. I am not seen as sexual, but I don’t think that means I’m seen as an object. I feel like a person. If you observe men in public, unless they either initiate interpersonal contact or indicate it would be welcome, they don’t tend to have much of it. And that’s what “invisibility” feels like; unless I want some stranger to talk to me, they generally don’t.

  134. hedonistic

    Not that I owe you a repeat of what I and others before me have already stated, but here goes: I believe the male reaction to Dworkin proves, rather than disproves, my point: She was being judged as a sex object. Found lacking, certainly, but still judged, and she paid a price for it. Welcome to Teh Patriarchy, the only game in town.

  135. Delphyne

    It’s a bit like saying Hedonistic that as men will always regard women as second-class citizens we shouldn’t bother trying to fight for equality. Welcome to the patriarchy or whatever. The thing is it isn’t the only game in town, feminism gives us another game we can play.

    The part of my analysis that you keep ignoring is that refusing to conform to patriarchy’s sexbot rules actually frees women. It frees us from pain, it frees us from self-consciousness, it frees from spending all time, energy and money required to conform. It frees us from regarding other women as competition. Those are large benefits.

  136. antiprincess

    “refusing to conform to patriarchy’s sexbot rules actually frees women.”

    I think that may depend on what rules one chooses to conform to instead, if any.

    “It frees us from pain, it frees us from self-consciousness, it frees from spending all time, energy and money required to conform. It frees us from regarding other women as competition. Those are large benefits.”

    I’m not sure competition with other women just evaporates – I think it moves to different playing fields.

    I got no sexbot gangsta to speak of, at least in the way I visually present. But to think I agree with Delphyne on anything would be the height of book-coverism. Don’t let the sensible shoes fool ya.

  137. hedonistic

    Delphyne quote: “refusing to conform to patriarchy’s sexbot rules actually frees women.”

    Why did the sound of a loud game show buzzer just go off in my head? Oh yeah, because it’s utter bullshit, that’s why. Certainly choosing NOT to conform frees us from some time and plenty of expense (trust me, I’m all over this), but it doesn’t free us from the pain meted out by the patriarchy. Our self-consciousness doesn’t magically disappear with the donning of a lower-heeled shoe. The rules don’t change.

    Bottom line: There is no alternative universe where all the good feminists lounge cooperatively in their fuzzy birkinstocked glories, singing camp songs (weekend witch-camp doesn’t count), exempt from the VERY REAL CONSEQUENCES of making a feminist “statement.”

    Nice try and thanks for playing.

  138. amaz0n

    Men fetishise all sorts of clothes that aren’t painful or incommoding. White cotton panties aren’t uncomfortable. Nor are babydoll nightdresses, miniskirts, thigh-length boots, string bikinis, stockings or hijabs.

    Huzza what?

    Have you ever worn any of the bolded items?

  139. Delphyne

    I guess we should just give up feminism then, hedonistic, given that there is no escape from the patriarchy and we will be punished if we fight this fight.

    I didn’t say there were no consequences what I said that there were also benefits. For some reason you are resistant to that idea. Standing up to bullies often entails consequences. You seem to be arguing that the threat of those consequences means we shouldn’t make the effort. I disagree.

    And taking off the stupid shoes does literally free us from some of the pain of the patriarchy. I mean it’s not glamourous abstract pain that we can pontificate on at leisure, but rather the real pain that those shoes cause. I know it’s not very glamourous freeing women from sore feet, but I do think it’s a good idea.

  140. W.Shore

    “A man would fuck a knot in a tree if he could.”

    Ahem.

  141. wren

    W.Shore, I can’t decide if you owe me a new keyboard or not – I just spewed Coke all over mine because I first read the google search term as “Paul McCartney rites.”

  142. hedonistic

    Delphyne, nothing about my feminine drag is painful or even the slightest bit uncomfortable. I’m a hedonist. I cling to it because because I think it’s purty and soft and luxurious and I like it. Hedonists are loathe to give up pleasure for the sake of politics. But that’s just me and folks like me.

    The feminine-drag-as-pain argument won’t get you far because it simply does not hold water. It’s not necessarily painful, except perhaps to the wallet. The EXPENSE of living up to patriarchal standards? Now you’re getting somewhere, and I’m down with that in a heartbeat.

    Which brings me to fighting. To me, the crude patriarchal formula looks like this:

    Deprive women economically (A) Limit womens alternatives (B) = Cheap pussy!!! (C)

    To me at least, it appears (A) and (B) are the variables to be addressed if we are to change (C). Nothing will change until women around the world can say to men: “I can make ends meet without you, so bite me.”

  143. Jezebella

    “The part of my analysis that you keep ignoring is that refusing to conform to patriarchy’s sexbot rules actually frees women. It frees us from pain, it frees us from self-consciousness, it frees from spending all time, energy and money required to conform. It frees us from regarding other women as competition. Those are large benefits.”

    I’ll bite, but first, a pop culture reference: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

    Refusing to conform to patriarchal rules regarding attire would free me from having a paycheck, health insurance, and a roof over my head in a safe part of town. I might not get fired for showing up in pjs and birkenstocks, but I never would’ve gotten the job in the first place if I hadn’t worn a suit and pumps to the interview.

    YOU are ignoring the argument that food & shelter are more important to some of us than the big fuck-you over clothing. I don’t have to wear sexbot clothes to work, jeezus, but I do have to practice femininity to a degree. There are DEGREES of conformity, you know.

    But to be specific what you think I am not “free” of due to my compromises:

    1. Freedom from pain. I do not wear painful attire. If I discover that I’ve bought something that hurts, I take it off & put it in the trash. Already free on that score.

    2. Freedom from self-consciousness. What exactly the fuck does that mean? I am Conscious of my Self because I have this ridiculously large brain that gives me consciousness. Do you mean anxiety about image or conformity? Because it is possible to be comfortable in one’s own skin without conforming to an aesthetic that denies all that is Defined as Feminine. I would think that a woman raised to practice femininity who suddenly abandoned all forms of Feminine Grooming would be VERY self-conscious for at least a while.

    3. Freedom from time, energy, and money required to conform.
    a. For clothes, I disagree. Finding a professional pantsuit that fits my short, fat body in a retail store is nearly impossible. I cannot afford the time & money it would take to have pantsuits & blouses tailored to fit me. It would take me MORE time & money, in other words, to refuse to conform. I can run to Belk and buy a skirt or dress-based suit that fits my Women’s Petite figure pretty easily. Most affordable, ready-to-wear pants are simply not built for women with curves.
    b. for makeup & hair, perhaps. I don’t spend a lot of money on my hair or makeup. I’m willing to wear some makeup to advance my agenda professionally. I live in the South, and if you show up to work with a naked face, everyone wants to know if you’re sick. It’s annoying and distracting. Yes, it’s expensive, but it keeps the “bless her heart” gang off my back. I keep my hair cut so I don’t have to waste time and energy on a raggedy-ass bunch of waist-length hair. It’s a wash on that score.

    4. Freedom from regarding women as competition.
    a. Competition for male attention? Pshaw. Fuck that. I never have regarded other women as competition for male attention. Never learned it somehow. I’m already free of it.
    b. Competition professionally? Anybody can become competition, professionally. Women are neither automatic nor exempt. Guess I’m free of that too.

  144. Jezebella

    Wren, ME TOO!! I thought, holy crap, what the hell is Paul McCartney up to now? I thought he was the cute one, not the fucking-a-tree type. If any Beatle was gonna fuck a hole in a tree, I would’ve bet on Ringo.

    W. Shore, you are a GIS master.

  145. Delphyne

    I never came up as the birkenstocks/jammies combo as what women have to wear if they want to avoid fetishised patriarchally-approved clothing. That’s somebody else’s framing, not mine.

    It’s perfectly possible to find business-wear that does that – all you have to do is avoid the Ally McBeal skirt-suit and fuck-me shoes (thank you Germaine Greer). I mean men manage to wear clothes for work that are comfortable, neutral and avoid fetishisation. Why make it all sound so impossible? It isn’t.

  146. Edith

    I could not possibly agree any more than I do. In other words, dittocore.

  147. nolo

    And nolo, thanks for calling me dear, dear, but I knew that we don’t go into heat. Otherwise, the boys would be sniffing my ass once a month. It would be simpler if we did, but because we don’t, the male is always guessing, loitering, cocking his biceps, and flashing his cash.

    You’re welcome. BTW, you do know the dif between heat and menstruation, right? Just asking. And if I sound touchy about this stuff, it’s because I’ve talked to plenty of people who don’t. They’re usually the same ones who fall prey to the evo-psych bs about how women wear makeup and paint their lips and hike their heels up on spikes in order to mimic heat cycles (and about how men flex and and loiter and flash their cash in order to mimic going into rut).

  148. maggiethewolf

    Nolo, I don’t know if I do, but I’m willing to guess. If I’m wrong, that’s all right, ’cause I figure you’ll correct me and I like to learn.

    Here’s my guess: Heat is where the other members of the species sense ovulation, as opposed to homo sapien menstruation, where all that can be descried is menses. With humans, the mate or would be mate doesn’t know the moment of ovulation. In heat, it’s smelled or seen in swollen tissue and so that’s the moment of sexual attraction.

    Close?

    Half a cigar?

    Smoke free?

    Straight up, Nolo, does anyone really think this?: “and about how men flex and and loiter and flash their cash in order to mimic going into rut”

    No cigar?

  149. Violet

    Inevitably, the comment section devolves into a faux debate over material “choices” – as if feminism is merely another consumer option for privileged white woman who have all day to ponder such inanities as “Do my Jimmy Choos compromise my integrity?” followed by a barrage of cringe-inducing posts that reveal WAY too much personal information by way of meaningless anecdotes. Most people here are under the illusion that the patriarchy and capitalism are somehow separate entities, that we can have meaningful dialogue about a system of domination and oppression, without acknowledging the role capitalist ideology plays in maintaining the patriarchy. The dismal reality of Iraqi women under US occupation, the rise in child sex trafficking, the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the generally deteriorating economic conditions of women everywhere can be directly traced to a US imposed system of global capitalism that is infecting the planet. The patriarchy doesn’t stop at imposing its will over the bodies of women, either. It is the light stick shoved up the rectum of male Muslim detainees, and the grinning female guards taunting naked and hooded men. It’s the brain wasting disease of the entire American body politic. It’s what goads pseudo-feminists and “empowero-babes” to share their non-insights about blow jobs and skirt lengths, while wilfully ignoring the larger implications of their (non)actions.

  150. Catherine Martell

    Violet: yes, global capitalism and the patriarchy are linked. And yes, some of this discussion has become a little trivial, with people apparently arguing that Jimmy Choos are more feminist than other stilettos, or that feminists mustn’t wear a skirt suit and provocative shoes. Good grief! It’s like watching Carrie Bradshaw debate with the Amish.

    But the discussion about the male gaze and possible female responses is a serious and substantial issue, which affects most of us every day of our lives. Since you’ve broadened the discussion to the Muslim world, I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a particularly hot issue there. I mentioned the hijab somewhere above (and someone replied ‘huzza-what?’), but many Islamic feminists consider clothing to be a highly important issue. Incidentally, you seem to view the patriarchy as an exclusively white/Western construct – believe me, the oppression meted out to Iraqi women did not start with the arrival of the Marines.

    Most of us can hold more than one thought in our heads at the same time, and I don’t think the fact that we might think about what we’re wearing occasionally means we’ve forgotten that Bush is a misogynist, homophobic, crusading godbag. In fact, I think the larger implications of our actions is exactly what’s informing this debate.

    (Incidentally, someone praised a quote above from TNTrash and attributed it to me. Sorry TNTrash – you should get your shout for it!)

  151. Delphyne

    “And yes, some of this discussion has become a little trivial, with people apparently arguing that Jimmy Choos are more feminist than other stilettos, or that feminists mustn’t wear a skirt suit and provocative shoes. Good grief! It’s like watching Carrie Bradshaw debate with the Amish.”

    It’s funny how foot-binding in China or suffocating corsets that Victorian women were forced into aren’t seen as trivial in the slightest whereas women’s present suffering is. I guess we can hope that in a hundred years time high-heeled shoes will be seen as barbarous instruments of oppression designed to cause women pain and cripple us; at the moment we can just sneer at anybody who wants to talk about them and liken them to Amish (is that an upmarket way of calling me a repressed prude?). A lot of things that are connected to women are downgraded to the trivial, feminists usually try to avoid falling into that trap though.

  152. Irish Goddess

    Well written, Twisty.

  153. cc

    http://www.angelfire.com/indie/riotboy/olds.html#solution

    for either camp.

  154. maggiethewolf

    Well, Violet, you certainly don’t shrink from what you believe. Reading your post was like sitting in the middle of a prairie storm.

    I don’t doubt the truth (and the beauty, however horrifying) of sentences like, “It’s what goads pseudo-feminists and “empowero-babes” to share their non-insights about blow jobs and skirt lengths, while wilfully ignoring the larger implications of their (non)actions.”

    I agree that are greatest sins are those of omission.

    Again, I enormously admire your prose, your position, and your passion, but am I permitted one quibble (and question)?

    Here’s hoping that I am: You are hard on some of the posters. Have you found such an approach to be effective in persuading those who don’t already agree?

    Catherine Martell, thanks for correcting the attribution. That was my error.

  155. hedonistic

    For what it’s worth, I read an interesting post at Bitch Lab where it was pointed out that capitalism is largely responsible for the movements back and forth between sex differentiation and androgyny (sp?). Following this logic, so long as you’re still buying STUFF and paying for services the Capitalist Machine is satisfied.

    Doc Martens or Manolos? Louis Vuitton suit or fancy backpack? Perm or short haircut? Mercedes or a VW Beetle van? When we buy our tribal markings (congratulations, we can pick each other out in a crowd, whoopie) we haven’t changed a thing. It’s the same old shit.

  156. maggiethewolf

    hedonistic, that sounds right. You need fashion shifts to sell new shit. If femme were always in, one’s wardrobe would work decade after decade. Same with andro. I’m andro and have been all my life, so like a clock that doesn’t work, every now and then, fashion-wise, I get it exactly right.

    And above, I wrote: “I agree that are greatest sins are those of omission.”

    Sorry about that “are”. Should be “our”. I write by sound, so sometimes those homophones slip through.

  157. Violet

    Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment on my post. The majority of posters here shouldn’t consider my comments directed at them. I am genuinely awed by the level of intelligent life forms in the blamiverse.

  158. Luckynkl

    Darwanism? Survival of the strongest and fittest? Humankind’s inherent nature towards dominance and submission? Our function here is to procreate and then die? Capitalism is the root of women’s oppression? Yikes! Holy patriarchy, batman!

    Oh, bah humbug, to all this hogwash. I don’t have time to write a book and address all this complete and utter nonsense, so suffice to say, How can you tell when the daddies are telling big fish tales? Answer: Their lips are moving.

    Men see only what they want to see and disregard the rest, even despite all the evidence to the contrary. Their views and interpretations of the world are at best, half assed backwards, upside down and sideways. At worst, warped, twisted, perverted and profane. But they serve as nice distractions to divert the boys from the real problem. Themselves.

    Now back away from that bible, The Origin of Species, and all those other sacred books of dude rhetoric slowly. Then grab yourself some tongs, grab hold of those suckers, and toss them into the grill. It’s barbeque time! You’ll find they make great aids to light charcoal. Afterwards, dump the ashes into your garden with all the other manure.

  159. maggiethewolf

    You’re funny, Luckynkl, but would you overlay what you just wrote on whites and people of color?

    Would you say, “Whites see only what they want to see and disregard the rest, even despite all the evidence to the contrary. Their views and interpretations of the world are at best, half assed backwards, upside down and sideways. At worst, warped, twisted, perverted and profane.”?

    Still, your barbecue story made me laugh!

  160. Manolo

    Hello to the Twisty!

    The Manolo loves this green shoe!

    Indeed, if the Manolo were asked to pick out the shoe for his favorite spinster aunty he could not do better. Even the fact that it appears to be well-worn is appealing.

    The only constructive criticisim that the Manolo can offer is that he would have prefered the laces as the closure sytem, although to even find the shoe in this style is the triumph.

    Besos!

    Manolo

    P.S. You are indeed super fantastic!

  161. Jezebella

    God, Violet, I just LOVE it when somebody bounces into the middle of a conversation and deems it trivial, irrelevant, shallow, and self-absorbed because it’s not about BIG IMPORTANT THINGS like World Peace and AIDS and War and Hate and Evil and Child Prostitution. God forbid a few feminists have a conversation that isn’t about saving the whole giant evil world without somebody jumping down our throats because we’re just too small-minded and not as holy and smart and thoughtful as the Real Feminists who never think about anything as stupid and shallow as how it is they’re going to make a living and keep a roof over their heads, and what kinds of accommodations, sacrifices, and/or compromises that entails.

    There should be a term for this, like Godwin’s Law or something, where a whole conversation is pronounced unimportant because it doesn’t take into account every possible evil in the world. I’ll let someone wittier than me give it a name if it hasn’t one already.

    Does it make me a “pseudo-feminist” because I think the personal is political, because every once in a while I think & talk about something of less-than-global import? I don’t think so. I think people who go around accusing others of not being feminist enough or serious enough or deep enough are engaged in some kind of competitive sport, sort of like the hippier-than-thou trustafarians at Widespread Panic shows, or the hipper-than-thou college radio geeks. I’m just not interested in competing in the “Who’s a Better Feminist” game show. Sometimes I have deep thoughts, sometimes I’m interested in talking about shoes. Often, I think our sartorial choices have more than sartorial significance. So sue me.

  162. j

    While i agree with what you have written, Twisty, I can’t help feeling sorry for the women you criticize in your post. As commenters above have already mentioned, our upbringing and life experiences have a lot to do with how we view gender and sexuality. One commenter mentioned in particular the lasting effects a pedophile can have on a child’s sexual behavior.

    I feel guilty for wanting to be hurt and wanting to hurt myself. I feel like a hypocrite. And while I tell myself it’s not my fault, I also blame myself. In this way, I am reluctant to condemn all women who slow the progress of gender equality; I am one of them myself. And I hate that.

  163. Pony

    KTal thank you.

  164. Mandos

    Does anything exist?

  165. Mar Iguana

    maggiethewolf, whites remain white and coloreds remain colored by controlling uteri. No sexism, no racism. Simple.

  166. Violet

    A “sports” corset is the ultimate fetish symbol of our militarlly enforced system of capitalism, under which, we have the “freedom” to purchase the instruments of our own oppression. Certainly, we are not far from the day when we can choose among melon, peach, tangerine or burnt sienna for our government-issued gulag uniforms. There is certainly nothing trivial about corporate America capitalizing on the violent fantasies of male spectators to market sports clothes for women. My quibble is not with the subject matter of Twisty’s post, but the unwillingness of many to recognize their own complicity in perpetuating the myth that feminism is merely a choice between ‘Barbie’ labels, based on nothing more than one’s consumer preferences. I stand by my original post (even if it’s not as nuanced as I would have liked). I’ll leave it at that for now. My manicurist is getting impatient and it’s harder than some might imagine to type while breast feeding triplets with a “nursing corset”.

  167. hexyhex

    Hedonistic:

    He likes these things because he’s been taught to like them. Anything that emphasizes whatever part of the female form is in fashion THIS decade is going to garner approval. And, as others have stated, reward.

    IAWTC. Let’s bear in mind that the stiletto heel has only existed since 1955, but has been backdated in the hivemind of the patriarchy as a classic symbol of sexuality. Come on, people, it’s just silly to try and validate something with evo psych when it’s only been with us for half a century!

    I LOVE my high heeled shoes, and I’m not getting rid of them, but I’m not going to claim that that is anything more than social programming finding a brain that’s primed for it.

    As for the items you listed as being comfy, which were disputed by someone else: I’m definitely on your page with the string bikini and miniskirt. I live in Australia, and anyone who tries to make me cover more than is absolutely necessary in the middle of summer is invited to go and boil their head. But thigh high boots? Not seeing the comfort factor there.

  168. Violet

    Dear HexyHex,

    Nothing screams “Empowero-Babe” louder than a thong bikini that matches your flesh eating melanoma. You can make the ensemble complete with a strappy IV drip.

  169. Catherine Martell

    Just can’t stop rising to the bait. Sorry.

    Delphyne: “It’s funny how foot-binding in China or suffocating corsets that Victorian women were forced into aren’t seen as trivial in the slightest whereas women’s present suffering is.”

    Are you equating high heeled shoes with footbinding? Because, though I’m aware that there’s a continuum involved, it’s offensive to suggest that the case of a sentient adult woman putting on a slightly uncomfortable heel, that might at worst give her a corn, is equivalent to a child having the bones in its feet smashed into smithereens at age 5 and strapped up so that they grow back deformed and often gangrenous, meaning she cannot walk unaided for the rest of her life. Now, there are plenty of modern ‘beauty’ practices that are revolting and dangerous – boob jobs, skin bleaching, getting one’s vagina surgically rearranged, armpit Botox – but I think there’s a real danger of overstating the case against stilettos. The reason some of us might not take them quite so seriously as footbinding is because there’s a qualitative difference, both in the effect and in the wearer’s ability to decline, not because we can’t see the inherent fetish connotations of them.

    “at the moment we can just sneer at anybody who wants to talk about them and liken them to Amish (is that an upmarket way of calling me a repressed prude?).”

    No, not at all. I was pointing out that the argument against certain forms of clothing for being short skirts or what you & Germaine Greer call ‘fuck-me shoes’ starts to horseshoe round and meet up wtih the extreme conservative right. I’m no advocate of sportscorsets or stilettos. But being told women shouldn’t wear short skirts and heels on the basis that we might make people want to fuck us brings to mind some very negative associations – convent school, the Taliban and Mr Justice Pickles letting off a rapist because the victim wore a short skirt – which were probably the sort of things that made many of us want to rebel against the patriarchy in the first place.

    Clearly, you’re not coming from the same place as those censorious forces, and I absolutely realise that your point is not about prudishness. But the whole debate’s a minefield. Step too far one way, you’re telling women off for wearing provocative clothing. Step the other, you end up knee-deep in post-feminist/choice-feminist eyewash. Hmm. And now I appear to be mixing my metaphors. Gah.

  170. maggiethewolf

    Mar Iguana: “Whites remain white and coloreds remain colored by controlling uteri. No sexism, no racism. Simple.”

    Yikes. You wouldn’t last long at some POC sites that I visit.

  171. Mar Iguana

    I am a POC, maggiethewolf. My particular color of people hate women as much as the rest. So, which color boy am I supposed to break out the pom poms for?

  172. maggiethewolf

    Interesting, Mar Iguana. I didn’t assume that. So, how does your primacy of feminism play out with other POC…and in the blogosphere, away from sites like this?

    It’s been my experience, albeit monstrously limited, that most blogging POC are insistent about the primacy of race. In the ranking of oppressions at POC sites, race is usually first. I’m not saying that I agree with such a ranking, but I’ve read the rage and I consider it righteous.

    Say, Mar Iguana, do you know what “crit lit” means in the context of this site?

  173. Mandos

    It’s “lit crit” which stands for “literary criticism”. It tends to be associated with certain philosophical positions which aren’t generally popular in radical feminist venues but very popular in other kinds of feminist venues.

  174. maggiethewolf

    Thanks, Mandos. I can usually infer meaning from context and I went to Wikipedia, but neither tactic worked with “lit crit.”

    “Crit lit.

    Sigh.

    I’m a dork.

  175. Shannon

    Violet, everyone should be encouraged to wear sunscreen whether they wear a thong bikini or a one piece swimsuit. I prefer two piece tankini suits as I like to move around a lot without revealing all sorts of areas I don’t want the general public to see. Personally I think high heels encumber movement and really hurt my feet. I personally think women should not get surgery on their feet to fit better into high heels, as ones shoes should fit your feet, not the other way around.

    I am a person of color and I talk about race and feminism both alot, and sometimes combined. You may want to explore the radical women of color webring, which has a lot of feminists of color on it.

  176. maggiethewolf

    Shannon, I don’t know if you were writing to me, but I’ll check out your site and follow that link.

  177. deja pseu

    No one is saying you [the general you, not specific] can’t wear those shoes (sportcorset, fake tits), after all–you’ve been trained to love your oppression, but don’t pretend you live in a fairyland where your “choices” are free of influence or consequence.

    Bingo. Favorite quote: If you find yourself choosing what the Patriarchy is pushing, it’s a good idea to periodically stop and ask yourself why.

  178. Delphyne

    “My quibble is not with the subject matter of Twisty’s post, but the unwillingness of many to recognize their own complicity in perpetuating the myth that feminism is merely a choice between ‘Barbie’ labels, based on nothing more than one’s consumer preferences.”

    The point is that women’s decisions to wear high-heeled shoes, corsets or pencil skirts or whatever aren’t merely consumer choices, if they were men would be wearing them too. Just because the women who are succumbing to the enormous sexist pressures to outfit themselves in this garb argue that they do it out of their own personal choice doesn’t mean we need accept their claims.

    So I”m not sure who you are accusing of perpetuating this so-called myth about feminism as a consumer choice. Like I said before we can talk at an abstracted and global level forever about the clothes women are forced to wear but in the end if we want to find a solution we have to be practical. So I guess you could argue that the solution to getting women out of high-heeled shoes or sports corsets is a consumer choice, but I’m not sure how you could do it any other way, unless you think we should all go barefoot (maybe not a bad idea). It’s certainly a consumer choice informed by feminism.

    Sexist oppression happens to women at both an individual and collective level. We can fight on both fronts, one doesn’t exclude the other.

  179. Mar Iguana

    “…how does your primacy of feminism play out with other POC…and in the blogosphere, away from sites like this?” maggiethewolf

    It doesn’t. I don’t even go there. It’s a waste of my time to concern myself with racism since sexism precedes it. Racism will only end when sexism, the root oppression, ends.

    Discussion of any social ill, anywhere anytime, that does not acknowledge misogyny as the root cause is pointless and inherently sexist. Corporate, fascist, religious patriarchy is our enemy. Do the math. Do you really think those in power are the slightest bit concerned about the 12% or so each of the population that is black (or–choose a color) or gay or whatever, or the over 50% who are female? They are thrilled silly to see people wasting their energies on racism or homosexuality, or anything else for that matter, rather than women, whose oppression is the keystone of their entire world economy.

    For a real good bead on who benefits from the “science” of economics, read Marilyn Waring’s book “If Women Counted.” Or, watch the DVD “Who’s Counting? Marilyn Waring On Sex, Lies & Global Economics.” This DVD is, of course, impossible to find anywhere except to purchase it for about $40 from http://www.bullfrogfilms.com. Worth every dime.

    As for your question to Luckynkl, take any of the vile things said about women everyday by the likes of university presidents to rappers and overlay, oh, just about any other demographic, then brace yourself for the ensuing shitstorm. I cringe at the term “women’s issues,” as if they weren’t everyone’s issues; as if the very air we breath isn’t literally polluted by misogny.

  180. Mandos

    Interesting. So if sexism is the root of all social evil and the categorical oppressio oppressionum, and racism is simply a side-effect of sexism, then do you believe, by implication, that you can talk about sexism without talking about racism but not vice versa?

    Just to confirm.

  181. Mar Iguana

    Ita

  182. Mandos

    (For non-Latin readers, ita means something like “yes”.)

    So you wouldn’t believe it possible that two groups would choose largely not to associate with one another over some physical characteristic even if women had full power over their apparatus generatorii, in other words?

  183. Mar Iguana

    That little “if” is so big it makes your question pointless.

  184. Mandos

    If you’re not willing to consider hypotheticals, then there is no point in even discussing liberation.

  185. Mar Iguana

    Ja Sir!

  186. maggiethewolf

    Well, Mar Iguana, you are certainly posting in the proper place, given site is named “I blame the patriarchy.”

    I wish I had more for you, but I’m drained and word-wiped.

    Oh, here’s a little something: do you mind revealing your age? I’m 50. I’m just wondering, if you’re as old as me, how your certainty survived 50 years.

    The older I grow, the less I know.

    I can agree that the oppression of women is underrated. 1% of the world’s land is titled to us and land might best demarcate power.

  187. KTal

    “But being told women shouldn’t wear short skirts and heels on the basis that we might make people want to fuck us brings to mind some very negative associations -”

    Women really have no business telling other women what to do and those who do probably don’t have the general welfare and freedom of all women very much in mind. I don’t think anyone is setting mandates here.

  188. hexyhex

    Dear Violet,

    It’s unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation that causes skin cancer, not unprotected exposure to bikinis.

  189. Twisty

    Hasn’t anyone invoked Hitler yet?

  190. Mar Iguana

    “Hasn’t anyone invoked Hitler yet?”

    I did. I did. Sort of.

    “Oh, here’s a little something: do you mind revealing your age? I’m 50. I’m just wondering, if you’re as old as me, how your certainty survived 50 years.” maggiethewolf

    I was born in the first half of the last century. Stone boomer, vintage 1947, appellation Gemini. I heard recently that, as with everything else as boomers go through the system like a burro going through a boa, ageing itself is changing and 60 is the new 45. Chuckle. So, I guess I’m 44 in boomer years.

    How do I survive? Mentally, much like feral cats and urban coyotes. Physically, I don the camouflage so they won’t know who they’re signing the check for. Unfortunately, this seems to work for only so long before The Man, top predator, instinctively is on to me and I’m off on another gig-seeking adventure. Wheee!

    On another thread I read that you are quite taken with the Left, maggiegthewolf. Don’t be. Their hatred of women is the same but different as the right’s. As a veteran on the front lines of The Sexual Revolution, I can tell you: Women lost.

  191. Mandos

    I did. I did. Sort of.

    Yes, yes you did. I guess it’s a *fine* way to avoid having to,like, back up your own assertions.

    But if maggiethewolf likes your lectures, so be it.

  192. maggiethewolf

    Mar Iguana, you’re funny.

    After falling in love with B. Dagger’s mind, falling in love with your mind too might make me seem a floozey, but I’m old enough to shrug and say, “Hey, I’m a floozey. No biggie.”

    And anyone who compares herself to feral cats and urban coyotes is worthy of adoration, even if the source is a floozey.

    I’ve got to learn to acquire that camouflage.

    I walk into most any room and folks say, “Here’s trouble.”

    I need to have the check signed before I flash my smile and they say, “My, what big teeth you have, Maggiethewolf.”

    And you know what my line is.

  193. Mar Iguana

    I love the sound of whining in the morning. Sounds like victory.

    “Women really have no business telling other women what to do and those who do probably don’t have the general welfare and freedom of all women very much in mind.”

    KTal, I like that. I like that a whole lot.

  194. Mandos

    Sounds like victory.

    Victory in what?

  195. Twisty

    Come on, yall. The only people who can actually tell women what to do are the government, and they’re all a bunch of white dudes. I only wish I had that kind of power, and I wish you did, too, so that instead of merely offering social criticism (universally misconstrued as ‘women telling women what to do’), we might actually get some shit done.

  196. maggiethewolf

    Mar Iguana wrote: “As a veteran on the front lines of The Sexual Revolution, I can tell you: Women lost.”

    In the length of your life, we lost, but if we don’t obliterate ourselves or if the world doesn’t concoct a bug that does that, the world will keep circling the Sun and social dynamics (and intellectual sensibilities) will keep changing. No one knows where we’re going.

    Say, Mar, do you think that most women hate women?

  197. Mar Iguana

    Yes I do, beginning with the lessons in self-hatred that start from the moment they get the pink blanket.

  198. maggiethewolf

    Damn, Mar. Damn. For the sake of intellectual honesty, I was hoping you’d affirm what I asked, but the sake of our species and our selves, I was hoping you’d refute it.

    Now, Mar, since you’re especially bright and especially frank, I have one more question for you. Where do you think we’re going? Do you think that sexism sits in a bunker too thick, deep, and strong for any ism-busting bomb? Or do you think that all things are eventually weathered away? Or do you think something else?

  199. Mar Iguana

    Patriarchy was dealt its death blow in the late ’60s/early ’70s when women rebelled. It is now going through the last throes of its long and painful demise, making these very dangerous times indeed since some boys would rather blow the planet away than get the hell off women’s backs.

  200. maggiethewolf

    Double damn, Mar. So, you attribute the swelling of violence to the mortal wounding of patriarchy.

    Do you also see a swelling of facism and if so, is that also due to patriarchy striking back?

    Say, Mar, are you an academic?

  201. Pony

    And R. Mildred takes the puck into the blue line…

    http://punkassblog.com/2006/09/04/my-system-of-oppression-has-a-bigger-cock-than-your-system-of-oppression/

  202. Mar Iguana

    “This is possibly one of the most irritating ideas I’ve seen in all the internets:” R. Mildred

    I do what I can.

    To answer your questions, maggiethewolf: Yes; no.

  203. Pony

    And I for one thank you for it MarIguana.

  204. Mar Iguana

    De nada, Pony.

    Iceberg tip:

    http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2877

    See what I mean?

  205. Pony

    And who said men were not adaptable. Heh. This is happening in the native communities too, as Cecilia Fire Thunder found out.

  206. maggiethewolf

    I’m intrigued by your thinking, mar, and I like the way you write. And I’m further intrigued by your non-academic environment, for you have the chops to be an academic, but somehow, you weren’t swayed that way.

    I just had a pal leave a major university and he wrote, “I finally broke the addiction.”

    Because I could never afford the first fix (and because I’m a loopy lupus), I could never become addicted, but if there’s a school that wants a wolf, I want that school.

  207. Mar Iguana

    Than kew. Than kew vurry much, maggiethewolf.

    I, too, didn’t get to participate in higher education because of lack of money on my part. Not that my parents couldn’t have afforded it. I admire them for the fact they raised themselves from the too-poor-to-even-have-a-collar class to blue collar, however, back then, higher education for women for any reason other than finding a college boy husband was considered polishing firewood and tempting spinsterhood, the fate worse than death.

  208. maggiethewolf

    You’re welcome, Mar. You’re wicked smart. I’m always drawn to homegrown intellect, for it has its own organic flavor. It’s akin to a wild blueberry, which might not be as flashily plump as the cultivated blueberries, but it packs more flavor. Way more.

    Sorry again about misinterpreting you in the other thread. I wish I weren’t so frequently an asshole.

  209. Julie Stahlhut

    The scary part is that I have taken a good close look at a bug’s junk.

  210. bitchphd

    Those are some cute shoes.

  211. ginmar

    That post of R. Mildred’s is why I hate dividing the sphere into left and right. RAcism came before sexism? Really? Did men and women live on different continents and reproduce assexually? One of the reasons society takes racism more seriously is because it’s racial oppression—gender oppression is entirely too intimate and widespread to comfortably attack. It pits one half of the human race against the other half. Racism pits David against Goliath, and who wants to be on the side of the bully?

    The thing that’s always done it for me is watching racially-oppressed men adopt the sexist values of the men who they can bond with over women. You can always be a man by dominating somebody or something, but once a woman wins over you, you’re a pussy.

  212. Twisty

    Those are some cute shoes.

    They sure are, and it’s killing me that I can only wear one of’em at a time for the forseeable future.

  213. Pony

    If anyone doubts what Ginmar is saying just give a listen to Bob Dylan’s new cd. Why Bob is hard hard on those users of the poor working man. But crying the working man’s blues gets tiresome all the time, so Bob takes time out to dream about young stuff–Bob’s 65 and she’s 25, but same old same old as far as the revolution apparently. Careful ya dont’ step on that rare endangered plant on your way to the protest march.

    Women’s place:

    http://www.metrolyrics.com/lyrics/2147433679/Bob_Dylan/Thunder_On_The_Mountain

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alicia_keys

  214. ginmar

    Great, just great. It’s amazing how many of these so-called liberation icons or whatever were just t he same old shit whyen it comes to women—and it just hasn’t changed that much. There’s human rights and then there’s womens’ rights and guess which comes first? Womens’ rights are what you have left when the men clean the plate—–in order words, you get the scraps and the washing up.

  215. Twisty

    Look, Dylan’s from the Sixties, the decade in which men invented ‘free love.’ Which introduced mainstream women to the unprecedented pleasure of having to service all comers, rather than just one dude, lest they face censure from the Now Generation. That’s why they called it ‘free.’ Before this, men could only get that kind of no-strings action from working girls.

  216. Violet Socks

    Look, Dylan’s from the Sixties, the decade in which men invented ‘free love.’

    Indeed — the Bob was actually married to a Playboy Bunny, which in those dark days (the Sixties) was what passed for a “sexually liberated” woman. Unlike today.

  217. Pony

    Well some others of us from the sixties have learned a bit, why can’t he? (Rh?). And the friggin album is from NOW, as is the young woman dressed as the revolution’s billboard. Not to mention, the rest of the dudes crying over seals for whom women are invisible unless in the bedroom or kitchen are about her age too, and they haven’t got it either. So what the fuck is the reason to include them anywhere, again?

  218. Pony

    Violet Socks, unbelievable I know, but he was AFTER my time. I was never into him. Someone sent me an MP3 of the horrid tune in question. which is apparently the top of the whatever charts and making zillions for the dude who after all knows whose back $$ is made from. I am still purging my hard drive with various virus protectors, and it didn’t even have a virus just I think bleach would be harmful to my rig, no? As far as I remember, from my Joan Baez albums, she was hooked up with him at one time, but was fortunate to get out alive. She doesn’t charge for her anti-war concerts. And hers ARE worth listening to and buying if you buy I don’t.

  219. Violet Socks

    Violet Socks, unbelievable I know, but he was AFTER my time.

    I feel young!

  220. Pony

    Whatever little I can do.

    Right now I feel young too, listening to the Vaughn Bros. doin’ Hillbillies from Outer Space. Now hows that for tying threads together here?

    People? Send me mp3s. I don’t buy music. Screw them.

  221. ginmar

    I love mens’ definition of freedom: everything’s free for me!

  222. Twisty

    the Bob was actually married to a Playboy Bunny, which in those dark days (the Sixties) was what passed for a “sexually liberated” woman. Unlike today.

    Dr Socks makes a funny joke. Ha!

  223. Violet Socks

    Twisty, I am delighted to have made you laugh. Usually it works the other way.

  224. Pony

    Twisty: Colombian women have been reading this blog.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/13092006/6/n-odds-hear.html

  1. Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Sex and the Empowerful Woman

    [...] Two recent posts by Twisty Faster at “I Blame the Patriarchy” provide fairly compelling, if not jump-startling, reading for the summer-stupified academic brain: Sports, Corsetry, and the Empowerful Woman and Sex. Here’s an excerpt from Sex: Radical feminists are not the enemy. We’re not even a bunch of homely old frigid prudes jealous of all the hot sex we’re not getting. Patriarchy is the real sex police. By convincing you that you’re hot when you cave in to its psycho demands, it has turned you into its slave. “Well, what of it?” you say. “What I choose to (a) do in the sack or (b) wear to work or (c) have implanted in my chest is none of your beeswax.” [...]

  2. RandomBird.com: Now with Elvis, thank you very much.

    [...] I Blame the Patriarchy has picked up on my post from Saturday night, the one rushed to publish by 11:59:55 Saturday as I was inhaling cookies and still maintaing my perfect size 2 figure without ever having to go to the gym, sports corset or not. I’ll pull a response out of my ass soon. [...]

  3. The penis may be evil, but the vagina is empty and we can’t leave the little fucksticks homeless. at PunkAssBlog.com

    [...] Embracing feminism, it seems, means ditching heteronormative sex entirely, and since Random’s not willing to do that (lots of us aren’t), she might as well wrap her legs around that pole and call it Pilates. Her assertion causes Twisty to bring out the blaming big guns: A feminist gets off the only way a member of an oppressed class can get off: with extreme caution. [...]

  4. In Which Ron Sullivan Raises The Level Of Blogular Discourse To Dizzying New Heights at I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] “Ever had a good close look at a bug’s junk? Lord, lord.” [...]

  5. Thinking about complicity. « A Bird’s Nest

    [...] In her recent post, entitled “Sex,” Twisty has this to say: “Examine your lives!” is the Twisty refrain. Don’t forget that, as a member of an oppressed class, everything you do is political. So what say you reevaluate those phony, misogynist feminine constructs? Every tube of lipstick, every coy little head-tilt, every train-yourself-not-to-gag-while-deep-throating-a-flaccid-bratwurst session is a symbol of oppression. And not just your oppression, either, but the oppression of all women. And they’re not just symbols, either, but concrete evidence of your collaboration with the dominant culture. Every time you ‘choose’ to totter down the street in a pair of heels and a pencil skirt you’re a Yay Patriarchy billboard. It says “I willingly brand myself as different from and subordinate to men. Shall I bend over now?” [...]

  6. My system of oppression has a bigger cock than your system of oppression at PunkAssBlog.com

    [...] This is possibly one of the most irritating ideas I’ve seen in all the internets: “…how does your primacy of feminism play out with other POC…and in the blogosphere, away from sites like this?” maggiethewolf [...]

  7. Feministe » Everybody Get Together

    [...] If you read feminist blogs regularly you know, I think, that the last few months have seen an eruption of discussions similar in theme to the one mentioned above. That one was over whether fun (and personal grooming habits) can ever transcend patriarchy. This one was over whether blow jobs could ever be anything but “fucking gross.” This one was over how much authority any individual woman has in evaluating her intimate experiences–”that was rape” versus “but I didn’t process it as rape,” to use a clumsy shorthand. And there have been others I’m sure I’m forgetting, doubtless because I wanted to; because no matter how much I say I love confrontation (and I do, I really, really do), I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that many of these confrontational discussions quickly went beyond productive dialogue, in the course of which We All Learned Something, to This Is Just Plain Exhausting, Please Stop. [...]

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