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Sep 28 2006

BUSTed

marciabrady.JPG

A key element of ‘truly embraceable women’s culture’: Marcia Brady hair, and how to get it.

The October issue of BUST rests on my table, next to an empty water buffalo yogurt container. I have to admit, buying it was a mistake. Because I am addled, I mistook the BUST for a Bitch. It didn’t occur to me to wonder “why is there an issue of Bitch magazine in the checkout lane at Whole Foods?” (Before chemo destroyed my brain, I was capable of differentiating between BUST and Bitch, and between the checkout lane at Whole Foods and the magazine rack at Book People. Seriously.)

Anyway. This episode reminds me: several years ago I purposely subscribed to BUST. I was intoxicated at the time. I mistook the magazine’s glossy indie-hip chick-centric schtick for feminism. I did this partly because BUST told me it was feminism, and partly because I wanted it to be feminism. At last! I said, a publication that doesn’t think “feminist” means “humorless frigid ugly bitch who can’t get laid.”

My enthusiasm would wane after a couple of months, however. I had to bail when it became apparent that BUST couldn’t put out an issue that did not contain at least 57 heteronormative articles by “feminist” porn stars on how empowered we all are now that we have our Hitachi Magic Wands (“What, you haven’t bought an Hitachi Magic Wand yet? Omigod, they’re so bodaciously empowerful! Nina Hartley says it, I believe it, and that settles it!”).

BUST, it turned out, was, and still is, written for what a wry blamer recently called “fun feminists” — that is, women who identify as sassysexy young urban consumers of femininity. You know. The Grand Acquisitors. Or Carrie Bradshaw.

As BUST editor Debbie Stoller sez, in the highly imitable girlfriend-to-girlfriend style of women’s fashion magazines the world over, “Of course, we devote space in our pages to typical “feminist issues” such as abortion and equal pay, but we’re also determined to create a truly embraceable women’s culture, so that reading BUST can help you feel good about being a girl.”

Or, more precisely, it can make you feel good about fashion, fucking, and shopping. In this month’s issue the sassy fun feminine feminists can

  • Find out where “to stock up on gorgeous cotton pajamas and lingerie.”
  • Read quotations from celebrities (get a load of Kiera Knightley: “I was like, ‘I don’t mind you making them bigger, but don’t give me fucking droopy breasts! They look like your grandmother’s tits!’”).
  • Take a nostalgic look back at AT&T’s “iconic” Princess phone.
  • Peruse hundreds and hundreds of ads for jewelry (like a bracelet engraved with the word “money”), purses, shoes, pink (I kid you not) tools, sex toys, scented panties, cosmetics, and clothes, clothes, clothes, clothes, clothes.
  • Find out where to buy a “prosthetic neck wound” for “thrills” as a “realistic” Halloween murder victim.
  • Learn how to “spruce up last years wedge [heels]” with blue swan appliqués.
  • Find out that “Marcia Brady hair” is once again coveted, and how to get it for yourself (Marcia Brady hair requires half a page of instructions and seven “tools of the trade,” including several chemical products and two electric appliances).
  • Enjoy an 8-page fashion spread featuring cheap crap from China, complete with prices and stores, depicting how to dress like a Teddy Girl (“In 1950′s Britain, the tomboyish Teddy Girl style drove the rocker boys wild”).
  • Read reviews of beauty products with fake French names (“Spongellé buffed my skin like a mini Zamboni, and the roughness really appealed to my inner masochist.”).
  • Jerk off while reading softcore (“Grabbing my tit with his left hand and my crotch with his right, he’s panting heavily into my ear. ‘How’s that pussy doin, baby?”). Booya.
  • In printing “all kinds of great girly stuff” BUST may be entertaining, but calling it ‘feminism’ is quite the howler. Feminism isn’t ‘fun.’ It’s not about shopping for cheap campy crap at the ‘Boobtique’ or getting off. It’s about political action on behalf of a class of people who are culturally, socially, politically, inellectually, physically, and violently oppressed, impoverished, abused, enslaved, objectified, raped and murdered.*

    In her interview with Amy Poehler, Jill Soloway,** an avowed fan of BUST, inadvertently reveals the grim truth about all this fun-fake-feminism when she admits,

    “Well, I’ve always been super-sex-positive and everything, but sometimes I feel like I want to be a Muslim woman in a burka; I feel like the only way I can get my power back is to peer at the world through a strip. Because I feel like women aren’t looking at all anymore – there’s no looking left. We’re only looked at.”

    ____________________________________
    * What? You say I’m being feministier than thou? You can shove it up your Vinnie’s Tampon Case ($13.95 plus shipping and handling).
    ** Show of hands: is it just me, or do other innocent young feminist bloggers get weekly spams from sassy sex-positive Jill Soloway hyping her latest book or nightclub appearance or used tampon or whatever?

    108 comments

    3 pings

    1. shannon

      Damn! I just (after 30 years of the same hairstyle) cut my Marcia Brady hair! I am NEVER in style.

      BTW, the reason I had that hair in the first place was because there were no appliances of chemicals involved. At all.

    2. teffie-phd

      Great post. Goes to show how feminism really has been co-opted by capitalism and other patriarchal tools (pun intended).

    3. Edith

      I bought Jill’s book, I confess. In hardcover. I was quite brain-addled as well. Like, she’s really sexy! And she had sex with a weird old guy when she was like 17! Because it was like something to do! And she was the “dark” one (because her hair is dark), so she was like, “exotic”! Like Latinas! But not really, ’cause she’s Jewish, but aren’t we all the sexy dark gals anyway?

      Also, all your complaints about BUST are great, except for one: Hitachi Magic Wands really are the shit. Think they’re too expensive? What’s more expensive — a good vibrator, or dating another horrible person for X amount of years/months? This very unsexy sex toy gives me enough orgasms that I am well on my way to becoming a spinster aunt when I grow up, too.

    4. earthfreak

      Yo

      I have also always been horrified by “BUST”. My last girlfriend subscribed to it and was really upset with me for being so down on it. Her subscription is running out and she’s considering not renewing it (because I ruined it for her, partially)

      I’ve never been sure whether I should feel guilty for dismissing “feminism” that’s about what makeup to buy (I hanve’t worn makeup since some bad experiments at age 12 – unless you count one halloween in college) or if I should just feel, well, honest. but anyway…..

      Thanks for this post.

      PS- I have a magic wand, but am considering getting rid of it (how does one do that? I don’t want to throw it away, but I don’t know anyone well enough to offer it to them) They certainly help one have orgasms (well, lots of people) – but I guess it feels a bit like anonymous sex to me, which masturbation should never be. I find that I’m less able to let go enough to actually have good sex with myself. I’m thinking of getting back to basics, which is so much more fulfilling (for me)

      TMI?

      :)

      Pam

    5. Twisty

      I’m not anti-Hitachi. I’m just sayin, maybe masturbation – contrary to the giggly, incessant orgasm-chatter at BUST – isn’t the highest pinnacle of human achievement.

    6. amaz0n

      I read BUST, but I also don’t take it particularly seriously. I have an occasional need to read pointless crap that can be toted around with me from place to place, and BUST suits that need.

    7. ::Wendy::

      luckily I’ve never read Bust or any ‘female’ magazine (cosmopolitan, elle etc), probably explains my almost-sane-ness. I neveer understood why ‘girl’ magazines and ‘boy’ magazines. why not ‘itneresting thing’ magazines… I guess its easier for marketting people to measure gender and then quickly divide their target-marketting by the exisiting stereotypes. Well, they’ve failed to sell to me and it seems that no-one, except hat shops, are really selling to me, which is probably quite good because its relatively cheap…

    8. hedonistic

      Looks like I can be a feminist too, just by buying the right stuff. Cool.

      That said, I received the Hitachi (and the Gspotter attachment, OMG) as a gift about two weeks ago. Sweet mother of GOD.

    9. yankee transplant

      “Feminism isn’t ‘fun.’ It’s not about shopping for cheap campy crap at the ‘Boobtique’ or getting off. It’s about political action on behalf of a class of people who are culturally, socially, politically, inellectually, physically, and violently oppressed, impoverished, abused, enslaved, objectified, raped and murdered. I tell you whut.”*

      Twisty, I love you.

    10. bitter-girl.com

      In defense of Bust from the woman-owned small business perspective: they’ve really reached out to independent businesses and made it not only affordable but easy to run a national ad campaign. I’ve got a small online shop (among its contents: “The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own” panties and “Happy Fucking Holidays” cross-stitch kits) — Bust and Venus are probably the best 2 places I could possibly advertise in print.

      Ok, you could say that Bust is a magazine and selling advertising is what they do, so celebrating them for being willing to sell to the Bush-panty-hawkers isn’t exactly like letting Mandela out of jail. But other mags of similar size and national distribution don’t make as much effort to reach out to business owners like me and for that, I really like them. Also, as a designer and author of knitting books, Debbie Stoller’s massive popularity as a knit-author has made it that much easier for me to support myself doing a job that I love.

      And besides, would you rather support small women-owned businesses like the ones who do or would advertise in Bust (read: support people like me) or support the advertisers in People or Cosmo? I would hope the former.

      Capitalism be damned, a woman’s gotta eat, and I’d sure as hell prefer to support myself with my own business than anywhere else (Once I was one of three ‘girl stockbrokers’ in an office of 55 — what FUN that was. Not).

    11. bitter-girl.com

      (Oh — and also — the support of small businesses is not limited to advertising, it’s editorial as well. If you’re familiar with the small indie labels like I am, you’ll see that many of them are represented in the fashion layouts and product recommendations — something Cosmo or Vogue would never do in a billion years).

    12. Rose Connors

      I’ve never seen the magazine, but does BUST imply something other than the obvious? Because I am most certainly not defined by my bust and I wonder about a publication that is.

    13. kathy a

      i can only quote marcia brady, in the most quotable thing the character ever said: “EEWWWWW!”

      i think of feminism as the everyday workings of a civil rights and human rights movement — women makng choices and statements [large and mundane] that better the condition of women generally, and male supporters of human rights doing the same. there’s gonna be some fun along the way, sure — but it just seems totally bizarre to me to market a human rights movement as “fun,” and then try to sell stuff to make it seem more cool and current and wow.

      [parody alert!] “MLK shampoo, to bring out the sexy racial-equality groundbreaker in you, and let you look and smell your very best!” give me a freaking break. fairness and equity are the big issues — so long as cuteness and fun are the [wildly offensive] selling points, we lose, lose, lose.

      by “we,” i mean women who want to be treated as human, and think other women deserve that, too.

      i’m in danger of going off on a long rant, so i’ll tell this one story about a fabulous woman. she was and maybe still is THE national expert on something really serious in an odd corner of the law. she’s spent her time doing all the stuff she preaches — really, she is a miracle, and it is not exaggerating in the least to say she has saved lives.

      so — i worked with her in the 1990′s. if her expertise and plain talk and great tips weren’t enough to make me a fan for life, having meetings with her was. she and another woman of a certain age just killed me [and gave me hope] by joking out loud about hot flashes! they were unquestionable experts on the stuff they were there to explain — they had the floor. and one way they used it was to make the experiences of women normal, funny, stuff that is do-able, at the same time they shared their professional stuff.

      this woman was scathing about the “swinging dick” style of guys taking over when they didn’t know anything. i’ll tell you, she had southern manners, but some of those guys eventually emerged with more common sense than when they started. [only some -- others may require rinse and repeat, or a generational change.]

      so, that’s my idea of a fun feminist — someone who makes me laugh and makes things happen.

    14. Ron Sullivan

      Well, geez, I’m having fun. But I suspect the BUST tootsies wouldn’t recognize it because I hardly ever squeal.

    15. whitefluff

      It’s amazing to me that feminism today is trying to revive and validate the old “feminine” values that feminism was fighting against. New-age feminists want to gain acceptance for things like using naked womens’ bodies to sell stuff, using feminine beauty as a legitimate bargaining chip, supporting young girls in wearing ultra-sexy clothing, seeing the sex industry as empowering for women, etc. It’s feminine-feminist redux. I recently talked with a female graduate from a fancy east coast college and she thinks Barbie (the doll) is a good role model for women. It’s like calling Paris Hilton a good feminist – she’s blond, she’s pink, she’s sexy, she’s girly, she has no skills other than being pretty and being thin. And she’s rich from Daddy’s money. I didn’t think it was possible to see feminism become so terribly warped that it morphs into the opposite. How did this happen????

    16. righteousbabe

      From the cover of the last issue of BUST: “be a feminist, OR JUST LOOK LIKE ONE.”

      The piece in reference was a fashion spread of models wearing outfits inspired by the “looks” of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, etc. Each page was complete with the different names of clothing designers, stores, and prices.

      It was just so cruelly ironic and gag-inducing all at the same time.

    17. mae

      Yes! Everytime I go into the magazine store and see Bust right next to Bitch, it makes me cringe. Bust singlehandedly trivializes everything of quality in the scant feminist section.

      To the girl who likes Bust for its advertising opportunities, well, it sounds like you found a perfect pseudo-feminist home for your “subversive” underwear and needlework.

    18. Pony

      Bust hasn’t missed a thing then; because sex-”positive” feminism worships consumerism, from designer shoes to designer labias. Bust also isn’t doing anything different editorially than Vogue. Advertising and editorial virtually indistinguishable. Yeh knitter, it’s so much nicer to be treated like a second class citizen by other women, than my men.

    19. emma goldman

      Why do I need help “feeling good about being a girl”? That’s the thing that’s so strange–if women weren’t treated like shit, then they wouldn’t need said “help.” and what makes anyone think that buying shit is going to do that for me? Feh.

    20. kreepyk

      I suppose I’d have more to say in defense of the bastion of “fun feminism” if it were not so fucking boring. I like clothes. My grandmother was a fashion designer IN ITALY in the the 30s. Yet their shopping/clothes/make-up crap leaves even me yawning. And I just spent about 30 hours over three days reading my Mom’s back issues of Threads.

      Sheesh.

    21. Burrow Klown

      Thank you Twisty. I have found myself yelling about Bust more than once. ‘Conforming to patriarchal beauty standards is sooooo feminist! Yay!’ Gag.

    22. scratchy888

      Unfortunately, it appears we are living in a postrevolutionary age. The chic term of the second is still postfeminism, which is supposed to imply that one is above feeling earnest about one’s politics. Politics implies struggle, but the very idea of raising a sweat detracts from the effect of one’s breezy demeanour which radiates success and compels others to give one their cash.

    23. antelope

      Aw Twisty, you, and the other folks here, are what makes feminism fun!

      Everybody sing!

      Youuuuuuuu, you make feminism fun,
      All I wanna saaayyyy
      Is youuuuuuu, you make feminism fun.

      Seriously.

    24. Friggas Own

      I have bought a total of one issue of Bust, and that was for an interview with a pop artist I adore. The only other good thing in there was an article about how single people constantly get the shaft in social situations. The rest of it was Cosmo type consumerism that made my head explode.

      I love Bitch, but there’s times when I bemoan the way it’s so focused on west coast culture. I’d like to see some articles written by feminists from “red states” just for a slight change of pace. And it would be nice to occasionally hear about people in my income bracket without it coming from someone who didn’t have to make the choice between a gallon of gas and groceries.

    25. bitter-girl.com

      “To the girl who likes Bust for its advertising opportunities, well, it sounds like you found a perfect pseudo-feminist home for your “subversive” underwear and needlework.”

      Mae, I think that’s really unfair of you to say. I mentioned the panties and the needlework in particular because they’re two of the things I sell that have brought me major hassle. For example: my publisher lost some major sales because one company in particular googled and found my shop site (they then let me have holy hell because of it, but it’s not like I stopped selling the items in question, I told my publisher to get bent). I’m not producing these things to be a pseudo-subversive (see: Hot Topic, et al), I’m helping other artists band together in a collective to sell their work. Which just so happens to include panties and needlework. Shock. Horror.

      What also you don’t know is that many of the artists who sell with me *are* social activists. I quote from a cached version of the panty-maker’s website as an example (it isn’t loading for me right now, might be down):

      “Pantyline Productions is an action-oriented social activist group determined to focus on root causes, embrace diversity and produce positive change through positive means. We build community involvement and support for local issues. Our aim is to use creative strategies to challenge the status quo.”

      Uh huh. Exact same concept as the Vogue and Cosmo ad pages, sure.

      So now I’m not a feminist because I choose to have a job that I love, working with people I enjoy? And, for that matter, helping dozens of other women make a living doing the art they want to do? What, do I not get to collect my Official Feminist Badge until I go back to being a stockbroker and kicking my male colleagues’ asses six ways to Sunday? That existence was more shallow and sad than you can imagine. Tune in to a Monday morning brokerage coffee pot, surrounded by striped-shirt-wearing 30somethings discussing high school football as if it actually meant something, if you want to have a glimpse of my former employment hell.

      My original point, which seems to have become lost in the anti-consumerism posts, was that in order to expand my business and keep all the artists working, Bust (and its more musically-oriented similar publication Venus) offers small businesses lots of perqs that other magazines don’t. For that reason, I like them. I wish more advertising outlets would offer similar pricing for small businesses.

      Is every story in Bust 100% perfect? No. Should they devote more space to the kinds of topics we’d like to see them cover? Sure. If they did, would any of us be happy? Probably not. The media is an imperfect place, which is why zines and their latter-day blog counterparts serve to fill the void, question what they cover, discuss what they don’t, etc.

    26. Twisty

      Hey bitter-girl.com: thanks for your perspective. A friend of mine sent me a “Fuck Cancer” sampler. Was that one of yours?

    27. bitter-girl.com

      Hey Twisty! I didn’t, no, but I know the Fuck Cancer cross-stitch pattern is by the same person as the Happy Fucking Holidays one I sell, namely the fantastic, Texas-based goddess-person Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch:

      http://subversivecrossstitch.com

      I love her with a fiery passion, I do.

      And her cross-eyed Siamese cats are far less likely to bust an ankle than your rambunctious darling Bert…

    28. jbeeky

      How is Bust different than Jane? Jane just hasn’t caught on to selling us social salvation in a dildo? Yet……

    29. Buttercup

      Debbie Stoller? Of Stitch and Bitch fame? Who knew. Her books have interesting patterns, bad knitting instructions, and inflated price tags. Oh, and a zillion really, really bad puns. I’d not expect anything she’s got her stamp on to be particularly … feminist. Or empowerful. Or, well, anything but capitalist. After all, the whole “HYUK” (hip young urban knitter)movement has made her filthy stinking rich.

    30. AntipodeanKate

      I agree that Bust is just Cosmo with a sprinling of faux feminism, and I much prefer Bitch (though I love Debbie Stoller’s knitting books).

      But I like Bitter-girl’s points. Here’s someone actually doing something to make herself money, to better her own life and the lives of other women, and doing it in a way that doesn’t exploit poor people or brown people or children or other women. Isn’t that a GOOD thing?

      So good on ya Bitter-girl.

    31. bitter-girl.com

      Thanks, AntipodeanKate.

      And Buttercup — correction — her books have made Workman Publishing very, very rich. Ever seen an author’s royalty statement? I’m sure she’s made a good amount of money (you can’t help it if you sell over 250,000 books, as she has), but Workman’s made at least 4-5 times as much on the books, not to mention the licensed stuff.

      Example: for each copy of my first two books that sells, I make an average of 40 cents per copy. (The royalty rates are lower for Canadian sales and the first book sold really well there, so it brings down the average). I still haven’t “earned out” yet. Which means that 2 years after signing the contract and 1 years after the first one hit shelves, the only money I’ve seen was the $5000 advance. Divide it out among the number of hours it takes to put together and promote a book and you’ve got way less than minimum wage. This is why I run the shop and have a part-time editing job to make ends meet… I work at least 12 hours 6 days a week! But I love it, so it doesn’t matter.

      Arguably, Stoller’s helped the indie knit designers who appeared in her books, too — publishers look at you differently if you’ve had a design or two in a bestseller, and some of the savvier women have turned around and made their own book deals. There’s a multiplier effect.

      (Not to bore the non-knitters with the financials, but this isn’t the first time I’ve had to point out that a. authors don’t control everything that goes into their books and b. we’re not all swanning around the pool living off Stephen King-style money).

    32. mae

      Bitter-girl, yes it’s good that you’re running your own business, but must you piggyback on a platform that dilutes (and in some cases inverts) the concept of feminism?

      As for the underwear and needlework, I genuinely mean no offense to you. It is, however, my personal opinion that as long as women direct their energy into putting their own stamp on the provinces that are pre-ordained for them (lingerie, sewing), they strengthen the existing order.

    33. KTal

      Thank you Mae, I agree and in no way mean to stomp on Bitter-Girl, but all context must be examined as to how it supports the existing power structure.

      Women are still inundated by stupid women and men in real life, so Bust has little impact either way I think. Take this example from my real life today:

      20 year old daughter is considering applying to local laborer’s union for a year, a good job has come up and they are looking for recruits for a year’s committment (of course they want you for life). Said daughter is considering to supplement savings for college.

      She goes to union hall with male friend who informed her of this opportunity. Meets secretary who is at front taking names and scheduling interviews. Daughter hesitates, is still taking all of it in. Says this forty-something woman is giving her the Meanie Eyeball.
      Daughter comes over to desk, still thinking, said Meanie Eyeball says to my non-committal daughter, “I hope you’re not like those other women who apply and work and then get all up in arms when a man makes a joke or says ‘you guys’ or something, you know, you have to just take it and keep quiet and not make a big deal out of everything because there are lots of men here and men will be men.”

      Yeah. Meanie Eyeball says that and continues to give my daughter the “I know what you little pretty 20 something thingie-girl is all about.”

      Daughter leaves and tells me about it and says she decided to go back tomorrow and sign up and will raise a hellova fuss if she runs into any shit.

      She also begged me to let off and let her handle it herself because you know, this mother can easily turn into a 500 lb. feminist gorilla and would like to go down to the union hall and give ole’ Meanie Eyeball a Mean Feminist Lesson in condensed form.

      And Bust prattles on about what skirts to wear like Godlia Sternum. Oh well.

      Isn’t Amy Poehler one of the not very funny/not very talented SNL crew? And who’s this Jill woman? someone please tell me because struggling for the dolla without flashing my bust or doing girl things is damn hard and consumes me day and night.

    34. Violet

      I managed to become a bitter old blamer despite having read Cosmopolitan in my youth. For all the articles about achieving big, poofy hair (this was the ’80′s) and tips about the correct application of lip gloss, these magazines often provided young women with invaluable health information that was not readily available at the time. This is probably less true today since magazines only exist to generate profits for their shareholders, and editors are merely beholden to the bottom line. Not surprisingly, these magazines are hemorrhaeging readers who recognize the cynical agenda behind all the celebutante shoe worship and porn-driven SEXXX advice.

      In its day, Vogue provided some of the best coverage of the arts, and had a strong literary bent. It would take several days to get through one issue, even with all the photo spreads and advertising. Today it combines the worst of ‘O’ with ‘Us Weekly’ and limits its coverage of the “arts” with profiles of Desperate Housewives and poorly written capsule reviews of popular entertainment. Until today, I had never heard of ‘Bust’, but I think the title is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the general decline in readership for “womens” magazines continues, I imagine it will go “tits up”.

      (Note to fellow Blamers: Please spare this information overloaded spinster-in=training the details of your masturbatory habits. This is not “sharing”, but rather sad evidence of your successful indoctrination into the cult of confessional self-abasement. And some would argue that a brand name phallic device assembled in a Chinese sweatshop is hardly a “sex positive” feminist toy, but merely a plug-in version of the patriarchy)

    35. educe

      Added up, I think I’ve purchased BUST three or four times, several years back. I, too, was duped into believing it was feminist. Then I found Bitch and saw what a real feminist mag could be like. If I ever get the cash flow, I’ll be a Bitch sustainer.

      My partner and I went to a local coffee shop this evening and ran into a gal we’ve seen there before. We started talking with her more tonight and it turns out she’s the President of a feminist group here at PU, “POWER” (“Purdue Organization for Women’s Equality and Rights”). They focus mainly on being sex-positive and yearly hand out free condoms and lube on campus. Good works, but a little light on the politics.

      What made me question this gal’s specific feminist politics (being the club President and all) was what came out of her mouth, such as these gems: “I shave my legs because the hair is GROSS and makes me feel weird. I shave my pits because that’s where the bacteria grows and it makes me stinky.” “I have, like, a BAZILLION purses.” “The Golden Girls are like the older equivalent of Sex in the City, but with ’80s fashion and saggier skin.”

      Your pointed definition of feminism (“It’s about political action on behalf of a class of people who are culturally, socially, politically, inellectually, physically, and violently oppressed, impoverished, abused, enslaved, objectified, raped and murdered. I tell you whut.”) is what brought this all up. I’ll be saving this def.

      On campus, I’m surrounded by empowered gals wobbling across the (some-what large) campus grounds in stilettos. (WTF?)

      Sometimes I think “there are as many kinds of feminisms as there are feminists” ain’t such a great thing.

    36. Violet

      The attitude of so many young “feminists” is hardly surprising because Americans are taught to trivialize political issues by taking everything personally, as if history was some kind of sentimental Disney melodrama played out on the global entertainment boob-tube.

    37. antelope

      That “golden girls are like an older sex in the city” comment reminded me of why I read one issue of Bust & decided that was as much as I needed. The issue I read actually had lots of articles that weren’t pushing any specific product or look, but it seemed like the editors idea of politics consisted solely of media criticism, and mostly of the, “as a kid I felt bad because there weren’t any people of my color/orientation/height/family-structure/IQ on t.v., except for this one loser, so I didn’t know if I was supposed to act like that loser” If I bothered to criticize what specifically was in the mag any futher, I’d be committing meta-media criticism, and that’s just too ridiculous.

      That is the thing that’s freaking me out the most about kids these days, though, feminist or otherwise. How long is it going to take them to realize that t.v. is actually not the most important aspect of life? They hand down observations about t.v. shows, past and present, as if they were analyzing the finer points of global trade relations or something. Mostly observations that aren’t even analysis so much as a plot or character synopsis.

      Is this because they were pretty much raised by t.v. and if so, does that mean it occupies some deep parent-like spot in their psyches & they haven’t got a chance in hell at growing out of it? That is one of the scariest ideas I’ve had for a long time – someone please tell me it isn’t true. If someday my nursing home attendant tries to tell me about how Desperate Housewives impacted thier childhood I will whack them upside the head with my cane and call it a crime of passion.

    38. Buttercup

      bitter girl, as a published author, I do understand how royalties work. Sure, workman’s made even more, but Ms Stoller’s doing quite well on her share, I’m sure.

    39. Mar Iguana

      Never read Bitch or Bust and I ain’t about to. Ever. I’ll be damned if I’d ever pay one damn dime of my hard earned money to assholes who think those are just swell names for their rags.

    40. Twisty

      Lots of people, even intelligent ones, confuse TV with reality.

      For years I’ve been on this listserv of musicians, where my largely unwelcome feminist response to the written expressions of dude privelege of my mostly male peers congealed into the precursor of this blog. There’s a guy on that list, a dyed-in-the-wool white male liberal in the mold of Kos (by which I mean, his hidden motto is “power to the people, as long as I still get to call the shots”). A middle-aged rocker, he’s used to hott chixx lining up begging to suck his cock or something. “Chick bass players can’t play,” is his constant refrain. Anyway, he actually uses examples of the behavior of the characters on “Sex In The City” to support his retarded generalizations about women. “Women are insatiable sexbots” et al. What a knob.

    41. Mar Iguana

      Why isn’t the word “bitch” as odious to people as the word “nigger?” It sure as shit should be!

    42. GenderBlank

      “Why isn’t the word “bitch” as odious to people as the word “nigger?” It sure as shit should be!”

      Didn’t we start reclaiming this word way back in the 60s? The meaning of it now is highly dependent upon context, so I don’t think you can discount it out of hand. That’s the beautiful thing about language – it is truly living and has space to evolve (or devolve). Lots and lots of feminist women have exerted great energy to define this word on our terms – why honor patriarchy’s definitions? If we change what it means, it doesn’t have the same kind of sting when hurled from the enemy camp. “Bitch” is new “queer.” Or was “queer” the new “bitch?” In either case, the words gain different kinds of power in different contexts. Just sayin’.

      The best definition of “bitch” that I ever read was that of a female who dares to intrude into male spaces. In that sense, I aspire to be a huge bitch.

    43. curiousgirl

      This is an interesting thread. I have two small points. Or at least two.

      1) a “post-revolutionary moment” can often be, and in this case should, be described as a “reactionary moment,” I think. The idea that selling stuff (be it magazines, underpants or anything else)counts as soical action is a good example of what I mean. Its fine to sell stuff, but its not a movement, or even politics, in my opinion.

      2) Bust is not just like Cosmo et al in that they are mainly about selling women makeup, they are also similar in that most women’s magazines make some claim at some level of feminism, and make some nod towards that in their editorial content (pro-war foriegn reports with on women’s rights in afghanistan and lurid personal accounts titled things like “I escaped my batter” are frequent themes, in my experience.)

    44. saltyC

      As far as I can see, the B-word reclamation project has failed. Its insult value is as high as ever, whereas “queer”‘s insult value is zero. The N-word is also as hideous as ever, and it is spoken constantly by racists and unenlightened self-haters.

    45. magikmama

      As probably one of the younger blamers here (in my early twenties,) ya’ll have overlooked the one saving grace of BUST (not enough to make me read it, but enough to make me not want to ban it.)

      BUST is a cosmo-type magazine that isn’t filled with women saying, I’m not a feminist but

      When I was a teenager, reading BUST was one of the stops on my road to being a real feminist, like a gateway drug. It lead me on to BITCH, which led me to the internets and the likes of Twisty. Which lead me to actually reading some feminist books and theory.

    46. amaz0n

      It is, however, my personal opinion that as long as women direct their energy into putting their own stamp on the provinces that are pre-ordained for them (lingerie, sewing), they strengthen the existing order.

      I can’t help but feel that you’re looking down on this woman for pursuing a career in business (not in lingerie, not in sewing, but in business, a point you seem to have overlooked) because it happens to have something to do with “traditionally feminine” realms (despite the fact that business is definitely not considered “traditionally feminine”).

      And it is my personal opinion that as long as women direct their energies toward what makes them happy – and it seems bitter-girl.com is doing so – they are bucking the “existing order,” which is that women should do what is expected of them, not what makes them happy. It is also my personal opinion that as long as obstensibly feminist-minded women deliberately avoid things that they might* otherwise enjoy, like needlework and funny underwear, because those activities are the dreaded *girly activities*, they are also strengthening the traditional order. Why? Because they are being played by the exact same meme that men are being played by when they deliberately avoid “girly activities,” regardless of their personal enjoyment of them, because they don’t want to be associated with anything “female-oriented” for fear that they will be tainted with it. That notion is, of course, firmly rooted in a cultural hatred of women.

      All expressions of gender are a big drag show, but in a culture in which your ability to opt out of the drag show is almost entirely nonexistent, you aren’t achieving anything by opting to wear one costume over another, nor are you contributing to the notion that the drag show shouldn’t exist in the first place.

      *This is certainly not to say that all women enjoy these things, of course.

    47. Letty

      I blame the patriarchy for having to look under ‘men’s interest’ in my magazine shop to find guitar magazines.

    48. Burrow Klown

      Y’all you look into off our backs for a good feminist read. I love it (not just because they published me, but because they are my kind of feminism). I think most people have forgotten about them and they direly need subscription money. If I wasn’t poor, I’d definitely donate money instead of just having a subscription.

    49. Maven

      Delurking to say thanks–not just for the post, but for the comments, especially those from bitter-girl.com and amazOn. That thing about the drag show is right fucking on.

    50. Ron Sullivan

      A Magic Wand isn’t a dildo; it’s a vibrator. No I don’t own one. I’m just sayin.

      One thing that has occurred to me about the feminist “Kids These Days” rant is that when I was a kid feminist, we weren’t in the majority. The biggest difference is that more peope are calling themselves faminists these days, and if hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue it’s probably progress to have the hypocrites think feminism’s a virtue as opposed to rank insanity. (Who else here’s old enough to remember the lyrics to the big moment of revelation as being, “Oh! I’m not crazy; I’m a feminist!”?)*

      Mar, way back when I was in school a roommate told me she figured I was a bitch: “Beleaguered Intellectual Taking Care of Herself.” Therefore I’ve been known to flaunt it, usually with “Individual” subbing for “Intellectual.” But when I hear it used casually or as an insult, I do bare my fangs. That project of reclaiming words goes on in a ragged unpredictable fashion, and I have no notion where or when that term will end up. Ya know, I still choke on the n-word; some bits of my upbringing seem to have stuck.

      *tardy homage to National Punctuation Day

    51. ohestelle

      I just want to say as Earthfreak’s aforementioned (soon to be ex)subscriber exgirlfriend (no the breakup didn’t have anything to do with BUST) that I totally agree with all of your criticisms, but I’ve gotten really upset for a few reasons while reading these comments. First, I totally agree with Magikmama that it’s a gateway drug. It has been a great intro for my friends in rural Ohio who still think feminism is about bra burning (or other such cultural myths). BUST is, essentially, a fashion magazine, so comparing it to Cosmo & the like is a little more realistic than comparing it to Bitch which is totally different and completely wonderful. Second, Bitter-Girl is right, BUST does a lot to support small, independent, women-owned businesses and was a big part of the DIY revolution. I partially credit them for the ease with which I can find consumer goods that I don’t have the time right now to make myself (example: I need slippers & I just found some great handmade ones from a very nice woman. I found her through a craft website. Now I get slippers, she makes a living, & I don’t have to support big corporations & child labor.)
      Finally, I’m a little disturbed by some of the knee-jerk reactions I’ve seen here dismissing all things pink and “girlie” as tools of the patriarchy. I really thought feminism had passed the era of devaluing the traditionally feminine.
      So, yes, I’m not renewing my subscription. I’m too often disappointed with the content in this magazine. I had hoped for more too. But, let’s not let that devolve into pink-bashing or craft-bashing (I consider it pretty radical these days to make your own clothes or socks, etc.), or anything like that.

    52. Luckynkl

      Didn’t we start reclaiming this word way back in the 60s? The meaning of it now is highly dependent upon context, so I don’t think you can discount it out of hand. That’s the beautiful thing about language – it is truly living and has space to evolve (or devolve)…

      Excuse me? You want to reclaim identifying and being thought of as a dog? A domesticated animal that is bred and taught to obey? And sits, begs, barks, rolls over and plays dead on the master’s command? And is can only be taken out in public on a leash? An animal that eats its own shit? Ooookay. Whatever. If you don’t mind, I’ll pass. I much prefer to use my energy into being recognized as human.

      As for the Busties, I remember them well. The Bust boards invaded the Ms. boards some time back after some Msers had a few things to say about its “I’m a feminist” charade. The Busties sported and supported a genuine rapist. One who bragged about his exploits. And just in case you grew tired of that, he had a website, depicting some of the vilest misogynist things you can imagine.

      Needless to say, he and I had a little “discussion.” Which basically meant I had him for breakfast and spit out the pits. He was gone by sundown. But the Busties kept him and continued to fawn all over him. This is just a taste of what Busties were sporting as “feminism.”

      I have read a few articles by “Bitch.” Which is a giant step above Bust. But the name is a complete turn-off (see above) and I will not support anything that refers to women as anything less than human.

    53. KMTBERRY

      I’d like to see some articles written by feminists from “red states” just for a slight change of pace.

      Perhaps they could ask Biting Beaver to write something? Or hell, Twisty! Twisty lives in a Red State!

    54. Twisty

      ” I really thought feminism had passed the era of devaluing the traditionally feminine.”

      It has, it has. From where I sit, ‘feminism’ looks to have devolved into one big pink traditional feminine fuckpile. Of course, it is not my intention to “devalue” the “traditionally feminine” so much as point out that, however fun it is to wear fishnets and cut your hair like Bettie Page and buy beauty products and pink tool kits, it (the traditionally feminine) is, at its core, a patriarchal construct designed to other-ize women. Pink is an infantile color, and ‘femininity’ is a series of behaviors that express one’s degree of willingness to accept the limitations (of dress, demeanor, sexuality, et al) imposed by our system of male dominance.

      Sure, I wish more women would step up and realize that by choosing to participate in the feminine charade they are merely aiding the patriarchal cause and perpetuating the bogus boy/girl dichotomy, but fuckin A, this should not be interpreted as me telling people what to do and shit. People are free to paint themselves with pink honey and jump out of cakes all day long for all I care. They just shouldn’t expect a medal from me.

      As for the Bust vs Bitch thing, I did not intend to imply that there is, or should be, some sort of equivalence between them. I mentioned the latter only in passing, because it starts with a “B” and I am dumb and confused it with Bust.

    55. bitter-girl.com

      “they are bucking the “existing order,” which is that women should do what is expected of them, not what makes them happy.”

      Y’know, amaz0n, that’s precisely what I’ve thought more than once — economic independence is the sweetest form of patriarchy-blamin’ I know. Because once you hold the purse strings and call the shots for yourself, you’re way ahead of the game.

      Hey buttercup, I just checked out your site. Beautiful spinning! Bill’s (late) wife, the founder of Copper Moose, is in my new book. Now *she* was quite the blamer in her day, she didn’t take guff from anyone. She told me some great stories involving grabby French photographers and her walking off in a loaner Chanel suit to get a hot dog as a result.

      KMTBERRY — I, too, am stuck in Ohio. Keep us all in your thoughts this November, because I trust we’ll have a free and fair election about as much as I trust the South Dakota legislature.

    56. Shannon

      I think BUST should be seen as a fun fashion magazine, with a little bit of feminist flavor, instead of a feminist magazine with fashion in it. It’s more accurate. While we do need more advanced feminism, fashion magazines that aren’t totally stupid are at least a step forward.

    57. KTal

      “You want to reclaim identifying and being thought of as a dog?”

      I agree. Even if I do use the word with less than perjorative intention on my part, I am still conscious of the fact that the link means that women who act like full humans are no longer women.

      Which also brings me to the pinkie-girlie thing.

      Sure, I can play dress-up and go along with the game when I please, but I am certainly aware that it is a game and that skirts, lipstick and bras DO NOT make me a woman. Last I knew, my physical parts, my brain construction and social construct give me the identity of ‘woman’ along with the ranking in that social system.

      Traditional female dress handicaps women, makes them vulnerable and highlights aspects of their sexual availability for the opposite sex. Make-up highlights those aspects that the opposite sex find appealing which will then catch their attention, which signals to them that the woman is ‘pleasing to look at’ or a ‘knock-out’ or a ‘very attractive young lady’. In others words, she gets approval, passes the test and is allowed to move onto Square Two in that competitve balancing game of female power in the patriarchy.

      By refusing to play the game while demonstrating skills that are required for survival and success in capitalism, a woman can buck the ‘system’ by her action. By refusing to play dress-up and yet also making a buck and making a difference, a woman puts another chink, pushes the crack a little wider, in that big block of ice that woman are frozen into.

      I am sick and tired of women assuming that somehow if I don’t wear the obligatory costume or engage in activities deemed acceptable by them and the patriarchy they guard, that I must have some kind of disorder, sexual or otherwise.

      The only disorder I have is that I am sick and damn tired of standing on the sidelines of having to be told that I’m too pretty, too prissy dressed, not ready, not allowed or not able to do what I want to do.I like construction. I like to work on cars. And here’s the thing: I can also like sewing, painting art, decorating and writing. I even don’t mind playing dress-up sometimes.

      And I think I’m not the only one. I’m just pissed enough that I decided to stop holding back and go ahead and do what I damn well please, everyone else be damned. And I’m not having a bad time at it, in fact I enjoy my life now than ever before.

      So knit your underwear, socks or whatever, but please spare the whine about how ‘traditional feminity’ isn’t appropriately appreciated by feminists. THe fact that women must guard that color, must protect and ensure the survival of such accoutrements of the female heirarchy within the patriarchy, only shows how many women have seem to have conveniently forgotten (possibly thanks to advertising in ‘feminist’ mags and teevee)that in very recent history women were raped, beaten, caged in houses and enslaved as mandatory baby makers and servants and told to smile, ‘put on a pretty face’ and be ready to love some more.

      That’s what pink lace, lipstick, high heels and the rest reminds me of, ‘sexy underwear’ included.

    58. Mar Iguana

      “From where I sit, ‘feminism’ looks to have devolved into one big pink traditional feminine fuckpile.” Twisty

      Oh, huzZA! Made me choke up on the intake that time, Twisty. Heh.

    59. Mar Iguana

      I wouldn’t be caught dead in pink. I wear black.

    60. amaz0n

      I wouldn’t be caught dead in pink. I wear black.

      Nothing will ever replace black. Nothing, I say. Only black can be the new black, and only black will take up any space in my closet.

    61. Mar Iguana

      Here, here.

    62. Ms Kate

      It is, however, my personal opinion that as long as women direct their energy into putting their own stamp on the provinces that are pre-ordained for them (lingerie, sewing), they strengthen the existing order.

      So Mae, are you suggesting that we not wear underwear? Or that it be made by third world slaves – male of course (children? shhhh!).

      Somehow, I also don’t think you’ve hemmed new pants at a kid’s soccer game or anti-nuclear activist meeting lately. Women’s work? BWAHAHAHAH! I’m amazed at how many women goggle and say “you know how to sew? Really? I never learned how.” They aren’t doing this just because I’m usually the World’s Biggest Tomboy either – they are amazed because NOBODY learns to sew anymore.

      Personally, I think everybody should know how to do certain simple things and I have taught my husband and am teaching my sons how to do buttons, mend rips, and take up a pair of pants. It’s part of a package of survival skills we all should have, not something women should avoid out of sheer pretentious folly. That sounds too much like learned helplessness to me.

    63. ohestelle

      Now it’s black vs. pink? I don’t think what color shirt I wear is really a feminist issue.
      Come on.

      I spent some time thinking that I had to wear drab colors & pants to be a lesbian, & I have to say I’ve been a much happier person since I started making my own skirts and painting all my furniture bright colors. It’s just me.

      And I think I am definitely sheltered by being around really serious feminists all the time — I work full time in a feminist bookstore — so I don’t view feminism as having devolved into a “big pink traditional feminine fuckpile”. I see that happening — and definitely in the magazine in question — but the people I know who consider themselves feminist and who are well-versed in feminist history/literature/theory (and those are pretty much the majority of people I know these days) don’t buy into that watered down shit at all. And I think if you look at actual third wave feminism when people are really studying and taking it seriously, that is not what it’s about.

      And as someone who doesn’t own a TV, I’m really loathe to say that commercialism matters, but it does. The bookstore where I work has been around for 36 years and now is constantly in debt and on the verge of going out of business because people don’t see consumerism as a political/feminist act. It matters.

    64. Luckynkl

      Colors do affect people. For example, you’ll never see walls painted red in a prison. The head shrinkers noticed the effect colors have on people. Red did seem to promote aggression.

      Bright colors are suggested for children’s rooms. It does excite the interest and intellect of children apparently.

      But here’s something interesting I learned about colors a couple of years ago on another board. Apparently, prior to World War I, blue was the color for girls, and red was the color for boys. Sometime after WWI, things changed. Boys took both blue and red (predominantly blue tho) and gave girls the color they disliked the most. You guessed it. Pink. What can we make of that?

      My daughters and their father can see people’s auras. Try as I might, I can’t see them. They were stunned. They just took it for granted that everyone could see them. So I asked them to explain to me what they were seeing and what the colors meant. It was educational. They told me when someone’s aura was blue, it meant that they were calm and peaceful. A red aura meant they were mad. They said a young child’s aura was usually yellow to white. That represented innocence and purity to them. I asked them what black meant. I was expecting them to say it was the worse. It meant “evil.” But they didn’t. They said that black or gray just meant someone was trying to block them and hide something from people. They said the worst aura of all was green. If they saw a green aura they knew to run. I asked what green meant. They said, “jealousy.” Interesting how they saw green as the worst.

      After they got done educating me, I began to see what people meant by “red with anger” or “green with envy.” Apparently, they are very real colors associated with the auras that some people can actually see.

    65. DaeM

      The sad thing about this is that it’s another sign that people assume all women would love to be thin. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, they’re right. But whose fault is that? Could it be that the people who perpetuate the stereotype that all women obsess about their weight are part of the problem, rather than the solution?

      Lately, I’ve made a habit of passing time in the checkout line at the grocery store by looking at the covers of the women’s magazines, particularly fitness and health related ones. They all inevitably have a large number of headlines proclaiming foods that supposedly burn fat, new ways to tone your tummy and ways to get your body bikini ready or back in shape after the holidays (depending on the season). I’d say I’m fitness and health conscious. I know I’m overweight, and I’m trying to make a point to eat a healthy diet and exercise because I want to live a long, healthy life and feel good. I also want to be in shape for martial arts, which I’ve recently started. If my tummy gets smaller in the process, fine. If I reach a weight that I feel is more appealing on me, fine. But if I was told by a doctor tomorrow that my appearance would never change no matter how many minutes I spend exercising every day, I wouldn’t stop exercising, because my primary goal isn’t my appearance.

      However, there just isn’t that much support out there for women who are more concerned about their health and strength than how they look or how much they weigh. This camera is a great example of that. Having your pictures make you look narrower won’t make you actually thinner, and it certainly won’t make you a healthy weight (hell, that model in the picture looks like she was a healthy weight before she was digitally squished).

    66. Luckynkl

      Oops, hit the submit button before I was through.

      Anyways, to continue, red auras meant anger. Blue auras meant peace and calm. Blue use to be associated with girls. Red for boys. Then boys took both. (Could their auras have been green at that point?)

      Don’t mind me. I’m just playing around with my crayons here and wondering if there’s more to colors than we realize.

    67. wolfa

      Girls weren’t allowed pink because it was too strong a colour and might, I don’t know, overwhelm them and make them boyish. When pink became associated with girls (as Luckynkl says, within the last hundred years — it was mostly after WW2 that boys stopped using pink), it also became considered weak and infantile, since it was associated with girls. But it’s just a colour, and I can’t really see people getting more feminist props by choosing light blues instead of light reds.

    68. Twisty

      Some colors don’t exist in a cultural vaccuum. Yeah, it’s just refracted light, and the cosmos doesnt’ give a fuck either way, but come on. Pink is probably the most emotionally-charged color known to our culture. Why do you think those Komen knobs use it to sell bags of breast cancer junk food? How come the first thing my sister did when she found out she was pregnant with a girl was paint the kid’s room pink? How come there are no pink motorcycles, Ferraris, rocketships, or footballs? How come manly dudes can’t wear pink shoes? Why does BUST market pink hammers to fun feminists?

      In other words, pink means something: sweet, young, innocent, delicate, adorable, diminutive, naive, fragile. In other words, feminine.

    69. hedonistic

      Luckynkl, I met a person many years ago who saw colors in people’s auras. She said when she saw a pink aura on a person, she was picking up romance or lust. It was the same vibe whether the person in question was male or female: Lust and romance were pink!

      Given what men project on to sexually appealing women, it rather makes sense that men associate pink with “traditional femininity;” i.e., those submissive behaviors that supposedly make them horny. Remember how after WWII, ideas about appropriate behavior for women (Rosie the Rivetor vs. Stepford Wife?) supposedly did an about-face? I wonder. (ellipsis carefully avoided)

      Here’s my question though: What would your family say about a “rainbow stripe” aura? Supposedly that’s what I had the day I met the other aura reader and she had no idea what it meant. It was the first she’d ever seen anything like it.

    70. hedonistic

      yeah, I can’t spell riveter. rivitor. Gah.

    71. mpando

      “…I feel like the only way I can get my power back is to peer at the world through a strip. Because I feel like women aren’t looking at all anymore – there’s no looking left. We’re only looked at.”

      That’s right in step with what Laura Mulvey, feminist film theorist, says: the “function of woman” as viewed object, is to stand “in patriarchal culture as signifier of the male other, bound by the symbolic order in which man can live out his fantasies and obsessions through linguistic command, by imposing them on the silent image of woman still tied to her place as a bearer of meaning, not a maker of meaning.”

    72. Mar Iguana

      I wear black, not as a feminist statement, but because I mourn the attack on human intelligence and raised consciousness begun by Death Valley Ronnie (“Once you’ve seen one redwood, you’ve seen them all.”) Raygun and his facsist pals, the Sagebrush Rebels, when he won the election for governor of California by attacking the “spoiled” students acting up on college campuses, commencing the systematic dumbing-down of this country. Yeah, I’ve been in black that long.

      Refusing to wear pink is the feminist statement. I avoid pink like the plague it is, makes me quesy even, kinda like pepto bismol. Blech.

      I’m standing in line at my credit union yesterday and some clueless twit at the teller’s counter has the word “PINK” encrusted in pink and purple rhinestones across the ass of her circulation-stopping jeans, just on the off chance the boys in line weren’t already ogling it. What that spoke to me was, “Here it is, boys, gateway to the pink prize inside. Stare at will.” I look up and down the line and, sure ’nuff, the women were trying to look everwhere else but the boys were enjoying the hell out of it, standing there with that creepy leer, you know the one, on their faces. A couple of them even had that glaze-eyed, transfixed look that screams what’s going on in their sick, little alleged minds. How fun. Eeyeah. Pink is just more fun than I can stomach.

    73. maggiethewolf

      KTal wrote: “By refusing to play the game while demonstrating skills that are required for survival and success in capitalism, a woman can buck the ’system’ by her action. By refusing to play dress-up and yet also making a buck and making a difference, a woman puts another chink, pushes the crack a little wider, in that big block of ice that woman are frozen into.”

      KTal, I once gave a shit if a woman was hot: if she primped and presented herself on a platter. Now, I give a 0.3 shit. What matters to me is achievement. I care 0.3 today if a woman has a fine ass or cheekbones like the bow of an America’s Cup yacht. If you’ve achieved something, you’re sexy. If you have social grace or intellectual wherewithal, you’re hot. If you’re decent and kind, I’ll sacrifice a soy chicken patty to your image.

      As far as the origins of pink and blue, here’s what I once read: blue guarded against demons and thus is was reserved for baby boys, as it was an expensive dye. Red is pretty common in nature and so it was set aside for girls, but to stretch the dye, it was diluted. Thus, pink.

    74. emjaybee

      Maybe BUST is just feminism with the training wheels still on? To a woman who has never given feminism a serious thought and thinks it’s kinda “scary” BUST is a gentle, pink-tinged, entry into such radical thoughts as women deserve equality in the bedroom and can run their own businesses. The hairstyle tips etc. are camouflage. If the only mags you used to read were in fact Cosmo, et. al, then BUST is less threatening exactly because it talks about makeup and clothes right after an article about how stupid it is to consider yourself “pre pregnant” all the damn time (to name one that was in the Aug issue).

      I’m not suggesting that’s what’s actually planned here, but that’s maybe how it functions for many women.

      Advanced patriarchy blamers such as Twisty and many commentors are beyond this level, and ready for the hard stuff; the vastness of the Patriarchy, the possible impossibility of having a non-patriarchy-flavored love life, the creepiness of pink, etc. And they have Bitch, (though honestly? Bitch could use some better editing a lot of the time; many of their writers have better intentions than skills).

      I read both. I think both are fascinating. I understand the danger in BUST of making feminism something you can buy; I think that tension does threaten to overwhelm the magazine at times. I certainly don’t look good in mock-retro semi-handmade clothes, myself; they never feature fashion-haters, who, like me, would happily shave their hair off and wear nothing but overalls and t-shirts every day if they could get away with it. But they are better than Glamour, and they are thriving, which is a step forward, even if the result is hardly ideologically pure. Does BUST damage feminism by selling it out? I don’t think so, but hell, I could be wrong.

    75. Ms.T

      Edith, what I would do is take apart the hitachi wand and take out the motor, and the electrical cord. Then find an artist who will be happy to have it.

      I admit to be being a fairly regular BUST reader. I always knew it is basically a consumerist rag. Which is exactly why I buy BUST. To support people like bitter-girl. BUST is a great way to find small female run businesses. Also their fashion spreads always have a lot of independent designers and artists. My one profound annoyance with BUST however is its refusal to go outside of its hipster urban outfitters-esque aesthetic.

    76. maggiethewolf

      BTW, I’ve written for both Bitch and Bust and neither pays well enough for me to write further for them. For that, I blame the patriarchy.

    77. Luckynkl

      Hedonistic — my daughters and their father never mentioned pink or mixed colored or rainbow auras. I think they were just giving me the basics. But I found your post interesting.

      Next time I talk to my daughters or their father, I’ll ask. It’s only recently that their father and I are on speaking terms. It tests my gag reflex every time, but I have no choice if I want to talk to my youngest. He and the state are thoroughly convinced that Lesbian Radical Feminists are the anti-christ and will bring the world to an end so my every word must be monitored. Or, as they put it, so I can’t “fill her head with shit.” Translation: “lesbianism + feminism” = “shit.” Patriarchy = “the world.”

      But anyways, daddy dearest is the best at seeing auras and if anyone’s seen a pink, mix colored or rainbow one, he’d be the ticket. Sociopaths tend to study such things like bugs under a microscope so they can con people much easier than ordinary, run-of-the-mill, non-aura seeing, sociopaths.

      Daughter #1 excels more than her sisters in aura seeing. And unlike her father, people actually like her, so she knows a lot more people than he does. So she’d be a real good source to ask too.

      Whichever one I speak to first, I’ll ask and then get back to you.

    78. Ms Kate

      I don’t wear pink for a bunch of reasons, the main one being that it looks like shit on me. It took me years to finally convince my translucent mother that I am swarthy like her mother and my father and I AM NOT PINK myself, so pink ain’t going to look good on me.

      You can tell I can’t stand pink, either? Good. Maybe bull-hets are gynetically programmed to hate it outright.

      So you can imagine my turmoil when my eldest son wanted a pink dress – dress, fine. Pink? Ewwwww. It was his favorite color from age 3 to 5, and then “pinky purple” followed it until he was about 8.

      Of course, the capacity for patriarchal scrotum-tugging in letting my boy wear a pink dress made me more accepting of his color choices.

    79. welldressednerd

      Greaaat. Now my intelligent and politically active sister is turning and feasting on her friends just like my mainstream, self-obsessed sister. I’ve always said, with a full dash of sadness, that men will always rule the world because women are to worried about what some other woman’s doing to maintain the focus on the “man” and the system keeping the powerless, the poor, and the un represented down. Be careful of putting each others eyes out, you may still have a voice, you just won’t know who the hell you’re talking to.

    80. Twisty

      Oh spare me. For the gazillionth time, it’s patriarchy I blame, not individual women. Hence the name of the fucking blog, chump. Jesus.

    81. Edith

      Violet, seriously, fucking with Hitachi is making love to the patriachy? No. Fucking with a MAN is making love to the patriarchy, and don’t you forget it.

      Sorry to bring up vibrators again, Twisty. I agree that vibrators are not the be-all of feminism, and sex, in general, and how we have it, is probably the world’s most annoying (and, uh, masturbatory?) so-called “discourse” that feminists ever bother having. It’s just that annoying.

      But seriously, if more women would find happiness through masturbating, then more women just might not have stupid pointless relationships with others (read: men). I don’t fucking care how a woman gets off, but in the even that you’re a woman, and you like getting off, getting off with a sex toy is a hundred thousand times better than getting off with a male member attached to a male human. And it’s, dare I say it, more feminist, to me. So there.

    82. Luckynkl

      men will always rule the world because women are to worried about what some other woman’s doing to maintain the focus on the “man” and the system keeping the powerless, the poor, and the un represented down.

      Women *are* the powerless, the poor, and the unrepresented. The slave of the slave. Whatever has been done to any oppressed group you can bet your nerdiness and wardrobe was first tried out on women.

      The focus is right where it needs to be. On “the man.” Cure the root of the disease, and all the infected branches will fall off, one by one.

    83. Violet

      Edith:

      With whom and what you get off on is of no consequence to me. My opinion on the matter could be summed up as thus: “Whatever floats your boat”. Here are my previous comments in case you would like to refresh your selective memory:

      “…some would argue that a brand name phallic device assembled in a Chinese sweatshop is hardly a “sex positive” feminist toy, but merely a plug-in version of the patriarchy”…..

      This wilful misinterpretation of the above statement is yet another example of how pseudo-blamers trivialize political issues by taking every comment personally, and have grand mal seizures whenever confronted with nuance or irony.

    84. Edith

      Violet: please. Let me fall down at your feet, because I am oh-so-daft and can’t possibly understand such big-girl blamer talk, especially when you use “nuance” or “irony.”

      Anyway. Way to go with quoting yourself instead of responding to anything I said. Of course, when you’re such an elite blamer as you are, apparently, you probably get off more on responding to your own post than anyone elses. Oh, ouch, who’s the masturbatory one now? (And who triviliazed whose argument, again?)

      To wit: Violet, your point is well-taken, but I would think that such an elite blamer as yourself might have realized a few things. One, randomly calling out a product for having been made in “Chinese” sweatshops (I wonder about that in part because it’s a Japanese company, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they made their products in the vastly cheaper and easier-to-exploit Chinese labor market) without giving any evidence for this. Two, seeing as, I’m going to guess from your English-language usage and presence on this site, you come from the West, I doubt very much that you do not also own electronics made in this possibly sweatshop-produced way. (Own a grill? A microwave? A television? A stereo? A computer? Have you used any of these things recently before? I suspect that you have.) The fact that you are somehow suggesting that it’s “patriarchal” to use an Hitachi but it’s not similarly “patriarchal” to use a microwave makes me think that, well, you’re full of shit.

      In short, I think your high-minded anti-sweatshop rationalization for not supporting vibrators really is a front for something more about this: if pro-porn factions support it, if vibrators are sold alongside inflatable women and pornography videos and sports corsets, if “do-me” feminists pray to the vibrator gods and talk about vibrators as if they were the ultimate expression of feminism, then by god, vibrators must really suck.

      (For the record, I don’t think vibrators are the ultimate in feminism. I think feminism is feminism, and vibrators are vibrators. But if you’re so reluctant to give kudos to something just because of who supports it, then jesus, how do you stay anti-porn to begin with, what with all the Xian fundies and the like who support THAT? Different people come to similar conclusions stemming from totally different perspectives.)

    85. Mar Iguana

      Vibrating kudos. Now, that paints a funny picture.

    86. Goddesslove

      Word- I was leapblogging and came across yours- LOVE IT. I hope this isn’t an intrusion, but when I read some of the comments, one struck me. In ref to the term “bitch”. I have had this conversation with some of my Black friends on refering to themselves as “niggahs”, and here is my OPINION on this name thing. When we refer to ourselves in “labels”, we perpetuate the disrespect and exploitation of ourselves. Since it is nearly impossible to change the thinking of anyone who maifests hatred/abuse/prejudice/objectification, all we do is hand them the fucking bullets, and then load the gun for them. Why? Do we not see ourselves as higher/more enlightened than that??? I’m nothing like a female dog, maybe more like a female wolf(…a healthy woman is much like a wolf, robust, inventive, loyal, fierce..”Women Who Run with the Wolves” Clarissa Pincola Estes), but even at that, no. I am greatly dismayed that we, ourselves, choose to arm the pricks. It is like an “inside joke” when one says that “we have owned the name”, or “changed it” to suit ourselves. No one laughs because they don’t “get it”. I am a Human Being first, then I am a woman. That is about all the labeling I can swallow. But to allow old, tattered paragigms to define me- NEVER. I guess I am too much of a “BITCH” to allow that shit to define who I am.
      Thanks for the time, babe. I’ll be back to read more, believe it. XZXZXX

    87. Mar Iguana

      If you are not black, it is verboten to use the word “nigger.” But, anybody and everybody is free to use the word “bitch,” as noun and verb.

      I submit that all women everywhere on this planet are entitled to use the word “nigger”:

      “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World”
      By John Lennon

      Woman is the nigger of
      the world
      Yes she is…think about it
      Woman is the nigger of
      the world
      Think about it…do
      something about it

      We make her paint her
      face and dance
      If she won’t be slave ,we
      say that she don’t love us
      If she’s real, we say she’s
      trying to be a man
      While putting her down we
      pretend that she is above us
      Woman is the nigger of
      the world…yes she is
      If you don’t belive me take a
      look to the one you’re with
      Woman is the slaves of
      the slaves
      Ah yeah…better screem
      about it
      We make her bear and raise
      our children
      And then we leave her flat for
      being a fat old mother hen
      We tell her home is the only
      place she would be
      Then we complain that she’s
      too unworldly to be our friend
      Woman is the nigger of
      the world…yes she is
      If you don’t belive me take a
      look to the one you’re with
      Woman is the slaves of
      the slaves
      Yeah (think about it)

      We insult her everyday on TV
      And wonder why she has no
      guts or confidence
      When she’s young we kill her
      will to be free
      While telling her not to be so
      smart we put her down for being so dumb
      Woman is the nigger of
      the world…yes she is
      If you don’t belive me take a
      look to the one you’re with
      Woman is the slaves of
      the slaves
      Yes she is…if you belive me,
      you better screem about it.

      Repeat:
      We make her paint her
      face and dance
      We make her paint her
      face and dance We make her paint her
      face and dance

      I also submit that this song got him dead.

    88. Luckynkl

      Woman Is The Nigger Of The World was based on a statement Yoko made during a magazine interview in ’67 or ’68. Both Yoko and John wrote the song, but only John sang it. I guess they both knew that it wouldn’t count and no one would pay attention to it unless a man said it.

    89. Luckynkl

      P.S. What brought John and Yoko to the U.S. was not politics or activism but because Yoko’s daughter had been kidnapped by the father, an American, who brought her to the U.S. and hid her. John and Yoko spent years searching for her while the authorities did nothing but hinder the search.

    90. Mar Iguana

      Groan. That’s awful. For a mother to be separated from her daughter for years is a crime against nature.

      I don’t suppose you know what magazine that interview was in. I’d love to read that.

    91. Pony

      Very true Lucky. I take my exercise in an area that suddenly, draws lopsided cars with speakers where my car has a trunk, and also lots of families picnicing. We’re treated to tune after tune on how they gonna slam those Hos and Bitches and cries above the din to each other how they gonna Fuck Yo Ass. Yes. They are primarily black, and male. Yes. I said something. They told me not to be offended, cause they didn’t mean me.

    92. Pony

      I meant: Mar Iguana/Lucky/Mar Iguana/Lucky

    93. girlbomb

      Oh! I’d wondered where all the ex-Ms. Boards posters were hanging out.

    94. Mar Iguana

      Everybody knows I’m merely one of Lucky’s puppets.

    95. Luckynkl

      I wondered where all my toys went to! :P

      Nah, I think Pony just mixed our comments up and then stuttered. Or we sounded so good together, she had to say it twice! But I’m glad she cleared that up because I was pretty puzzled which comment of mine she was addressing. And then I realized it was one of yours! But I’ll take that as a compliment. As long as no one starts mistaking me for Mandos.

    96. Luckynkl

      Oh! I’d wondered where all the ex-Ms. Boards posters were hanging out.

      Oh, are Mar and I all the ex-Msers? LOL. I know I had a couple of puppets (for when I got eaten during crashes or banned), but I can assure you I wasn’t all 10,000 of them! I couldn’t think up 10,000 variations of the name “Lucky” if I tried!

      Yes, I do see a familiar name here every now and again. And yes, I do on occasion pop in here on my travels and sit a spell. But if you’re looking for Msers, this would not be the place I’d direct you to.

      So what are you up to these days?

    97. saltyC

      On the n-word.

      I lived in Louisiana for five years, and trust me, there are plenty of whites using the n-word, women included. For them, that is the only way to refer to a person of African descent, except fro white n-words. It is a murderous racism that would like to see all blacks wiped off the face of the Earth. These are people who listen to hip-hop. After Katrina, they blocked the bridge across the Mississippi, trapping blacks in New Orleans. One fellow evacuee at a campground said he wished he could go back because he always wanted to kill a n-word, and now he could get away with it. Another friend of my baby daddy is married to a woman who I would say is partly of African descent, and she uses the word a lot. Their first born son recently was given a life sentence for shooting at a car that was driving away, killing a young black man.

      So in the South it’s not exactly verboten, and when I see a black person using the term I cringe the way I would at seeing somebody stabbing himself.

      I think if more feminists were aware of race relations in the South, they would stop complaining about how sexism is not as visible as racism.

    98. Pony

      Yeh I did lose track of who said what, but I know who is who.

    99. Mandos

      Someone mentioned writing an article about Musharraf? Things Pakistani interest me. Does BUST appear on regular newsstands? I’m afraid I’m not terribly interested in a subscription for one article.

    100. Luckynkl

      I think if more feminists were aware of race relations in the South, they would stop complaining about how sexism is not as visible as racism.

      I guess this one went over my head, Salty. Are you saying that it’s better when oppression is invisiblized? I don’t know about that. I’m told it’s better to be hated than nothing-ed and ignored as if one doesn’t even exist.

      I mean, I look at the Holocaust and wondered what would’ve happened if the human rights violations that occurred with the Jews had been considered an aberration instead of a methodical, systematic operation. What would’ve happened if slavery had been invisibilized? Could the abolition of slavery and civil rights have ever taken place? I mean, the violations are going to take place whether it’s visibilized or not. But when the oppression is visibilized, it can be recognized as such and a plan of action taken. When it’s invisibilized, little to no action occurs. Because it simply doesn’t exist in the minds of a society or culture. And this is what did occur with Jews and people of color at first. Which is what enabled the violation of human rights to occur in the first place. No one, except those that were subjected to it, saw it as such!

      But yes, I’ve stepped into the twilight zone and have lived down South. Being I’m from NY, to say it was culture shock, would be an understatement. And yes, I had to wise up real fast as it was made very clear to me that I wasn’t in Kansas any more, Toto.

    101. Luckynkl

      P.S. And it’s not just down South. There’s a few Northern states that would just make your skin crawl.

    102. saltyC

      I meant that racism is as invisible as air to white racists, and that there are many of those in power so it’s wrong to say that one is invisible and the other isn’t.

      For example take a media example of a woman being subjected, and you say to a white racist “What if they were doing it to a black person instead”, it would have no meaning to them. The N-word and the B-word are equally hateful to me because of that.

    103. Mar Iguana

      Scratch a racist, find a sexist.

    104. reblf

      i like makeup and clothes and i’m a little bit materialistic but ya know what, i still generally think bust is sellout feminism. yes, glossy pages are nice and pretty but halfway through i can’t stand the vapid-ness and i’m screaming for a fix of bitch mag that will stimulate my brain cells.

    105. Anoush

      This:

      The Busties sported and supported a genuine rapist. One who bragged about his exploits. And just in case you grew tired of that, he had a website, depicting some of the vilest misogynist things you can imagine.

      Needless to say, he and I had a little “discussion.” Which basically meant I had him for breakfast and spit out the pits. He was gone by sundown. But the Busties kept him and continued to fawn all over him. This is just a taste of what Busties were sporting as “feminism.””

      is some kind of fantasy.

      Gee, thank goodness you are there to save the world. I’ve been on the Bust boards for ages, and have never, ever seen anything like this.
      Not even remotely.

      I cannot believe no one challenged this–maybe it was just too crazy to even talk about. I don’t know. But it is true that assuming everyone on the Bust boards is 100% behind everything Bust the magazine ever says or does is nonsense. There are people on the boards who love the magazine, who sort of like it, who used to like it but now hate it, who loathe it, who don’t care about it one way or another, and who have never, ever seen the magazine.

      It happens to be an online community with a basically feminist slant. And like any other set of political beliefs feminism is definined differently by different people–including on the Bust boards.

      I think the discussion of what message a magazine like Bust presents and the implications are important and I think the original entry was terrific, and clearly tapped into something a lot of people are feeling.

    106. Anoush

      Also, re: colors:

      Indigo has been available for some time as a blue dye. Good red dyes were historically more expensive and less colorfast. So that doesn’t hold up as an explanation as to why colors are associated with different genders.

      My partner had heard reference on the BBC some months ago to the supposed historical fact that until 100 years ago or so–at least in the UK–it was reversed–pink was boy and blue was for girls. Can’t remember the exact programme, so can’t look it up, but I thought I’d mention it as a possibility.

    107. me :-)

      [Comment deleted on grounds of incomprehensibility, anti-Captitalitism, emoticons, and insufficient comprehension of rudimentary feminist thought]

    108. me :-)

      [Comment is mocked; in violation of the One-Exclamation-Point-Per-Sentence Rule. Comment also exhibits failure to grasp that anti-Capitalitism is not anti-capitalism, and exhibits the asinine perspective that this blog gives a crap about anybody's "freedom of expression."]

      geee so much for free thought, so do feminist think freedom of expression should be tuned down or is it that only a few select women think themselves to be above others when it comes to thinking right????.Yikes anti-capitalism???? do feminists belive in capitalism??????
      this page is a load of laughter, have bookmarked it, thanks guys, soz gals!!!!!!!!

    1. A Few Remarks On A Few Remarks at I Blame The Patriarchy

      [...] Well, dip me in honey and bake me in a cake. Salon’s Page Rockwell and Ilyka Damen’s Ilyka Damen, swell writers both, have not only read my fluff piece on BUST magazine, they’ve demonstrated their discriminating tastes by honoring it with some critical analysis in their electronically published forums. What they write more or less boils down to — and I despair of putting words in innocent young bloggers’ text fields, but really, if you can’t executively summarize a fellow bullshitter, who can you executively summarize? — “Twisty sort of has a point, but damn, her finger-waggin-crazy-talk is gonna ignite another bloody feminist blogospherical feud.” [...]

    2. Feministe » Confessions of a Fun Feminist

      [...] But I still think that Twisty is right. [...]

    3. Feminists just want to have fun

      [...] week, the sardonic, voluble blogger Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy laid into Bust magazine for being insufficiently feminist. Being both Bust and Twisty readers, we [...]

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