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Nov 26 2006

Sermon

dorsay-pump.jpg

I gotta clear a couple things up. I’m afraid that what follows is something in the nature of a pontification. Just so you know what you’re getting into, here’s a synopsis:

I. I reveal the true nature of the ‘bad feminist.’

II. Somewhat taken aback by the shoe-centric responses to yesterday’s post on femininity-as-humanitarian-crisis, I pronounce on high heels even as I beg for a moratorium on shoeblogging.

III. I conclude with a conclusion.

You have been warned.

I. “Does XYZ (where XYZ is “wearing lipstick” or “my job as lap-dancer-in-chief at the Bada Bing” or “eating bacon” or “pleasing my man with some humiliating sex move”) make me a bad feminist?”

Women, it seems, are anxious that feminism should be synonymous with “status quo”; lately this question has been observed springing from computer monitors across the galaxy like hookers from stag party cakes.

The answer to the question is “no”. Doing XYZ (i.e. femininity) does not make you a bad feminist. A bad feminist is someone who pulls wings off flies, promises to take the kid to Disneyland but gets drunk instead, gives LSD to the dog, bombs abortion clinics, steals from grandma to buy dope, forces men at gunpoint to put women’s underwear on their heads, etc.

Doing XYZ merely makes you a hypocrite.

Unless you were some kinda misogynist wingnut to begin with, in which case it just makes you an asshole race-traitor.

II. High heels

I am reluctant to devote much more of my rapidly waning intellect to so fluffy a topic as women’s sexbot footwear, but, dang it, I can’t take it any more.

Look, claiming to love your high heels because they appeal to you in some comprehensively objective, lofty aesthetic sense, separated by a million brilliant intellectual miles from the culture of femininity that spawned’em, is a cop out. Even if it’s the fine workmanship you admire, you must admit that the expertise — however refined or inspired — required to cobble leather into an object designed specifically to beautify oppression is merely a skill, and is altogether a separate proposition from the object itself. You may “love” your shoes — you may even defend them as art — but you do this because to your expert eye they so precisely articulate the intricate and famously elusive ideals of femininity, not because they in any way ennoble the human spirit. Your exquisite pumps may represent some pinnacle of design, but the standards by which their exquisiteness are judged can only exist within the context of patriarchy. No, no! Don’t try to deny it. You know I’m right.

Jesus, what is it about shoes? Nah, don’t answer that.

III. Conclusions

A. Women whose continued existence depends on capitulation to the feminine directive will get no argument from me. I often use “survival skill” as a synonym for femininity. The structure of patriarchy, which places anyone with a vagina in a continuum of femininity whether they like it or not, is such that the daily opportunities for self-deception and self-betrayal are mucho, relentless, and — with a frequency that depends on class, skin color, and proximity to domineering male godbags, drunks, and pervs — often unavoidable.

B. Connoisseurship of divine little black silk d’Orsay pumps is not inborn. Culture creates taste.

287 comments

9 pings

  1. buttonwillow

    Bless your cold, bitter heart. You have got it exactly right.

  2. TP

    Hypocrites who fall short of their lofty ideals are preferable to hypocrites in denial. That’s my excuse, anyway.

    I’m at peace with it all in some overwhelmed and overtired way. But my 3 year old Tess is getting into princesses. I don’t like it; my wife says that she’s not being imprinted with patriarchal archetypes of feminine obedience because she’s too young, but I just don’t like it. Velvet plastic sequin chains in pink and lavender.

  3. Ann Bartow

    I’m thinking high heels are less of a problem than Supposedly Liberal Dude pronouncements like this: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_digbysblog_archive.html#116389524810541064
    But possibly I’m just giving MoDo a run for the title of “Queen Bitch.”

  4. Ann Bartow

    Odd, the post glorifying use of terms like “the Heathers” and “Queen Bee” that endorses books about girl bullies that James “Focus on the Family” Dobson also likes (it’s all feminism’s fault!) by Digby seems to have disappeared. Amanda linked to it here: http://pandagon.net/2006/11/25/who-the-hell-wants-to-relive-high-school-anyway/
    Maybe it’s an Internet glitch on my end? Sorry for the intrusion, if that is the case. Not sure who to blame… Here is the post Digby linked to at Orcinus with rousing approval: Nope, that seems to be gone too… Possibly I am losing my mind.

  5. Pony

    “Women whose continued existence depends on capitulation to the feminine directive will get no argument from me.”

    Well that’s virtually all women, surely all heterosexual women.

  6. scratchy888

    shoeses, shoeses, shoeses the bush kangaroo.

  7. scratchy888

    Actually those torture instruments are minor, minor, really. There are traditionally male torture instruments with which I hobble myself. This includes, at the very least, having to keep one’s gloves up when sparring. Compared to wearing torturous shoes all day, keeping you guard up for eight rounds is about three times as painful. Also, there is the issue of navigating the delicate feminine tapestry of social control, which is so unbelievably painful — like pouring burning acid into one’s eyes — that my brain screams, my heart loses its will to pump and the world recedes from me. I will never make another attempt in my life to get along in a workplace which is regulated by delicate feminine mores. I can never see their workings until it becomes painfully obvious that I have violated some petty feature of their protocol and that I will be punished.

  8. Buttercup

    scratchy, I can dig it. having worked in retail for what seemed like aeons, the game is confusing with ever-changing rules. my daughter, who now works in a hair salon (talk about your trappings!)reports that it’s an uber-system of retail, where the workings are exaggerated x10 and the consequences of violating them x20.

  9. mali

    Thank you for this. Today and yesterday.

    I have been reading for a long time but didn’t feel like I had a whole lot I wanted to say after Twisty’s posts were written. Mostly, “Yes. Damn it. Yes.”

    But today and yesterday are really great for me.

    “B. Connoisseurship of divine little black silk d’Orsay pumps is not inborn. Culture creates taste.”

    YES. How is it that this is so difficult for people to understand?

    Look, I’m not comfortable with living in the patriarchy, any more than anyone else is. What we do all day is all about survival skills in a system that’s screwing everyone. No one is perfect. No one is a perfect feminist. Whatever that is.

    I’m a heel-wearing, makeup-applying, long-haired mostly straight woman. I like skirts. I don’t shave my legs. I paint my nails sometimes. I lift weights and spend my time working on my car stereo, or reading Vogue or watching Sex & the City reruns. Regardless of how any of these things fit into a patriarchal mandate, I am clean with myself about the fact that they do. I think my preferences have a lot to do with my personal taste. But taste isn’t made in a vacuum. Human beings aren’t made in a vacuum. My taste is inextricably linked with the culture(s) I’ve spent time in. The kind of person I am is the direct result of forces outside of me, not my own “free choice” of some kind.

    Despite loving shoes and fashion, I am not threatened by Twisty pointing out that neither of these things can be extracted from our patriarchal culture and loved “objectively” for “their intrinsic value.” I can’t think of a single thing that has “intrinsic value” outside of what our culture labels as valuable. What really blows me away is the number of people I’ve seen talking about what Twisty has to say as if it is a personal threat or attack on their heel-wearing “freedom.” Twisty says things that need to be said, loudly and repeatedly, and I for one vote for Twisty-style blaming over others’. (not least for lack of ellipses and a fabulous vocabulary)

    I’ve wanted to bring this up before but couldn’t put my finger exactly on it, until the last sentence of today’s post.

    So, again, thanks. I needed to yell at my computer screen “YES GOD DAMN IT” for a while now and this helped a lot.

  10. CafeSiren

    Scratchy:

    Please see the FAQ, under the section “But men experience X, too.”

    (and my apologies for being tone-deaf if your post was satirical)

  11. rootlesscosmo

    “Fashion is a craft, not an industrial, conception, exemplifying to perfection the labor theory of value. The toil of many hands is the *sine qua non* of fashion. The hand of the weaver, the cutter, the fitter, the needleworker must be seen in the finished product in a hundred little details, and fashion knowledge, professionally, consists in the recognition and appreciation of the work that has gone into a costume. In gores and gussets and seams, in the polish of leather and its softness, the signature of painstaking labor must be legible to the discerning, or the woman is not fashionably dressed. The hand-knit sweater is superior to the machine-knit, not because it is more perfect, but on the contrary because its slight imperfections reveal it to be hand-knit. The Oriental pearl is preferred to the fine cultured pearl because the marine labor of a dark diver secured it, a prize wrested from the depths, and the woman who wears Oriental pearls believes that they show variations in temperature or that they change color with her skin or get sick when they are put away in the safe—in short, that they are alive, whereas cultured pearls, mass-stimulated in mass beds of oysters, are not. This sense of the accrued labor of others as a complement to one’s personality, as tribute in a double sense, is intrinsic to the fashionable imagination, which desires to feel that labor next to its skin, in the hidden stitching of its underwear—hence the passion for handmade lingerie even among women whose outer clothing comes off the budget rack.”

    —Mary McCarthy, “Up the Ladder from Charm to Vogue” (1950); all emphases in original

  12. scratchy888

    Cafe: I’m female, not male.

  13. hedonistic

    Nice shoes.

  14. Pony

    The patriarchal dictates you’re all talking about really aren’t seen here: heels and what goes with them is cultural, and urban. Here, you can go months (years? I can’t think when) and never see a woman wearing high heeled shoes or a skirt or pantyhose. Even in a lawyer’s office downtown. Weather dictates you bundle up or die. Today for example it’s minus 33C with horizonatal snow. Still we don’t escape *it*. Everyone dresses like this, which was the subject of another of Twisty’s posts on partriarchal dictates for women:

    http://www.mec.ca/Main/home.jsp?&google=mountain equipment co-op

  15. Delphyne

    “Jesus, what is it about shoes? Nah, don’t answer that.”

    I know you don’t want an answer but loving high heels is Stockholm Syndrome of the feet. There’s a piccie here of what’s going on inside the foot whilst we’re admiring their fabulous design -

    http://www.sciencephotogallery.co.uk/gallery/detail.php?code=P116/472

    You have to wonder who’d actually want to buy a print of that though.

  16. Pony

    Rootlesscosmo: Yes but, many women do this as their art in all cultures. I think in the 60 abd 70s one of the things we learned was to honour what women do. Art is not only what is in a frame. Maybe it only becomes wrong when it becomes capitalism. All that decoration and effort described, the embroidery, the pleating, the trapunto and ruching, the clever way a garment is cut and the moose hair decoration, even the pearl diving, is many a woman’s pride. I was the (reluctant) beneficiary of the beautiful garments my mother made, hours and hours spent bent over her sewing machine, copying pages ripped from fashion magazines, patterns made from newspaper and brown paper, long into the middle of the night on her treadle machine. I know now this made her life bearable from the drudge job she held during the day to feed six of us. Everything was exquisite, perfect, admired, gasped over, oohed and ahhed over. You could not have stopped her.

  17. rootlesscosmo

    Pony: I think McCarthy’s point–in an article about the social-class gradient in women’s magazines of the 50′s, from the perky earnestness of Charm and Glamour up to the languid snob-appeal of Vogue–was to stress how conspicuous consumption was a key to the appearance of luxury. (Her argument really has more to do with Veblen than with the Marxist labor theory of value, which derives value from “socially necessary” labor-time, while the prestige McCarthy’s talking about depends on the display of socially unnecessary, un-mechanized, inefficient production.) Home labor of the kind you describe–very movingly,I might add–seems to me to belong to a different (though not completely unrelated) realm, closer, as you say, to art than to commerce, though in one sense a defiance of commerce: “I wouldn’t wear that store-bought trash, I make my own clothing thank you very much.” It’s like the way I cook, from scratch–not “innocently” but as a conscious rejection of prepared, additive-heavy food products. The thing about the capitalist market is that even if you find ways to evade its reach, it’s still lurking out there, mumbling threats–like patriarchy, actually.

  18. Pony

    Sigh. Yes. RCmo. How I hate capitalism. I might add, I may have been the only child/young woman in the world whose report cards consistently said variations on “always beautifully dressed”.

    Hed I bet you’ve got a pair like that. I had my generations equivalent; a spike heel, and no back or sides, nothing but a bit of twisted leather over the toe. Called “spring-o-later” or something like that.

  19. gennimcmahon

    I was still pondering the phenomenon of commentary rushing to justify choices in footwear and now, Twisty, you’ve justly summed it up. It’s beautiful because we are taught to believe that. It’s because the image of woman we are bombarded with is not heavy in the hips, wearing flat shoes and natural breasts. It’s the idea that somehow we have been convinced that a woman contorted and in pain is desirable and a product worth consuming, and we are loathe to let go of it. As a relative newcomer, I have found the time spent here to be challenging. I no longer put on certain shoes or items of clothing without the nagging awareness of what I’m really engaging in (I think, “If I ran into Twisty today, would I be ashamed?”). Am I a hypocrite? Sometimes. But my mind is bigger now, and my back hurts a lot less than it did before I was enlightened and kicked off the 3″, spiked shackles. Most days.

  20. Lene

    “The structure of patriarchy, which places anyone with a vagina in a continuum of femininity whether they like it or not”. Unless you’re a woman with a disability, in which case you’re non-feminine, non-sexual, non-female. Which at times is a very good thing (frees you up to do other things) and at other times not. It can be an interesting place to be – being a feminist, while fighting to be seen as a woman.

  21. Pony

    I wasn’t going to post this here, but on reflection I think it is important to the topic beginning with how we survive. Wikipedia of course, says she worked at her husband’s company. He was a journalist. She *named* the company after him. But she was the company, and she was the designer

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-2381376.html

    http://www.passionsforfootwear.com/springo2/html/e5_1_s.htm

    http://www.passionsforfootwear.com/springo2/html/eb_1_b4.htm

  22. Hattie

    Well, everything is made in China now, so fine workmanship is kind of beside the point.
    I’m just glad I don’t have bunions.

  23. ::Wendy::

    Are there any guidelines for

    a) revealing where and when my biggest hypocracy offences may reveal themselves (without reference to footwear).

    b) specific information to consider when aspiring to tackle the hitherto unrecognised misconceptions.

    I’m lazy, checklist’s work fine for me, or rhyming mnemonics are quite fun too.

  24. Buttercup

    gennimcmahon, I am hugging you in my heart. Bless you, kiddo, you’re getting it. Thank you for thinking.

  25. jess

    And who among us is without any hypocrisy? Twisty, no argument from me about heels — I’m totally in comfortably-shod agreement. But, I prefer to think of “inconsistent” rather than “a hypocrite.” I know you are trying to stretch our thinking, but …. I guess I’m just writing on behalf of the readers I imagine are upset at being called hypocrites. None of us is completely consistent about everything all the time, and that is perfectly okay. Reflection good, but apology not necessary.
    JMO.

  26. Atzbanite

    On the debate of craft verses industrial patriarchy planning; I have worked ‘behind the scenes’ in fashion design and consumerism planning. What people worship as the new thing in fashion is actually 3 to 5 years in the making of careful planning and research. It is absolutely dictated by the patriarchy from color to fabric to the workmanship. The cycle is such:

    3-5 years, color prediction and planning, fashion demands and needs, psychologies of consumerism. The patriarchy really does his thing here.
    At 3 years, color work is finalized and fabrics or parts are contracted to makers, weavers etc. This will take about a year to completion when the designers get ahold of it and make things. They were either in on the planning or use what is ‘there’ with maximum competition.
    2 years – projects hit the runways. This is your vogue mags etc. What people call ‘New Season’ and current fashion, however;
    1 year – These designs hit the mainstream stores about a year later in modified form and finally;
    Your TJ maxes get the ‘new’ fashions.

    This is clearly different from the Textile artist who is not in touch with the Knomes of Zurich of fashion and attempts to produce outside of the patriarchy norms. I agree that workmanship skill and art are extraordinarily valuable in our ‘usually produced under oppression’ table of plenty but we have to dig really deep to escape the shackles of “IMAN AssHo Legislating Your Existence”.

  27. yankee transplant

    Preach it, Twisty!

  28. Buttercup

    atzbanite, put me down as one of those gosh-darn textile artists who is not in touch with the knomes of zurich. i make comfy stuff. and only wear same.

  29. educe

    “Doing XYZ merely makes you a hypocrite.”

    Yes!

    Hypocrisy is the hardest thing for folks to acknowledge.

    Dorky: The best part for me is the structure of the post since I’m near the end of writing my thesis. I hate the objective, stuffy nature of academic writing. This is a welcomed reprieve.

  30. jess

    PS: Or as my own beloved spinster aunt puts it: “A good sermon should be like a good bra: uplifting, but not too pointed.”

  31. KTal

    Scratchy: “Also, there is the issue of navigating the delicate feminine tapestry of social control, which is so unbelievably painful — like pouring burning acid into one’s eyes — that my brain screams, my heart loses its will to pump and the world recedes from me. I will never make another attempt in my life to get along in a workplace which is regulated by delicate feminine mores. I can never see their workings until it becomes painfully obvious that I have violated some petty feature of their protocol and that I will be punished.

    I often felt the sting that comes when judged and admonished for my refusal to comply with esablished codes of ‘proper’ femininity. Said sting smarts when delivered from a fellow sufferer under patriarchy.

    As if while in jail together, you find an escape hole and your cellmates rat you out in exchange for cigarettes from the warden. Accept, with the patriarchy, said activity is so deeply engrained that reward need not be given; satisfaction of putting a woman ‘in her place’ seems to serve as suffucient reward.

    Hence also I believe, the hypert sensiivity to the shoe critiques as woman have learned to defend themselves from attack so often, that attack of footwear can easily be construed as attack of worthiness as a whole.

    Or could that also point up the transgression in the patriarchy, of a women’s identity from being “I am what I do”, or possibly ‘ergo cugit sum” to “I am what I wear”?

  32. KTal

    Please excuse the typos, typing is a chore today as I sliced top of fingernail and some of finger today whilst working.

  33. millie

    As a fairly regularlurker, who DOES for the most part enjoy this blog, I might add, I thought I would throw my “2 cents” in regarding the clarifications you feel the need to post on your views;

    I don’t think that (most) women think that you “want to outlaw xyz”, however, I do think that women, especially those who are heterosexual such as myself wonder if we are, in your opinion, even contributing anything with our feminism *because* we are heterosexual. I agree that society is patriarchal and I agree that women, myself included, do things in order to “get by” in a society that demands we live up to our gender role. However, I also think that you have a wealth of knowledge to share with women, would-be feminists,young and old, and it gets skewed by the heavy sarcasm and ad hominem attacks, especially when you do not write about your own sex life,making yourself unable to be critiqued about it, yet you have no qualms about berating other womens (perceived) sexual proclivities. That is your choice, obviously, but it is a quality that some people I’m assuming find disingenous. Do I think that these women who feel the need to write copiously about how they love giving oral sex to men are in need of a reality check about *why* they feel the need to brag about this? sure. But I also think that as a lesbian (at least to my knowledge, as I believe you mentioned a female partner, if not, I stand corrected) who would obviously has no desire to partner with men, should realize that people who are not gay are going to feel differently about sexual activities (NOT just talking about the oral sex that you go on and on about). I’m not saying you have no right to give a feminist critique of het. sexuality, and I know a couple het. radical feminists who share the same beliefs, BUT as a het. woman *I* find the thought of lesbian sex disgusting FOR MYSELF (not speaking for anyone else at all) that doesn’t mean that no one else should participate in it, or that it is inherently wrong. Nor would i post with conviction how it is “humiliating”. If i did, I would expect to be, and rightly so, attacked for my heterosexism.

    So, i guess after writing this novel, my question to you is, what is your opinion on heterosexual feminists (ones who choose to be in relationships)? Becuase relationships are give and take, and I doubt “my way or the highway” is going to go over too well with anyone, regardless of their gender. The tone of your blog seems to condemn women who partner with men, and disregard their relationships with women. As someone who grew up with sisters and has a great daughter, i find it hard to belive the fact that my marriage to (one) man must in some people’s eyes mean that my whole life revolves around “pleasing” him, nor do I find this to be a reality in any of my friend’s or coworkers lives.

    Anyway,I hope that I’ll get an answer and I posted out of genuine curiously and willingness to understand other points of view.

  34. Joanna

    Twisty–so refined! yes, indeed.

    Pony–yes, it’s going to snow soon here, and we will all don our sturdy boots for the next 5-6 months, but once we get to the office, some will exchange them for less practical footwear either so as not to have sweaty feet or to comply with company dictates of femininity.

    Atzbanite-do you read The Sartorialist’s blog? I like the photos because some of them are about how well people wear the look, and some are about how well people make the look their own.

    Millie–I won’t speak for Twisty, but I imagine that even someone who is willing to post her post-op photos and pictures of bathrooms she has visited might want to reserve a zone of privacy about her life. The fact that a person has opinions about something does not mean she needs to divulge privae details about her life (or that you do) in order to express those opinions. For example, if it upsets you that Twisty t

  35. kathy a

    hate those shoes. great post, twisty.

    millie — there are all kinds of women here, in all kinds of domestic settings. i don’t think anyone needs to share details of their sex lives with the universe, in order to share observations about how women generally and individually face obstacles that men don’t.

  36. Joanna

    (oops, finger slipped) says a certain sex act is disgusting, why do you then go ahead and do it yourself? I don’t get that.

    Does Twisty (or anyone) have to be right about EVERYTHING to be right about some things?

  37. Pony

    I hear you Lene.

  38. Pony

    What is lesbian sex Millie? I don’t believe I know of anything lesbians do that I’ve not done with a man, or by myself.

  39. Pony

    Uh huh. I know footwear indoors changes, and you leave your winter boots at the door. But in the offices I’ve been no-one wears anything but stylish all leather Doc Martens or similar and shit-kickers.

  40. Becker

    Joanna Russ put it: “Feminism is not what you are. It’s what you do.”

  41. emjaybee

    “Jesus, what is it about shoes? Nah, don’t answer that.”

    I wish I knew. And amen to everything else you said.

  42. millie

    “i don’t think anyone needs to share details of their sex lives with the universe, in order to share observations about how women generally and individually face obstacles that men don’t.”

    And I agree with this 100%. However, twisty doesn’t just make “observations” of obstacles women face, she makes broad, sweeping statements about women’s sex lives. She made snide comments along the lines of women getting angry at her for disapproving of ‘their favorite pastime of c*cksucking’ (or something to that nature). To ME, that is anti-woman, and she really has no reason to assume that if someone engages in oral sex that it must be their “pasttime”. Again, to me, that seems to be no different than calling a woman a “slut” if she is known to have had sex, even if it is just with one person.

    “or example, if it upsets you that Twisty t (oops, finger slipped) says a certain sex act is disgusting, why do you then go ahead and do it yourself? I don’t get that. ”

    It doesn’t “upset” me,I am simply pointing out that obviously if someone is not of the orientation they are critiquing, there are bound to be biases. Obviously a lesbian isn’t going to find heterosex appealing, and vice versa. Again, I have NO problem with anyone critiquing heterosexuality through the lens of feminism; I just feel that twisty’s tone is often demeaning to those who DO choose to partner with men.

  43. antelope

    A straight male friend who lives in SF was once telling some story about looking for such-and-such bar, and going into some other bar because he couldn’t find it, and feeling amazed by how many women there were in this other bar. Then, he said, he noticed that they were “all wearing comfortable shoes.”

    This was supposed to clue me in that it was a lesbian bar. He felt if it was a mostly-straight bar, you could be certain there’d be some uncomfortable shoes about.

    That detail of that story was the end of wearing even slightly uncomfortable shoes for me. You couldn’t get a much clearer statement that hetero female = pain, and I just can’t play into that any more.

  44. Pony

    Millie cocksucking is not an orientation.

  45. millie

    Pony: not to be rude, but if you’re just going to make petty comments in response to my posts, please don’t waste your time, because it is not my intention to get into arguments on the internet. If you genuinely misunderstood, then let me clarify: I would assume a lesbian would not find heterosexual sex acts appealing, just as a heterosexual woman would not find lesbian sex acts appealing, thus, I do not think it is justified for people in either of these situations to pontificate how “gross” the other’s preferred sex acts are. Period. Agree or disagree all you want. I don’t feel that someone’s personal opinion about whether or not something is “icky” has anything to do with feminism.

  46. Pony

    Let me put this as plainly as I can: there are no sex acts that are exclusively lesbian and no sex acts that are exclusively heterosexual, as far as I know. And yes, you did come here to argue. Fire away. Don’t let the echo get to you.

  47. The Scarlet Pervygirl

    I don’t know that I can agree that shoes or indeed anything about female appearance is “minor, minor really.” antelope’s story about how some people think a woman’s sexual orientation can be determined by shoe style would seem to indicate that may not be the case. More generally, women are, as Twisty calls it, “the sex class”–to misogynists, we are nothing BUT appearance. Presenting an appearance not in keeping with heteronormative, patriarchal definitions of what is attractive is not just a woman expressing her identity, but is a woman asserting she even HAS an identity. Even minor variations can have a huge impact and repercussions, which is why it’s often such a battle of self-examination and discomfort for many women when we make a change to our appearance.

    And even in this, patriarchy wins: we’re spending our time thinking about how our shoes oppress us (and other women) when we could be raising a stink about the inveterate underrepresentation of women in the Nobel prizes.

    Jess–I’m okay with “hypocrite.” It DOES upset me to be called one, and I think that’s the point. Well, that and the fact that it’s true.

  48. al

    “Obviously a lesbian isn’t going to find heterosex appealing”

    That depends on what you mean by “lesbian.” :-)

    If you mean “lesbian” as in, “Woman who sleeps exclusively with women because she finds the thought of p/v intercourse repellent”, then yeah, I’d say you’re right.

    However, if you mean, “Women who could easily sleep with men BUT CHOOSE NOT TO because they’d rather devote their time and energy to other women”, or, “Women who desire and sleep with men but call themselves lesbians as a political statement”, then I’d say desire has very little to do with it.

    The first relies on the old idea that sexuality is “natural”, and is most likely to be used by non-political lesbians and lesbians who identify as “gay women”; women who believe they were born gay.

    The second (where Twisty’s comin’ from) is based on the idea that desire and revulsion are social constructs designed to make heterosexuality seem natural; so the “need” to sleep with a man is actually the result of living in a culture that grooms us for straightness, rather than an inherent, biologically-based drive. This position is taken up lesbian separatists and radical lesbian feminists, although some straight and bi women take it up as a show of solidarity (postmodernists and ‘genderfuckers’ support the ‘sexuality is constructed’ view as well, although they reach very different conclusions.)

    Feminist author Joanna Russ was a self-proclaimed Lesbian, yet she slept with men. This didn’t mean her lesbianism was meaningless; just that it was about prioritising women over men, instead of some inborn orientation.

    Heh..I apologise for rambling on. But I do enjoy it on occasion.

  49. kelleybell

    This week on Oprah:

    “My guests, Twisty Faster and Eddie Izard will debate lipstick and high heels!”

  50. teffie-phd

    Becker Said: Joanna Russ put it: “Feminism is not what you are. It’s what you do.”

    I completely agree. I’m teaching my Women and Health students about “ideal femininity” and how beauty is conflated with healthiness. When I do, I always find myself interrogating my own practices. I dye my hair, wear makeup, worry about my weight and do plenty of other things which are defined by patriarchy as “womanly”. I also recognize that my practices give me things. I have more respect from colleagues and students, people tell me I look nice (or don’t tell me I look “so tired”). And, I don’t have to work at being an iconoclast which if you’re in the dominant culture does take time and energy (for me at least).

    So I tell myself that I know how I’m doing the work of the patriarchy and how I resist it. The problem is that I find the divide between what I think and what I do is tilting too much in the wrong direction. Maybe I need to go read some of the work of early 2nd wave femininsts–they didn’t mess around when they looked at women’s worlds.

    Which is why I like reading your blog Twisty. You keep pushing me in my own thinking.

  51. Katerhiner

    Hooray for Millie. I fucking HATE the idea that to give a blowjob is an un- or anti-feminist act. Yes, blowjobs would necessarily, inherently not exist if it weren’t for the patriarchy: patriarchy = men, men = penises, licking and sucking on a penis = blowjob. But it’s understood all over the dang world that having your parts, whatever your parts are, licked and sucked feels great. So giving your male partner a blowjob has absolutely nothing to do with feminism or the patriarchy. Quit dragging blowjobs into the discussion, please.

    I also have a real hard time with people who identify as lesbians solely for political reasons, rather than for personal reasons of attraction and love and sexuality. I understand the impulse–it’s like white people identifying as black to show their solidarity with the oppressed. I get it. But equality is about diversity, honesty, truth, and everything else. Declaring ourselves as we are, and being accepted as we are. Not identifying ourselves as something we’re not. Why does sexuality have to be political at all? Yeah, yeah, I know, it necessarily is in our current homophobic misogynistic patriarchal society. I get that. But in my Utopian world, sexuality isn’t political; it just is. No one has to identify as anything other than what they are. And they’re all allowed to lick their partners’ genitals, or not, as they please.

  52. B. Dagger Lee

    Pedantic off-thread comment:

    Wendy (and Millie and others?): Checklist: Adrienne Rich’s essay, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” in book of collected essays called “Blood, Bread and Poetry,” I think, or something like.

    Also on the checklist: “On Lies, Secrets and Silence,” the whole collection, although specifically the essay on lies and honor among women.

    And since Joanna Russ’s name keeps appearing, her book “How to Suppress Women’s Writing.” Also, did I miss something? Why do people keep talking about her in the past tense?

    Shoutouts to Pony and kelleybell!

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  53. slashy

    Dear Twisty,
    one of the reasons I love you most is that you keep us on our toes, but not in that awkward and blister-inducing high-heeled way.
    Slashy

  54. CGG

    I was just about to write a blog post asking whether getting married made me a bad feminist. But as always, Twisty is ten steps ahead of me. Wow.

  55. Twisty

    Jess: “And who among us is without any hypocrisy? Twisty, no argument from me about heels — I’m totally in comfortably-shod agreement. But, I prefer to think of “inconsistent” rather than “a hypocrite.” I know you are trying to stretch our thinking, but …. I guess I’m just writing on behalf of the readers I imagine are upset at being called hypocrites.”

    Well, Jess, the readers are always upset at me about something. But it’s less insulting to call it hypocrisy, since “inconsistency” implies a sort of feckless, disordered mind, whereas we hypocrites at least know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, which, unless we’re just sociopaths, in many cases leads to us doing less of it. Well, that’s the goal, anyway.

    Millie: “the tone of your blog seems to condemn women who partner with men and disregard their relationships with women.”

    I recognize that it is difficult for some readers not to take it personally when I critique social conventions to which they may themselves adhere, but I had hoped that by now it would be understood, and require no daily explanation, that I do not condemn women for anything. I refer you to the title of the blog for clarification of this point.

    It is understandable, too, that “a straight woman [who finds] the thought of lesbian sex disgusting” might misinterpret my suggestion that straight women re-examine their motivation for performing certain behaviors. I’m not saying that women should dump men because blow jobs are disgusting or that straight relationships are lame because I’m a big ol’ dyke and I think everyone should be like me. I’m saying that women of all orientations will benefit from pursuit of liberation from patriarchal oppression, but that in so doing, they must be willing to face the idea that male domination, often imperceptibly, creates their tastes and manipulates their behavior. I’ve noticed over the years that this last idea is particularly rough going for straight women in committed relationships with men, but lots of lesbians run aground here, too, since many lesbo relationships are based on the heteronomative model. Mostly because there isn’t any other model.

    In a post-patriarchal society — that is, a society in which no sex class exists to service the default human class — a blow job, if it were to occur at all, would be of no feminist consequence, because it would involve two beings of commensurate social status.

  56. hedonistic

    For the record, I have feckless disordered mind. Just sayin.

  57. thebewilderness

    Me too.

  58. Pony

    I’m bi: feckless disorderd AND hypocritical.

    Hey BDagger Lee!

    And Al, thank you, you take me to places I’ve never been. I read you and a couple others of your generation and I’m just knocked back. What hope for the future.

  59. saltyC

    “No one has to identify as anything other than what they are”

    And no one has to accept that what they are is a given either. But everyone should examine what they happen to be and change if it’s not working.

  60. Hawise

    I will admit to being inconsistent about things which I have not yet studied, I am sometimes hypocritical in subjects which I have studied. I too will admit to a feckless and disordered mind, especially before coffee.
    I gave up high heels after the first round of shin splints. I admire them as an artform in a sculptural way but I have no love affair with pain.
    Joanna Russ is not dead, thank the Lord.

  61. Pony

    SaltyC I think you should head north. I pick Nelson BC for you.

    http://www.nelsonbc.ca/

  62. Vibrating Liz

    Joanna Russ isn’t dead, but I believe she’s not well, and not writing much lately.

  63. millie

    First of all, thanks, Twisty, for your response.

    “It is understandable, too, that “a straight woman [who finds] the thought of lesbian sex disgusting” might misinterpret my suggestion that straight women re-examine their motivation for performing certain behaviors.”

    I used your writings on oral sex as an example of the overall tone of this blog–not as a specific. Not everyone who disagrees with you, not everyone who is heterosexual comes to this blog as some kind of “blowjob proponent” which seems to be what your above paragraph insinuates. So, again, to quote myself, “what is your opinion on heterosexual feminists (ones who choose to be in relationships)? ” and you say, “I’m saying that women of all orientations will benefit from pursuit of liberation from patriarchal oppression”. Great. I would like to hear more about this.

    And while, maybe you do not “condemn” women, perhaps poor choice of words, you do engage in attempting to shout them down if they disagree with you, you make posts mocking them.if you had a true interest in educating more women about feminism, I don’t think you would engage in these tactics. If a woman does not agree that it would be “ideal” to be only in a same-sex romantic relationship or none at all, she is characterized as being a defensive straight person who just doesn’t “get it”. And yeah, maybe I don’t “get it”. But maybe you don’t “get it”, either. Before having my child, and being faced with the responsibility of raising a girl who will one day grow up to be a woman in this society, I really had no interest in feminism..i find myself opening my eyes to the things that do happen to women becuase they are women, and I want to prepare/protect my daughter from that to the best of my ability.

  64. anne

    I know this isn’t the forum for this – apologies to Twisty – but Liz, it’s good to see you. I was just thinking of you this morning as I lifted weights at the gym. I hope you are well; your words are much missed.

    Twisty – per usual, thank you for your outright honesty, clarity, and gorgeous use of language.

  65. octogalore

    Twisty — the shoe motif and related discussion, and your last post, seem much more balanced than the earlier discussion about blowjobs. I agree that most heels are ridiculously painful and only wear them on very limited occasions. I think there’s another way to look at making this choice besides hypocrisy, though. One test can be — is the amount of compromise in the name of fashion that I am making more than what men make, and therefore reflective of patriarchy, or is it fairly equivalent to the steps men take, such as face-shaving, back-waxing, tie-wearing, etc. Of course, any acceptance of pain is ridiculous, but wearing fashionable platforms that aren’t as comfortable as sneakers, but pretty comfortable, and a dress that’s not as comfortable as sweats, but also comfortable, to certain occasions, doesn’t have to be hypocrisy. Sure, maybe it’s vanity. But denying any step that makes one feel good about oneself isn’t like saying “I won’t bend further than a man would have to” and isn’t contrary to feminist beliefs.

    Similarly, with blowjobs. You’re absolutely right that “women [should] re-examine their motivation for performing certain behaviors.” It could be true that “male domination, often imperceptibly, creates their tastes and manipulates their behavior.” However, not all blowjobs are created equal. In a relationship that’s even-handed — and some of us are quite able to judge this even within the constraints of the patriarchy — mutual pleasuring does not have to reflect some kind of subservience.

    I also have to agree with Millie and Katerhiner and disagree with Al. It seems ridiculous to identify as a lesbian solely for political reasons. You’re attracted to whom you’re attracted to, period. If feminism required women to call themselves something other than what they were, now that would be hypocrisy.

  66. Hattie

    teffie Ph. D. I don’t “diss” what you do to stay in the running. However, I refuse to do those things and don’t think it makes as much of a difference as you may think it does. I know that many who dye their hair, watch their weight, wear makeup, etc. believe that their standing in society depends on monitoring their appearance in this way.
    The message it sends, I think, is that you are in compliance to the demands of the patriarchy.
    I don’t think all this helps with careers. Men may not want sex with you as you get older unless you take hormones and stuff, however. So you have to decide if it’s worth it to you.

  67. grrr kitty

    I’ve always thought that re-examining my thoughts, attitudes and reasons is a healthy, if sometimes ouchy, process. A quick peep at the FAQ will tell you that IBTP is *not* a feminist primer. But then again I’m just as feckless and disordered as the next blamer.

  68. Delphyne

    Twisty is never ever going to be forgiven for being rude about the almighty blowjob.

    Twisty, I’m glad you made that original post. To me it seemed that what you were doing was providing a space, a tiny space, for women who weren’t so keen on the idea or who weren’t sure, to reflect on it without the enormous pressure from the blowjob-promoting patriarchy bearing down on them.

  69. Sylvanite

    Millie, I think part of Twisty’s point is that Patriarchy damages our ability to make choices by perverting everything into gestures of either domination or submission. It isn’t the fault of women that everything we do is subject to such perversion, and women often have to do the best they can, simply to survive in a culture that views them as being subjects of male domination. That’s why (I believe) she says she doesn’t blame women for getting married, etc. When women have to do certain things just to survive in the Patriarchy (i.e. getting married is the only real way to accrue a large number of legal benefits and presumably increases one’s ability to secure resources for children), then it’s not necessarily a true exercising of a woman’s free will. And for this, we blame the patriarchy.

    I really hope that this isn’t totally incoherent!

  70. norbizness

    But if everybody starts wearing comfortable, black suede Vans, I won’t be a unique individual anymore!

  71. Shannon

    It seems the Cosmo Girl rule has been invoked. Can white women take someone being not nice about thier fashion choices? The answer is no! But women all over the world continue to put their lives on the line to fight for women’s freedom without worrying if Twisty approves of their footwear. Maybe you could all ask how they do it.

  72. millie

    “It seems ridiculous to identify as a lesbian solely for political reasons. You’re attracted to whom you’re attracted to, period. If feminism required women to call themselves something other than what they were, now that would be hypocrisy. ”

    Agreed. And I don’t have a problem, per se, even if someone did just soley “choose” to be a lesbian. However,I just haven’t heard of many real life accounts of that. Most gay people(to my knowledge) recall having those feels from the time they are children, before they had any knowledge of the social mores regarding sexual orientation. So if there is not at *least* a partial biological determinism aspect to sexuality, what would explain that?

    Following that train of thought, if sexuality is fully/partially inborn, how is it proactive to tell a woman (or man) that they could choose to undue their societal conditioning and become attracted to the same-sex or both sexes (bisexual, I presume). Because, quite frankly, I don’t buy it. I mean, yeah, i could “choose” to be physically sexual with women, but it would mean nothing to me– I would not fall in love with women, the way I do men. I would not be attracted to a woman’s body, the way I am to a man’s. There would not be the spark of..whatever you want to call it, magic, chemistry, hormones, to make me have the desire and attraction to them that is necessary for any type of relationship. I *do* feel like heterosexual women are unfairly pegged as being man-centric to the point of thinking the only time we want to be around women is to discuss shoes or stake out a new man or talk trash about other women. Maybe I’ve just been blessed with a great group of friends,but I’ve never seen this. I’ve maintained several of my friendships over decades, we have been there for each other through a lot of hard times..yet, our relationships are non-sexual. I guess I”m just not seeing as how female/female sexual relationships seem to be presented at the top of the feminist hierarchy.

  73. Pony

    Why don’t you tell us Shannon? Starting with yourself.

  74. tamar

    “If a woman does not agree that it would be “ideal” to be only in a same-sex romantic relationship or none at all, she is characterized as being a defensive straight person who just doesn’t “get it”"

    This seems such a bizarre interpretation as to be a wilful misreading. This isn’t a lesbian bootcamp, and if you think it is why do you keep coming back when you feel the way you say you do?

    For me, being a feminist is not just about discussing the overt nasties of the patriarchy that, if we’re real lucky, we can locate outside of our own lives (such as domestic violence, rape, pay gaps etc). It’s also about examining our most private experiences and relationships. And it’s not a zero-sum game. If I decide, for an overdone example, that I think blowjobs are patriarchy driven, it doesn’t mean I can never do that for my partner and it doesn’t mean that I must become a lesbian (cos God knows if there’s no blowjobs, it must be lesbian sex all round. wtf??). It seems like you’re attacking an argument that isn’t being presented on this blog.

  75. ms_mutt

    “I understand the impulse–it’s like white people identifying as black to show their solidarity with the oppressed.”

    The point of a straight woman identifying as a lesbian is not to show solidarity with the oppressed. While that may be a secondary effect, the true point is to demonstrate that the definition of sexuality (“gay”, “straight”, etc) is itself a cultural construct.

  76. ms_mutt

    Twisty, forget about shoes. What is up with women’s clothing as a whole? My pockets are too small to fit a decent sized wallet, so I am forced to either carry only my my debit card and keys (which I often do) or lug around a big awkard purse. It’s as if the patriarchy is literally trying to hold me down.

  77. thebewilderness

    Millie,
    I’m fairly confident that what you say makes sense to you. Some of us have not the pleasure of understanding you. You have some galloping assumptions and a goodly bit of straw, none of which makes for a reasoned argument. You brought the lesbian sex is disgusting thing, and then the nothing outside my experience is possible since I haven’t seen it thingamy. Then the request for explaination and discussion. Feminist hierarchy? You’ve got to be kidding, but you’re not.

  78. hedonistic

    BJs and shoes, BJs and shoes, I’m bored. What’s for dinner?

  79. Twisty

    It is “ridiculous to identify as a lesbian for political reasons”?

    Sure, if political gestures in general are ridiculous. But you don’t really believe that, do you? Certainly you have observed that people modify their behavior for political reasons all the time. Some people don’t eat meat, some people don’t pay taxes, some people move to Canada, some people stop watching “Seinfeld,” some people don’t laugh at racist jokes, some people chain themselves to the courthouse steps, some people blow themselves up, some people don’t fuck men.

  80. kathy a

    well, around here we have leftover turkey and leftover wild rice — no more dressing, no more yams, but there is some gravy left. and some soup. one piece of pumpkin pie, but plenty of spray-on whipped cream. we are fresh out of mini corn dogs, which my daughter ate last night in lieu of turkey.

  81. Pony

    When did that happen Delphyne, the *without the patriarchy* part? Looks to me like this pack of poseurs we have here on this and the other thread qualify soundly as patriarchy, if not male.

  82. Shannon

    Well, Pony, first they get some grounding in the real problems in their communities. They go out of their tiny little white girl world and actually talk to other people in the community- hopefully listening and eventually figuring out that most folks haven’t even heard of Twisty, and that their feminism problems are more about how their baby died because of bad prenatal care and pollution, or about how their husband expects them to go and have the house spotless after they get back from their jobs, or the fact that they are having problems with childcare, or that their daughter is dealing with pressure to perform sex acts she’s not ready for, than whether random people approve of their heels(which give them corns and make their feet hurt).

    Now, smaller things can help the patriarchy, it’s like a brick in the wall. But kicking ass to fight the patriarchy tends to be a winning strategy. The women in Oaxaca Mexico don’t wait til they are perfect to fight for their rights. Heck, everywhere in the world, you see women protesting against sexual assaults, a lack of tampons, and the like. We’re not alone in our movement. But the movement is not for us to feel good about ourselves. The movement is for women’s freedom.

    So let’s kick ass. And ask the Hendoistic Pleasureseeker how to cook meat without causing biohazards

  83. kathy a

    yeah, i know. mini corn dogs. what was i thinking? go ahead and give me an F.

    i was thinking my daughter should eat something while she is filling out those college apps, and she ain’t eating what i cooked several days ago. she’s turning out ok, though. she buys the stupid shoes with her own money, but doesn’t wear them much — has lost a lot of her longtime friends because she doesn’t get into the high-school cliquey garbage, and isn’t into pleasing boys. i admire her. never thought it would still be this bad for girls all these years later.

  84. octogalore

    Thebewilderness, Millie’s point seems to me to read pretty clearly: contrary to what ms_mutt and Al are claiming, sexuality is not a purely cultural construct, but at least partially biologically based.

    I think while sexuality is certainly a spectrum and cultural norms may affect exact positioning on that spectrum, they can’t push one from one end to the other. Ms_mutt’s claim that “the point of a straight woman identifying as a lesbian …is to demonstrate that the definition of sexuality (”gay”, “straight”, etc) is itself a cultural construct” makes no sense. I could identify as a cat; it wouldn’t demonstrate that species is a cultural construct. Friends of mine who came out in their early teens or younger find it ludicrous that a straight woman could feel that identifying as a lesbian makes some kind of political statement. For any movement, being truthful to oneself is the only correct statement.

  85. Heart

    Shannon, no offense, honestly, but why do you assume that women can only think about/talk about/be concerned about one thing at a time, or one level of severity of a thing at a time? It’s possible to think about and discuss blow jobs and spiked heels at the same time, or at least on the same day, as it is possible to think about and discuss and be concerned about the situation in Oaxaca, the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, women’s situaiton everywhere. It’s also possible to think about and analyze blow jobs and spiked heels even if you have really, really suffered as a woman. I have really, really suffered as a woman. I also really, really suffer for women, all of the time. I sit in front of my computer many, many days weeping (which is not to be manipulative, which is to tell you the effing truth of how blasted seriously I take women’s issues.) I’m betting most women here have been through really hard things and similarly feel deeply for women. Yet we find it possible anyhow to discuss spike heels and blow jobs. The truth is, there are connections between all of the hardships women experience. Blowjobs and spike heels figure in, too, there are connections there. It doesn’t make sense to call women out for talking about whatever they want to talk about, to trivialize it in the way you seem to want to.

    I mean, yeah, i could “choose” to be physically sexual with women, but it would mean nothing to me– I would not fall in love with women, the way I do men. I would not be attracted to a woman’s body, the way I am to a man’s. There would not be the spark of..whatever you want to call it, magic, chemistry, hormones, to make me have the desire and attraction to them that is necessary for any type of relationship.

    How do you know?

    Heart

  86. Heart

    sexuality is not a purely cultural construct, but at least partially biologically based.

    Why do you think so?

    Heart

  87. Heart

    For any movement, being truthful to oneself is the only correct statement.

    And my friends would say women change over the course of their lives, that the way we are treated in the world changes us, and for that reason what is true about us — what there is for us to be truthful *to* — also changes. Especially if we are feminists.

    Heart

  88. octogalore

    Twisty, your examples are misleading. Sure, it’s not ridiculous to make a political gesture if it’s not a repudiation of something fundamental to you. Red meat, taxes, a particular location or TV show – these are not fundamental to most of us, and therefore may make sense to give up for the right reason. For most heterosexual women with a normal sex drive, however, fucking men is quite fundamental.

    Moreover, it’s hard to understand how not fucking men, even if not a ridiculous thing to do (which I maintain that it is), is effective as a political statement. The only statement it makes is that the woman in question (1) hasn’t been able to find an egalitarian sexual relationship, or (2) has been able to do so, but somehow feels that renouncing this makes some sort of statement about others’ inability to do so. Neither of these statements are as effective as the more challenging one of working on your own behalf and for others to structure egalitarian relationships between men and women.

  89. millie

    “Millie,
    I’m fairly confident that what you say makes sense to you. Some of us have not the pleasure of understanding you. You have some galloping assumptions and a goodly bit of straw, none of which makes for a reasoned argument. You brought the lesbian sex is disgusting thing, and then the nothing outside my experience is possible since I haven’t seen it thingamy. Then the request for explaination and discussion. Feminist hierarchy? You’ve got to be kidding, but you’re not. ”

    I’m not “assuming” anything. I never said EVERY gay person believed they were born that way, I said MANY (or most, I forget the wording) state that they were attracted to the same sex long before they knew about any political or social implications of being gay. If you have evidence of this being false, I’m all ears. Until then, I’ll stand by what I said, which I believe was plain as day to understand. And yeah, I’ll stand by what I said about feminist hierarchy as well. Clearly the voices of feminists partnered with men ,or who even share a different perspective are not valued, if that were not the case, then I would be receiving *real* replies to the posts that I took time to write instead of dismissals.

  90. Edith

    That’s it. I call for all Joanna Russ blogging, all the time.

    And not to change the subject and all, but what are our thoughts on flip-flops, or “thongs”? (As in, “The only thongs I wear are on my feet.”) Also known, I believe, as “shower shoes” but aren’t limited to the mere shower.

  91. rootlesscosmo

    Edith: people in Los Angeles used to call those “go-aheads” because if you try to back up you wind up barefoot.

  92. millie

    “Sure, if political gestures in general are ridiculous. But you don’t really believe that, do you? Certainly you have observed that people modify their behavior for political reasons all the time. Some people don’t eat meat, some people don’t pay taxes, some people move to Canada, some people stop watching “Seinfeld,” some people don’t laugh at racist jokes, some people chain themselves to the courthouse steps, some people blow themselves up, some people don’t fuck men. ”

    I think it would be more of a political gesture to state that one does choose to have sex/relationships with men due to XYZ rather than calling oneself a lesbian, which most people are going to assume, means that you have an innate attraction to women which has little or nothing to do with dislike of men. To relay it to your example…if someone is a vegetarian for ethical reasons, they’re most likely going to state that, rather than just say “oh i just don’t like the taste of ham”. I don’t see how it helps women to have a relationship with someone, assuming sex is involved in a relationship with a “political lesbian”, whom has no true attraction to them.

  93. Buttercup

    this whole thread is making my mind boggle. In a good way.

    “In a relationship that’s even-handed — and some of us are quite able to judge this even within the constraints of the patriarchy — mutual pleasuring does not have to reflect some kind of subservience. (octogalore)”

    Octogalore, thank you for finding words for that for me. I couldn’t come up with the right combination of phrases that didn’t involve words not normally used in polite company.

  94. millie

    “that the definition of sexuality (”gay”, “straight”, etc) is itself a cultural construct. ”

    Then explain why there are gay people who continue to be gay despite rejection from the their religious communities, families, and society,after ‘deprograming’ attempts, after marriages,etc. Explain how gay men and women have told how they had a same-sex crush when they were small children and never felt the same about the opposite sex growing up or in adulthood. If “straight” is a cultural construct, so is “gay”. So that would mean there would be some kind of motivating factor for gays and lesbians to only be attracted to their same sex–and I’m not seeing what that would be since we live in a homophobic society.

  95. ms_mutt

    “contrary to what ms_mutt and Al are claiming, sexuality is not a purely cultural construct, but at least partially biologically based.”

    Ok, I am not saying that sexuality itself is a purely cultural construct. Obviously, it is body based.

    However, the way sexuality is *defined* and the expectations/baggage that come with those defintions (aka the patriarchy) are cultural constructs. These definitions don’t necessarily change someone’s innate sexuality, but they can influence how someone chooses to express her sexuality.

    I’m technically a teenager (two weeks to go), so high school is a fresh memory for me. The pressure to label my sexuality and take on the accompanying baggage was intense. Among other things, I’ve been gropped in the school hallway and had condoms thrown at me. Why? Because I refused to date anyone (okay, my mom wouldn’t let me, but still). Since, I was not a “good” heterosexual (who was sexually owned by some boy) or a “good” lesbian (who performed sex acts on hawt girls for boys’ entertainment, not to be confused with a real lesbian), people would go out of their way to harrass me. This had a huge impact on how I sexually express myself.

    It’s an extreme example, but you can be sure the way sexuality was defined and the baggage which accompanied it in this scenario were cultural constructs.

  96. millie

    I mean, yeah, i could “choose” to be physically sexual with women, but it would mean nothing to me– I would not fall in love with women, the way I do men. I would not be attracted to a woman’s body, the way I am to a man’s. There would not be the spark of..whatever you want to call it, magic, chemistry, hormones, to make me have the desire and attraction to them that is necessary for any type of relationship.

    How do you know?

    Heart ”

    There is no sexual attraction and there is no mental attraction to lead to a romantic bond with women. I don’t think attraction is something that is ever fully expressable with words. There’s no clear answer as to why I fell in love with the man i married as opposed to someone else, It just happened. I think people can “this person had xyz qualities i was looking for” or whatever, but at the end of the day,either there is attraction or there isn’t. Please see my other posts regarding this, maybe that will further clarify.

  97. Heart

    For most heterosexual women with a normal sex drive, however, fucking men is quite fundamental.

    I don’t think so. I think for most heterosexual men with a normal sex drive fucking women is quite fundamental, which isn’t the same thing at all. I think lots of women who understand themselves to be het don’t like sex with men all that much, much less find it fundamental, but they give it their best shot anyway because they can’t imagine themselves other than as het women in relationships with men. (And who benefits most from that particular set-up?)

    Moreover, it’s hard to understand how not fucking men, even if not a ridiculous thing to do (which I maintain that it is), is effective as a political statement.

    What do you think happens when women tell their male partners, or all men everywhere, that they aren’t fucking them anymore? What might happen if all women told all men they weren’t fucking men anymore?

    I can’t think of a much more effective political statement.

    Heart

  98. Heart

    I think people can “this person had xyz qualities i was looking for” or whatever, but at the end of the day,either there is attraction or there isn’t.

    I think you’re wrong about this. I think our politics can and do change our attractions. I think lots of women have learned this over decades now.

    Octagalore, how would the man or men in your life respond if you told them you weren’t fucking them anymore? How do you think men, in general, would respond if women decided we weren’t fucking them anymore?

    I can’t really envision a more effective political “gesture.”

    Heart

  99. mrs_enid

    For what it’s worth, I think much of the defensiveness that some heterosexual women feel regarding this topic is due to the fact that if you are heterosexual and want (or have wanted) to attract and retain a male partner, you do have to play the game to some extent. Going as far back as high school (and I’m now in my mid-30′s), I have continuously observed that even the most self-proclaimed liberal, punk rock, radical guys drool like idiots over a skinny, made-up, uber-feminine construction of a woman. Of course, the football players and frat boys do too. However, I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about the “liberals.”

    The cool, artsy boys and men never want to date the average, slightly overweight hippie chick in the birkenstocks and baggy jeans. They want the cheerleader (or her Suicide Girl equivalent). Sexual attraction in a patriarchy is not a democracy. So, if you want a man, any man, you do have to paint your face, smile a lot, dye your hair and take a pass on the third slice of pizza. You can pretend that you like it, if it makes it any easier. But that is how it works. I should know, I did it for years.

  100. Pony

    No Shannon, I want to know what you’ve done, not hear you pontificate about what other people should do.

    But regarding your ideas of what people of privilege (like you) could *do* for the downtrodden of the world, and speaking as an aboriginal woman, I’ll tell you if you came into my community all filled with your trademark Shannon arrogance and racism, ready to *do* for me and my people, you’d be lucky to leave in one piece.

  101. ceruleanshipper

    How do you think men, in general, would respond if women decided we weren’t fucking them anymore?

    The effectiveness of such a protest would depend upon a critical mass of women agreeing to protest in such a way; the ability to get that critical mass would probably depend upon the timescale of the protest. It seems that such a mode of protest would only be effective for very short periods of time (a two-day sexual embargo) or in very small communities; both would depend on very specific demands.

    My sexual protest: I don’t have sex with people who are anti-choice, and I’m not going to have a child until we get a pro-choice president.

  102. thebewilderness

    Millie said:
    There’s no clear answer as to why I fell in love with the man i married as opposed to someone else, It just happened. I think people can “this person had xyz qualities i was looking for” or whatever, but at the end of the day,either there is attraction or there isn’t. Please see my other posts regarding this, maybe that will further clarify.

    I think you are wrong about this. I think that if you spent a little time on it you could answer that question. I further think that you make a mistake when you assume that affection and attraction cannot develop and grow between people. That is one of the galloping assumptions you are making, that since it is not in your experience you deny it to be possible.

  103. Edith

    rootlesscosmo: Go-aheads! I should’ve remembered that one, as I am also from Los Angeles. Oh well.

    This thread is super-intimidating with its smartness. For the record, I agree with Heart. (For the long-term record, I almost always agree with Heart.)

    I also agree with mrs_enid.

    And I still blame the p.

  104. millie

    “I think that if you spent a little time on it you could answer that question.”

    I have spoken truths about my own life,which is what I believe feminism is about, and it really isn’t up for discussion, nor do I appreciate your patronizing tone. If, because I am heterosexual and unapologetic about it, that discredits anything I say in your mind, then I don’t really know what to tell you; Ignore me, I guess. If you feel i’m “assuming” that most people don’t have a concrete answer as to why they’re attracted to someone, again, don’t know what to tell you–as I don’t know of anyone, gay, straight, or feline who knows exactly why they like one person and not another. I have had many things in common with people and still never ‘clicked’ with them enough to form a friendship. Who can give a definitive explanation for that? I believe you(and others) have been purposely obtuse in this discussion, asking the same questions over and over simply becuase you don’t like the answer that someone gives. Well, you know, that’s life; People do not always agree.

    “I further think that you make a mistake when you assume that affection and attraction cannot develop and grow between people”

    Never said it couldn’t. As I said in my previous post, if there is a growing number of gays and lesbians who feel that they chose their sexuality, feel free to share it with me, I’m just going on what I’ve heard over the years. The gay people I’ve known claim to have been gay since childhood.

    Well, my daughter wants to read to me now so I guess I better go

  105. octogalore

    Heart — I believe sexuality is at least partially biologically based for a number of reasons, including personal experience, others’ anecdotal experience, and research.

    Of course, there are situations in which someone has been hurt too much by the opposite sex to continue to feel an attraction or to allow oneself to do so. These are tragic situations. However, I don’t think it follows from this that the heterosexuality is a cultural construct, or that repudiating it effectively protests the original offense. For those of us who have found men who meet our expectations and feminist ideals, blanket assumptions about men or about the roots of attraction to them on the part of heterosexual women just don’t jibe with our experience, or with science, for those of us who are so inclined.

    I come back to this site frequently and post less frequently, as some have no doubt noted. I’ve been most motivated to post when this fomula ensues:

    1) Twisty puts forward a witty diatribe on something or other, with the conclusion that most or all forms of feminity equate to subservience to the patriarchy that we all need to reflect upon.

    2) Most of the posts are wildly enthusiastic slash obsequious, with an ongoing effort to see who can come up with the most extreme example of not caring about appearance, eg length of hair on legs in contrast to on head, casualness of clothing or shoes, etc.

    3) Women who pipe up to mention benefits of fashion or femininity are roundly criticized as either lemmings or neophytes who don’t know the first thing about feminism.

    My frustration with this formula is as follows. First, rejecting everything about personal adornments is not really anti-patriarchal. Men also make concessions to fashion and appearance. While it’s important to avoid compromising in ways and amounts men don’t have to or aren’t expected to, there’s a balance that addresses comfort, originality, and presentation.

    Next, while in the ideal world we could all run around in baggy sweats and sneaks, and disdain minor grooming rituals commonly observed by our respective genders, and still expect to be elected and/or promoted into positions where we could make a significant impact on women’s lives, that’s not the one we live in. Righteously adopting a look that isn’t optimal for getting things done in the real world is self defeating. I’m not talking about being a Barbie Doll, but about picking and choosing the kind of femininity that isn’t compromising yet still evinces style and strength. Ultimately, while bonding with a lot of blamers is fun and somewhat empowering, it’s not the best use of our abilities to change or overcome the patriarchy. Whether it’s building the funds to help poor women in other countries, or getting involved in local politics to help women here, image is going to be a building block in the equation. Taking that block out of our repetoire weakens the effort.

  106. Pony

    Octagalore I wish you would just fucking READ what Twisty has written, instead of getting all argumentative about what you think she has said *but which she did not*, and then in turgid prose say much the same thing she did but not nearly as entertainingly or as memorable. Which you have just done.

  107. Edith

    First of all, not only am I wearing baggy sweats and sneakers RIGHT NOW, I am also EXTREMELY fed up with some of the CRAZY STUPID SHIT that’s being said in these comments.

    Pony, right the fuck on.

    Heterosexuality. Is. A. Social. Construction. Period. With emphasis. And jingle bells.

  108. Edith

    Oh, and just because someone claims to have “known” they were gay since they were a little child doesn’t make the concept of being gay ITSELF NOT a social construction. Kind of like, since I was little, I’ve been a big fan of cartoons but somehow, no one has asked me to create some kind of IDENTITY around that. Blah. Biology, schmiology. The “being gay is inborn” crowd like that idea for two, sort of opposite (but not really) reasons:

    1) If being gay is “natural” then it’s cruel to fight against gay rights! (If they’re “just” choosing it, then it’s not like really a civil rights issue, right? So only wingnuts must think being gay is a “choice” because they just want to CONDEMN gay people.)

    2) If being gay is biological, then have no fear friends, your lovers won’t “turn gay” out of political or other reasons — it’s “not a choice”! Being attracted to men, whelps, hetero women “just can’t help it”! It’s “inborn”!

    In other words, wingnuts say being gay is a social construction so everyone can choose to be straight. Radical feminists say SEXUALITY in GENERAL is a social construction because WE KNOW that redefining your sexuality and self in a way that ISN’T PATRIARCHY-PLEASING is an actual, real-live thing you can choose to do RIGHT NOW WHENEVER YOU PLEASE.

    Very scary, isn’t it.

  109. octogalore

    Buttercup, thanks very much. It’s not often I get any positive feedback here!

    Millie, hang in there. I think your contributions are very valuable here.

    Hearth — you asked “how would the man or men in your life respond if you told them you weren’t fucking them anymore? How do you think men, in general, would respond if women decided we weren’t fucking them anymore? I can’t really envision a more effective political ‘gesture.’ ”

    Huh? The only man I’m now fucking is my husband, and if I told him I wouldn’t fuck him anymore, I think he would be a little surprised and hurt. He would wonder why I am lumping him in with the patriarchy just because he’s male. After all, he does easily 50% of the non-income-producing work around the house, we share the decisions, etc. Also, he’d be surprised that I would use sex as a bargaining chip, as I am a consenting partner rather than a prostitute. Finally, why would I deny myself? I like having sex with him. You are clearly coming from a place of viewing male-female relationships as exchanges of sex for money and/or power. And maybe some are. But, please don’t make any assumptions about what’s going on in my bedroom.

    As for men in general, I really don’t think a sexual embargo is the way to go. That just furthers the view that our only capital is our bodies. I think pushing to achieve in all the venues of power that have typically been male bastions (namely — all the venues of power, period), and using those as platforms for implementing women’s issues, is a much more effective, if arduous strategy.

  110. millie

    “Pony, right the fuck on.

    Heterosexuality. Is. A. Social. Construction. Period. With emphasis. And jingle bells. ”

    If all of the posts that disagree with Twisty et al. are incorrect, why do you all refuse to refute or even respond to them? Generally, that is a clear sign that one cannot hold their own position. I have responded to nearly everyone who responded to me,to the best of my ability, if I had the time. Why is it that that no one will respond to ANY post about gays and lesbians who believe themselves to have had soley homosexual attraction, despite zero exposure to or knowledge of anything other than heterosexuality?

    I guess becuase it flies in the face of what you *want* to believe. reading through older posts on this blog, the same thing seems to occur. There can’t be any “real” discussion or dissension without insults or people shutting down and refusing to comment other than with virtual high-fives or put-downs. I don’t understand it, when such a tiny minority of people are even *willing* to learn about feminism, even *willing* to learn about what it is like for glb people, why waste the opportunity to educate women and maybe even learn a thing or two in the process?

  111. Edith

    millie, that’s because, to be it bluntly: I don’t care. I don’t care to discuss Sexuality and Feminism 101 with you or change your mind. I am a drive-by blamer and I always have been. Look, Pony et al are more than willing to discuss stuff with you, and that’s admirable, but that’s not my thing here. This-here blog is for advanced, upper-level patriarchy-blaming, as many here have said. I know that anything I say to you that isn’t, like, “It’s awesome to be straight and a feminist! Gay people are defined as such independently of any social determination! Consider the bonobos!” isn’t going to make you happy. So, la, la. Just write me, and whoever else is “ignoring” your ever-so-astute points, off as some immature loser(s) who won’t engage you with intellectual discourse, because maybe we don’t see you as so intellectual, or original, or something.

  112. al

    “contrary to what ms_mutt and Al are claiming..”

    I was explaining two different positions, not laying claim to either. Explanations aren’t necessarily endorsements.

    Although I’m not a full-on constructionist, I do generally support the idea that much of sexuality is a construction.

    “how do you explain the fact that people think they were born gay?”

    My Nonna thinks she was born Catholic. My friend thinks she was born a sex worker. My brother thinks he was born liking peanut butter and Vegemite sandwiches. The guy on the street corner thinks he’s Jesus.

    I don’t always support people’s interpretations of their experiences. They’re perfectly entitled to them, though. I won’t persuade them otherwise.

    Btw: Saying ‘heterosexuality/homosexuality is a choice’ does not mean that either heterosexuality or homosexuality is a bad thing. Just that they are choices.

  113. al

    Bugger. I see Edith beat me to it!

  114. octogalore

    Pony, I think Twisty would disagree with that, although she can certainly speak for herself. Whether or not I am entertaining (and that’s not really my goal, sorry to say), I’m not exactly reiterating her comments. As she has taken the time to dispute some of what I am saying, I’m sure that whatever other issues she would have with my posts, she would not back you up that they duplicate hers. Nice attempt to avoid discussing the substance, though.

    Edith, if the goal of this or other blogs is to get a bunch of people with exactly the same point of view to kiss each others’ butts, then I can see how you’d be annoyed. However, as Millie suggests, if the posts you’re annoyed by are so “stupid,” surely you should be able to easily refute the substance, rather than re-proclaiming your point of view.

    Finally, I too am wearing sweats and sneakers as we speak, and my point (obvious, I think) was not to critique this as a clothing choice for posting on blogs or most else around the house. However, there are public forums where women find that other clothing choices are more effective for getting shit done.

  115. KTal

    Millie: “however, I do think that women, especially those who are heterosexual such as myself wonder if we are, in your opinion, even contributing anything with our feminism *because* we are heterosexual.

    As a heterosexual woman myself, I’d appreciate that you refrain from making the assumption that all ‘het’ women experience discomfort with radical feminist views. Although not spoken directly, the inference I made immediately from that statement was that ‘het’ woman by definition means a woman who ascribes to stereotypical ‘fem’ appearance and dress. Tain’t so Virginia.

    “I agree that society is patriarchal and I agree that women, myself included, do things in order to “get by” in a society that demands we live up to our gender role.”

    That’s exactly what Twisty and others with her leanings continuously try to point up; no one has top do anything in order to ‘live up to’ a ‘gender role’. It is strictly voluntary. In other words, donning the attire or spending hours making the face is a voluntary act, no gets arrested for going without make-up or a dress, but the way women protest their forced obeisance, one would think such a threat exists.

    In fact, women like myself who’ve ditched the everday obligatory costumery find that their boobs don’t shrink, men still know you are a woman and many will find you attractive in spite of or possibly even because of your bucking of the system. I guess those types of men are not men actually, possibly lesbians in disguise?

    Anyway, once that is discovered, one can come to the conclusion that possibly, just possibly the whole ‘gender role’ thing is a cultural myth, set up to support certain power constructs, which of course, serve those in power and keep the powerless in their position of propping the powerful.

    Also, Twisty’s observation about fellacio wasn’t made in a vaccumm and to base one’s argument (as many have) by questioning Twisty’s blow-job experience is well, fellacious at best. For one thing, Twisty is a good writer and any good writer knows that anecdote does not make proper support for one’s position.

    Any woman who has been around males over the age of ten for more than ten minutes, read or seen porn and/or seen sex or sexual dominant language in major media outlets, she could draw the inferrence that giving a blow-job in the eyes of a male, is considered a demaning and subservient act. Thus, when one male says to another, “blow me”, he isn’t saying, “I would love it if you’d take the time to pleasure my nether regions honey.” No, he’s saying, “I think you are a dumb peice of shit and I think you’re actually so far beneath me that you’d suck my flimsy little dick on command.”

    See? Was that hard to understand? So, when your man ‘pleasures’ you and you he, its not what Twisty spoke of. What she spoke of was the obligatory “give me a blow job”, “blow job for twenty dollars?”, “She sucked me dry dude!” “Hey, I jammed it all down her throat and made the bitch swallow!” “Bitches Take Big Black Cock and Swallow!”

    See? What’s so hard to understand? Blow jobs are often seen by the males as rape by mouth, but women are forced to believe that no such act could ever take place and that in fact, no matter how forced, a ‘sexay lady’ takes it all in and smiles between gags.

    And as for clothing, who can run in high heels? In my mind high heels are a rapist’s dream come true. And don’t dresses make access a bit easier and doesn’t makeup, high heels, dresses, long nails and the like restrict the activities a woman can participate in because if, god forbid, something breaks, falls off or if she actually falls off and breaks, then well, she’s a failed woman isn’t she, whether willful or due to incompetence?

    You have a daughter? I sure as hell hope you’d give her the freedom you’d give a boy to explore, get dirty, be curious, adventurous and make mistakes, that you’d give a boy. Because like others said here, boys and girls can and will do the same things; its all just a social construct, not biology.

  116. Pony

    Edith I apologize if I appear to have been responding to Millie’s ‘questions’. My posts have been to ask her a question that would spur her thinking, hoping that might lead to her coming up with her own answer. She however has remained thick as a stack of pressboard. I persisted because the work I’m doing concurrently is even more dense than she is, and I require diversion to get through the night. See what a hypocrite I am?

  117. millie

    ‘Oh, and just because someone claims to have “known” they were gay since they were a little child doesn’t make the concept of being gay ITSELF NOT a social construction.’

    So, where did the feelings come from, then? a unicorn in the sky? How is the fact that I had “crushes” on boys as a child and teenager mean that my sexuality is 100% constructed becuase heterosexuality was modeled for me, when another woman had crushes on girls, despite not even knowing what homosexuality was until teenager or adulthood. That would mean that without the “model” of homosexual relationships, there would be no one with same-sex feelings. Obviously this isn’t true. But you know, I guess we’re at the end of the road with this,no one seems to want or be abe to contribute in a constructive manner, and virtual one-ups and insults are a waste of my time. I guess like many other social movements, there are some people who are only going to use feminism as their personal soapbox for their insecurities and resentments.

  118. Pony

    I feel like I’ve finally gotten the door shut on some evangelical born-again passive aggressive psychotic who thinks I not only have to listen to their disengenuous babble but be polite to them.

  119. thebewilderness

    Millie said:
    Why is it that that no one will respond to ANY post about gays and lesbians who believe themselves to have had soley homosexual attraction, despite zero exposure to or knowledge of anything other than heterosexuality?

    I do not mean to be rude or patronizing, although due to my advanced age I notice I am inclined in that direction. I cannot get the sense of what you are saying here. I pointed out upthread that I couldn’t make sense of what you were saying. I had even more trouble with the way you were saying it.
    Please parse the above quote. To me it says you want an explanation of gay and lesbian people who have only had hetero experience but believe they have only homosexual attraction. That makes no sense to me.

  120. Edith

    Pony, I never meant to imply that you were doing anything more than merely engaging millie, and I didn’t mean to speculate why you were doing so or for what purpose. I just was trying to point out to millie that, indeed, some people were actually responding to her, and stuff. So there’s no need for any of this “woe is me, no one here likes contradictory opinions, I am so ignored” blather.

    octogalore, let me summarize: feminists should spend their time on issues and topics that don’t directly deal with anything that you enjoy. Let’s not politicize topics you don’t feel comfortable with being all politicized. After all, you’re a feminist, so shouldn’t you be able to recognize what’s misogynist and all? If you enjoy it, then gosh darn it, I guess it’s just not that big of a deal!

    millie: wait, I’m the one on the soapbox, espousing my insecurities and resentments? It’s just too easy.

  121. Pony

    Octogalore I was referring to your comment immediately preceding mine. As for the substance of your posts? I must have missed it. You are seriously writing bullshit circles around yourself.

  122. hedonistic

    Who can run in heels? When I was in college majoring in Native studies my given name was RunsInHeels.

    I’m kidding, it was Little Bird. Nevermind.

    But seriously, I CAN run in heels. And tap dance, and pirouette, and climb fences. And I’ve done it all, too. The pointy stiletto can, in fact, be a rapist’s nightmare. The “they’re painful” and “they’re impossible to walk in” arguments are easy to refute by women who don’t have bad experiences with heels.

    The cleanest argument against heels is their OPPRESSIVE SYMBOLISM, period, end of story. All the other arguments are refutable and result in overly long, overly repetitive discussion threads.

    As to the nature/nurture question on lesbianism/gayness. Don’t people think the professionals would have figured this out by know if this were EASY to determine? All we can have are opinions and respect for others’, non?

    Now, what’s for dessert? I’m having leftover pie. Anyone need a drink? I have cognac and I’m sharing, if you can all get here in half an hour.

  123. millie

    See? Was that hard to understand? So, when your man ‘pleasures’ you and you he, its not what Twisty spoke of. What she spoke of was the obligatory “give me a blow job”, “blow job for twenty dollars?”, “She sucked me dry dude!” “Hey, I jammed it all down her throat and made the bitch swallow!” “Bitches Take Big Black Cock and Swallow!”

    There have definitely been folks with issues in comprehension here, but I’m not one of them.

    And FTR, twisty very much universalized her comments about oral sex to commenters who, as far as she or anyone else know, had equal relationships with their male partners, I fail to see anyone whom she directed her insults towards indicated they were in a situation like the ones you posted above, or that their partners spoke to them like that. The bottom line is, some women have a problem with anyone who chooses to be in relationships with men and won’t be apologetic about it and ass-kiss. Well,sorry, I don’t do that. If being proud to be a mother and a wife who is also a feminist is just too much for some people’s brains to handle, then that’s fine by me, their loss.

  124. Edith

    hedonistic, I could use a drink.

  125. Pony

    Hedonistic no, I don’t think they would have “figured it out by now”. That would have put them out of work, because their being requires all these things, if not to be cured, to be managed, much the same as the “cure for Cancer.”

    Millie please read what Twisty has written. Nothing at all like what you have perverted here, and that is why no one is willing to engage you. You’re full of it. We don’t take kindly to poseurs. I’m not sure who you are (although I have an idea) but I’m damn sure who you aren’t.

  126. Ron Sullivan

    So, if you want a man, any man, you do have to paint your face, smile a lot, dye your hair and take a pass on the third slice of pizza.

    No you don’t. And the sex gets better when you lay off that crap, and the guys who seem to demand it.

    Would I be spoiling some subtlety by wondering out loud if the latest pair of sockshaking handpuppets have familiar addresses?

  127. millie

    Millie said:
    Why is it that that no one will respond to ANY post about gays and lesbians who believe themselves to have had soley homosexual attraction, despite zero exposure to or knowledge of anything other than heterosexuality?

    I do not mean to be rude or patronizing, although due to my advanced age I notice I am inclined in that direction. I cannot get the sense of what you are saying here. I pointed out upthread that I couldn’t make sense of what you were saying. I had even more trouble with the way you were saying it.
    Please parse the above quote. To me it says you want an explanation of gay and lesbian people who have only had hetero experience but believe they have only homosexual attraction. That makes no sense to me.

    Last time: Many gays and lesbians have stated that they believe they were ‘born gay’ because their first sexual/romantic feelings were towards a member of the same sex. Most of these people had heterosexual parents and did not know anything about homosexuality until a much later age. Thus my still unanswered question of how and why they would have these seemingly innate feelings if the only sexuality we have is what we mimic from our surroundings (as argued by some people here).

    But of course, those who are insecure with their own life choices take this as me needing to think that all gays are born that way because i’m threatened by homosexuality or something, which is honestly laughable to me, considering short of harming other people, I could care less what people do with their lives, and that’s pretty much always been my POV.

  128. Edith

    millsies, you really don’t seem to get what social constructionism is all about. I don’t blame you, though. I blame … other things.

    For the record, as long as your exposed to both sexes, you’ve been given enough “exposure” to homosexuality as you need. A mother loves her daughter? Homosexual exposure number one.

    Really, is your argument that, like, it’s got to be biological because kids aren’t often exposed to rainbow flags and “special” friends of Uncle Pete? Either you have a really shitty imagination, or you just like your strawgay argument too much to think beyond it.

  129. scratchy888

    hahaha. Heterosexuality is a construction of our DNA. That being said, we are probably all more suggestible and more malleable than commonly supposed, with some people being able to take themselves in hand more than others.

  130. Edith

    Oh god, look at that ellipsis. Just look at it. That’s obviously my cue for bath time.

  131. Edith

    And the “your”! Someone, just shoot me now.

  132. Pony

    Dead on it Ron. You’d think they’d vary it in some way, you know just to keep us from nodding off. It’s all too reminiscent of that movie with Bill Murray.

  133. Crisoi

    Millie, you started out by asking some valid questions (to which Twisty had the generosity to answer), and then the discussion and more specifically your own responses escalated or rather degenerated into simplistic lines of thought to which there is no wonder that Twisty and other blamers here don’t have the patience to reply. After all–read the description of the blog–this is not a feminist primer, not the place where these rather unsophisticated ideas of sexuality would be deconstructed. There is no point to insult everyone here because this is simply not the forum to address them.

    And it’s bewildering to me that an intelligent woman with a lot of life experience such as yourself can think of sexuality in such black and white terms. I understand that not everyone would want to take university courses or read academic courses on the matter, but then at least refer to semi-popular and quite accessible sources, such as Kinsey or the movie The Hours. Kinsey rated our sexual proclivities on a continuum between hetero- and homo-impulses, and his research shows that most of us rate somewhere in the middle. Now, that may not be “exactly” accurate, but then again, what is. If you just open your eyes–and really, open your mind–to the world around you, you’d discover that sexuality is a mix bag and largely, LARGELY socially constructed. (Gender may not be entirely socially constructed, but to a certain extent, is, too.)

    I’m a married woman who enjoys fashion (true, without high heels, although I would be a hypocrite not to admit that’s mostly because of medical reasons: I have heel spurs)–but I never, ever thought Twisty was insulting to hetero-women. The fact that you would infer that is truly appalling, and made me withdraw any sympathy I had with your seemingly genuine interest to “learn.” At the very least, you have discovered the hard way that this is not the place to learn the basics (again, Twisty warned us about this!), and that people do not care to discuss the ABCs of Feminism or Sexuality 101 on this blog, no more than people in a literary salon would care to explain to a novice, say, what a hyperbole is, while in the midst of a discussion of postmodernism.

  134. Shannon

    Pony, you must be awful able to pass if you don’t understand the huge difference between pointing out it’s mostly white women whining about how thier Cosmo girlness that they try to call feminism because they think it’s the latest fashion trend and actual racism, such as the murder of that groom in New York, the babies dying from disparate health care, etc. I go out and organize about issues like transportation, literacy and the like. Do you want me to reccomend some books you can read so you can recognize racism?

    Heart, the trolls here aren’t going to do jack sqaut. They just want their pat on the back for existing.

  135. Shannon

    I may have sounded a bit harsh, but I’m rightfully suspicious of folks who never tackle any actual racism, and are all like “I’m X”, especially Native, because of all the pretendians. It’s similar to the women who don’t care about sexism day to day, but if some feminist says something goes up and whine about how feminists don’t allow them to shave their legs.

  136. poland

    Twisty, who crafted the English Language? Words about feminism seem as pointless as wearing high heels. Since it all spawned from the patriarchy.

  137. Pony

    Listen proud-to-be-a-mother-and-a-wife-who-is-a-feminist (why do I picture your face uplifted with your hand over your heart?) are you really so clueless you don’t ken that you are talking to several women who are (ditto)? Some of us, in fact, are so proud of this we have had several children, in one case eleven, and others of us like fucking men so much we’ve put up with beatings, rapes, high heeled shoes, and more than one husband; and in another case, one of us, yes, a WOMAN, has more than one spouse. One of each. (I sure hope she’s enjoying this thread.)

  138. millie

    Don’t waste your breath, Crisoi, I’m in need of neither “feminism 101″, i guess this blog assumes that anyone who isn’t a lesbian just isn’t advanced enough in her feminism, goshdarnit, nor sexuality courses. I think the problem of internet discussions has been proven: people with little of substance to offer often puff themselves up to try to appear more knowledgable than everyone else, and when they are shown not to be they can barely keep their manners or their ego from falling apart. My reception was what it was becuase unlike them, I was upfront about my life, about what i knew, and about what i didn’t know and was willing to learn and come to my own conclusions about things, and thati s read as weakness by people who have an internet persona full of bravado and nonsense.I’ve witnessed this in forums and message boards for years, about anything from gardening, to pet owning ,to mothering. I guess the internet is an easy to way to change your life if one is unhappy with it. And yeah, Im going to take with a grain of salt what a lesbian tells me about my sexuality–if someone isn’t attracted to females, then they’re not,regardless of how “great” the person is. If sexual attraction were the pinnacle of all relationsihps then i guess incest would be widespread–because hey, if you REALLY cared about your mom/dad/uncle/niece/son you’d want to have sex with them. Right.

  139. ms_mutt

    “The bottom line is, some women have a problem with anyone who chooses to be in relationships with men and won’t be apologetic about it and ass-kiss. Well,sorry, I don’t do that. If being proud to be a mother and a wife who is also a feminist is just too much for some people’s brains to handle, then that’s fine by me, their loss. ”

    Huh?

    I am an inexperienced blamer, but I haven’t seen anything that would support such an extreme statement.

    Twisty, you are NOT insulting to hetero-women.

    Ron, you just made my night. Thanks.

  140. Pony

    Since you haven’t a clue what it means to be native, STFU, and since you are a walking contradiction, STFU.

  141. Shannon

    Uh…many of us aren’t lesbians. And plus, being hetrosexual doesn’t have to be all high heels and blow jobs. In many other cultures, people are hetrosexual, but different items are considered sexual, and in some cultures, blowjobs are not considered part of the sexual toolbox(I don’t mean they don’t do it, but it’s not like the talked about thing).

    Now, let’s all measure our activist clits. I’ll start first since I think it was requested of me. My finest feminist work was helping teach immigrants to read, my second best was mentoring 8th graders, my third best was helping organize for better transport in the ATL(which it needs). I also marched in the march for women’s lives, because it was awesome. In general I mostly write letters, donate money and tell people to read an f-ing book.

    I hope to help young women rebuild their lives by becoming a theapist. I’m on Twisty’s blog today because I am irritable. I don’t want to do my papers.

  142. thebewilderness

    I both crushed and was crushed upon by other girls as a youth. I have never had a homosexual relationship. How is this possible.
    Shall I assume that no one else has ever had a different experience from mine. No, I shall not.

  143. Shannon

    Also I meant therapist. I’m often irritable because my ear and head often hurt.

  144. ms_mutt

    “I’m rightfully suspicious of folks who never tackle any actual racism, and are all like ‘I’m X’, especially Native, because of all the pretendians”

    Now THAT is offensive.

  145. ms_mutt

    Darn it, I can’t edit.

    I meant to say that Shannon’s statement is offensive.

  146. Buttercup

    ok, heterosexual, unapologetically so.

    refuse to wear heels.

    enjoy mutual acts of enjoyment with my husband, also enjoying a truly equal partnership with him.

    Have crushed on girls and boys, and been very attracted to men and women, both romantically and sexually, but identify as straight and have no plans on changing that or entering into an alternative type lifestyle that would allow both at the same time because I don’t hardly have enough energy for what I’ve got going now as it is.

    Also, never been offended by Twisty’s writing; rather, it illuminates me and reminds me to keep fighting, just because there’s no war at home and equality has been achieved here, it’s still happening out there and needs addressed.

    I’m loving the elucidation happening here, the dancing and twisting, the stripping away of layers to the ugly underbelly that lies in so many personas. Personae? The anonymity of the internets allows some of us to be seen more clearly than if we were face to face, by golly. This is very, very interesting, and I wish I could stay up later to watch more, but tomorrow’s back to the old seven to five-thirty for me. Though I’ll be sure to check back tomorrow.

    Oh and folks? I am sure I don’t need to tell you not to feed the trolls.

  147. Pony

    I got it Ms. Mutt. There are too many tangents here (even for me), but one of them is exemplification of the worst of American privilege and imperialism: all the world is “me”. Imprint oneself on everyone else, without any clue or embarrassment of how racist and xenophobic that is.

  148. thebewilderness

    Too late for that, Buttercup.

  149. Edith

    Millie, incest IS widespread.

    You really, really think you don’t need Feminism 101?

  150. Pony

    You must be in the same creative writing class as Imogene.

    “**I’m loving** the **elucidation happening** here, the **dancing and twisting,** the **stripping away of layers** to the **ugly underbelly** that **lies in so many personas**. Personae? The **anonymity of the internets** allows some of us to be **seen more clearly** than if we were face to face, **by golly.** This is very, very interesting, and I wish I could stay up later to watch more, but tomorrow’s back to the **old seven to five-thirty** for me. Though I’ll be sure to **check back tomorrow.”**

    You’re good, but not in the way you’d hoped. Mixed metaphors, cliches tailgating each other, laughable attempt at vernacular, jargon, shifting narrator.

    This is a Bulwer-Lytton shoe-in.

    Fail

  151. octogalore

    Pony, I would love to hear about your contributions outside of this blog. As a redundant novice, I am concerned that my activism on behalf of a local battered women’s shelter, significant financial contributions to needy women and children on Children’s Network International (which come from my income), active mentoring of two young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, and helping women within my own profession, are not up to the high level that you and other advanced blamers on this site have achieved. As you’ve challenged Shannon, I’m sure you’d have no problem satisfying my curiosity on this.

  152. thebewilderness

    Right, so now we all put up our bona fides to see if we measure up in the feminist hierarchy Millie was going on about and I thought she was being silly. I stand corrected.

  153. Edith

    octogalore, am I under the impression that Pony is supposed to fall all over herself applauding you and your “activism”? The way you word your “activism” octogalore, it kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t know why. Maybe because it reminds me all too much of the way high school students word their “community service” in their college applications, or how adults list their “financial contributions” in order to get tax write-offs. Christ, you even USED the phrase “significant financial contributions.” I guess it’s too much to ask that you just say, “I help women out at my work and in my neighborhood” when you’re trying to make some kind of point about us “blamers” and our lack of real-world “activism,” right?

  154. octogalore

    Edith: wrong. Obviously (or not, apparently), the wording was deliberate, and highly appropriate to the challenge set forth by Pony earlier, as well as the accusation of lacking substance. Specifics, especially when accurate, do give a sense of substance, and if specifics offend you, then possibly you’re projecting your own lackings. I had a feeling that the response would be just what you’ve delivered (especially after checking out your site), although I had hoped to hear that some of the articulate blamers here did have some “real world” substance.

  155. Edith

    Oh god. Obvious, my ass. Your wording was meant to be pretentious so that I would comment on how pretentious it is, which is indicative of how little “real world” substance I have?

    Please. Does it not make more sense that, simply, your wording is laughable? It seems like you missed the whole reason WHY, exactly, your wording is so laughable to me — it’s because you sound like a person with little real-world experience building up what experience you DO have to ridiculous proportions. That’s why I compared you to a college applicant. In other words, more bluntly: everyone has volunteered at a domestic violence shelter, having money to give does not equal activism, and helping women in your life is something every woman does. I suggest, helpfully, that you get over yourself. This is less about whatever supposed analysis you’ve made of me based on the extreme lack of information you’ve garnered from my blog with its scant information about me, and more about informing you that your real world experience, even if it were twenty times more “impressive,” doesn’t mean shit here if your feminist theorizing is full of bunk.

  156. FlippyO

    Edith Millie, incest IS widespread.

    Yeah, and it’s all because it’s consensual. Kids so want to have sex with their parents.

    I’ve been a lesbian for twenty years (probably, more likely, 37 years, but I’ll start counting when I first allowed myself to crush on a girl), and I have never come across a single woman who has identified as a lesbian as a political statement. How would this be an advantage to anyone? Why would someone identify as something they’re not?

  157. Pony

    Octagalore. Shannon made the challenge. Read it. And in my 64 years, I’ve done more activism than you can imagine, or will likely ever achieve. And that’s all your getting from me, since you are both obnoxious, hostile, not a feminist, and this is a public forum.

  158. Pony

    I’m still working, and will be until 7 a.m. So now that I’ve had my nap, I’ll continue to earn my living. Hand to mouth, as with most women my age, who worked our whole lives for room and board, and as volunteers, so that women like you could have better. I’m glad to hear, Octagalore, that you have benefitted from my activism so that one of us has enough money to use the word significant in association with it, in any context.

  159. Pony

    Flippy O I didn’t read Al as saying one should do this, but that some women do. That’s quite different. How? In the 60s during very contentious times in the women’s movement, straight women of conscience refused to say we were straight, so that we could not be divided from our lesbian sisters by those who wanted to do that, and name call. It was a small effort, but very telling even then about who radical feminists are.

  160. mearl

    KTal: “In fact, women like myself who’ve ditched the everday obligatory costumery find that their boobs don’t shrink, men still know you are a woman and many will find you attractive in spite of or possibly even because of your bucking of the system. I guess those types of men are not men actually, possibly lesbians in disguise? Anyway, once that is discovered, one can come to the conclusion that possibly, just possibly the whole ‘gender role’ thing is a cultural myth, set up to support certain power constructs…”

    This and the rest of your post is very wise indeed. Similarly with Ron’s: “…the sex gets better when you lay off that crap, and the guys who seem to demand it.” Sing it, Ron! I still roll along in my optimistic bubble, believing in a world where individuals can have intimate relations that don’t have to focus on costumes, power/dominance/submission, mindgames, or reproduction.

    With regards to the subjects of heels, gender-role conditioning, male-female sexual relations, etc., I remember a very simple but very good argument about sex work that was made by anti-porn activist Susan G. Cole: it went something along the lines of, “Sex work is seen by many sex positivists to be a choice or an act of free will, but it is telling when you look at the statistics about who is doing the selling and who is doing the buying.” This is lousy English and it isn’t the accurate quote, although I can get the quote if anyone cares.

    I apply this quote to any differences between men and women that are anything other than biological. You can argue yourself blue in the face about how you luuuurve heels, and they “don’t bother you,” or that you luuuurve fashion, or having some dude jizz on your face for fun, or having your vagina sewn shut, WHATEVER. If anyone wants to see how the patriarchy is affecting women’s perceptions, just check out what these “oppressive symbols” mean to society at large and then see how many hetero guys elect to live out these symbols in THEIR everyday lives(and hedonistic, if heels are simply an oppressive symbol and not an institutionalised hobble, what exactly are they symbolising?) (incidentally, I can imagine that swamis who sleep on beds of knives have similar pride in their ability to manoeuver around pain: maybe they haven’t had any bad experiences with beds of knives). Octogalore: last time I checked, face-shaving and tie-wearing weren’t bad for your long-term physiological health, whereas heels will permanently cripple some people, break legs, etc.

    Feminitiy: costs money; is time-consuming; is limiting; is rewarded; is derided by but also expected by men; makes lots of women I know feel like shit; spawns whole capitalist industries because of women’s adherence to it; obscures the truth.

    I think it’s a good thing that many women contribute to the causes of freedom and feminism even though we may at the same time undercut those same causes in other, small ways. However, radicalism is necessary: it exists to challenge the mainstream, and should always be strived for.

    Beer: it’s what’s for dinner here in Antarctica/Canada (experiencing a snowstorm, argh.)

  161. millie

    Just for the record,FlippyO, I did not respond to Edith’s idiotic post regarding the incest comment because i’ve tired of her buffoonish anti-woman behavior.

    If it wasn’t clear, my point was, if it is impossible to fully devote yourself to a group of people (or one person) without the relationship being sexual(which is, in my opinion, what some of the posters here have either directly or indirectly stated), that would automatically discount relationships between parents and children, cousins,siblings,etc. which are, to most people, highly important. So unless one was advocating that sexuality be introduced in EVERY relationship, including familial ones, that argument entirely falls apart.

  162. Pony

    mearl it’s snowing here too. :)

  163. ghostorchid

    Different people can be gay for different reasons. Wrap your minds around that. Biology, culture, and/or politics may or may not come into play in a given individual’s sexuality. The ratio is different for everyone. Let it go. There isn’t a universal gaymaker.

  164. millie

    straight women of conscience refused to say we were straight, so that we could not be divided from our lesbian sisters by those who wanted to do that, and name call. It was a small effort, but very telling even then about who radical feminists are. ”

    Except you weren’t called to be the final word on radical feminism, and not everyone thinks lying or putting up smoke and mirrors with regard to their life is a “small effort” or even worth doing in the first place. If you think pitting yourself and other women against each other in some sort of perverse version’king/queen of the hill’ helps to promote feminism in any tangible way, then hey, knock yourself out.Continue with insults. I’ll continue to be a heterosexual feminist who attempts to live my life and parent my children in a way that hopefully will help change the world. Whether or not a lesbian considers me an allie or another feminist considers me one, is up to them.

  165. al

    Ok:

    If someone calls you stupid/brainwashed/accuses you of having a false consciousness/herd mentality, don’t bother with them. Respond only to the people who engage with you respectfully.

    There are incredibly misogynist men out there raping and abusing and taking our rights away from us. That’s a tad more urgent, right?

  166. millie

    Yeah, and I agree with that. Today (for various reasons) I had more free time than usual, thus the posting. I guess with the internet you take the good with the bad, and generally I don’t bother to read the comments because I don’t have time. I guess due to the electronic nature of online communication, since it is impossible hear tone of voice or see body language, it is more tempting to engage in arguments or explain oneself unnecessarily, just in case someone legitimately didn’t understand you. In real life, like you said, if someone approached me in an openly insulting and disrespectful manner as some here have, I’d never waste a second of my time engaging them.

  167. scratchy888

    I think people are so worried about being right because they are so used to bending the knee to a dominant order in order to feel free of guilt, despair and panic. They feel bewildered that if they are not seen to be right, they will be left out in the ideological cold. But, ladies, you are already out in the cold. There is no ideological right — that is, unless you embrace the conservative right, which you haven’t. So, there is no right which is exactly right for you. Get used to it.

  168. justtesting

    Millie (and friends), I think that you labour under a common misconception:, that is you wrongly equate “want to fuck it” with “love”. You do realise that even though most men want to fuck women that they do not do so out of any sort of love or respect at all ? In fact the more a man protests just how much he “loves” women the more you can be sure that he despises them, and you can be sure that he certainly doesn’t like women at all.

    See, in the male-identified world we grow up in, men are held up as likeable and lovable – human, and for women to get a shred of humanity for herself she is told to attach herself to a man. Then she will get respect and “love”.

    And when such women protest that they don’t want to have sex with women (fucking being the only way of relating intimately with another in their warped world-view) and two women doing it being “disgusting” and how they “love” men, what they’re missing is the fact that neither they nor the men they attach to actually even like women.

    Because liking women is what’s really subversive – not ”wanting to fuck” them – liking, respecting, enjoying their company, being loyal, sisterhood (arghh!!! scary, scary !!!), not needing to gain humanity second-hand through a male but recognising women as full humans and people that you (as a woman) can have a full relationship with. That this idea, of truly liking and loving women, is so far from the experience or world-view of so many women is very sad really – but a reflection obviously of the patriarchal culture we live with.

    So, I wonder Millie (and friends), do you even like women ?

  169. Kim

    You cannot declare a feminist a hypocrite for XYZ unless and until you have discussed said transgressions with the individual.

    Even then, your opinions are merely opinions.

  170. Buttercup

    Wow, Pony, what’d I ever do to piss you off? You ought to read when I’m “trying” to bulwer-lyttonate.

    At any rate, do have a good day.

  171. hedonistic

    Mearl, to answer your question about the symbolism of heels, a little fashion history: Stiletto heels emerged from that Culture That Shall Not Be Named, along with those smart little leather bustiers some of us see at the clubs. Wearing the heels sends out the not-so-subtle message that you buy in to this culture: The fetishization of power and control, dominance and submission;i.e., the patriarchy. That women wear them and men don’t says everything about where we – er, pun? – stand.

  172. hedonistic

    Just musing over coffee: If all those closeted Republican gays could have just “chosen” to be straight, would the elections have panned out the way that they did? What about that loony preacher who recently made the news? Don’t you think he would have “chosen” to be straight if he could?

    Just askin.

    I’m not disputing the political value of CHOOSING to love women instead of men. God/dess knows I’d do it if I felt that I could; it would probably bring so much more peace in my life than I’m feeling at the present moment. However, I’d made the CHOICE not to fight my DNA, and suffer accordingly. C’est la vie.

  173. saltyC

    Omigod do I have boy troubles too. Had to call the police last night to extract baby-daddy from premises because though I was (too) generous to let him visit from out of town, he came home stumbling drunk and expected me to listen to his insane ramblings. “did I lay a hand on you?” he cried from the motel. No, it was a prophylactic measure on my part. Because though all the times he beat me it was “because of the alcohol” he still reserves rights to imbibe. And though I may have taken chances staying inside a confined space with his drunk ass before, I will not with a baby in the house. Now he’s pulling all the stops he has to retaliate.

    So sorry I chose men.

    So happy for Octagalore and all her money and luck with men, if only I had been as smart as her I’d be sitting pretty and bragging about it too.

  174. saltyC

    Oops, Instead of that last sentence I meant to say, “Let’s all share recent tales of hetero woe, shall we?”

  175. octogalore

    SaltyC, appreciate the support, but don’t speak of what you don’t know. Yes, now things are good. They haven’t always been, and luck wasn’t the major factor in turning that around.

  176. saltyC

    not talking bout you, talking bout braggadoccio octagalore.

  177. saltyC

    Oops meant octogalore, or the facade she’s presenting here. The one who thinks smart rhymes with luck.

  178. amananta

    A bit late to the parade, so I don’t think I’ll bother through the 20 million comments (whose contents I am fairly sure I can guess at anyway) and instead I’ll just say – I used to be Miss Femininity. My goal was to be Miss America when I was a teen (it was not revealed to me at that age that I was not tall enough or rich enough to do so) so I got up every morning at 5 am so I could spend two hours making myself “pretty enough” to go to school, and the culmination was tottering to the bus stop in little spike heeled pumps hoping they wouldn’t catch on a crack in the sidewalk and spill me most unfemininely to the ground. Then after school, I took ballet, wore en pointe shoes, and starved myself appropriately in hopes of being the ultimate feminine slender graceful icon of beauty which would make lesser ugly females cry in despair (and of course, make all men want to protect me and take care of me and buy me a big house in the country and tenderly look after me and however many children I bore to him.)
    Result – by age 19 I had arthritis in my feet so bad now I cannot wear so much as a one inch heel without suffering intense pain after a few hours, and my two smallest toes on each foot are permanently red and swollen and remain turned in and curled under even when barefoot, and thus are prone to infection if I don’t carefully dry them after every shower or whenever I get my feet wet. My wife looks at my toes frequently and mutters things about foot binding. And in spite of this sacrifice in the name of femininity and beauty, no rich man has ever taken more of an interest in me other than to offer to buy me for an evening when I looked sufficiently down-n-out and powerless.
    So soliliquies in praise of the beauty of the tortured feminine foot in high heels somehow fail to impress me.

  179. Edith

    Yes, I am ever-so-mean, for pointing out that sexuality, hetero or homo, is NOT actually written “in your DNA.” Let’s just keep believing our lovely genetic mythology. Way easier than, y’know, examining our own dealings within the patriarchy. How rude of me.

    saltyC, if “smart” and “luck” don’t rhyme, then seriously, I’m going to have to re-word this sonnet I’ve been writing. I’ve entitled it, “I May Wear Heels and I May Fuck Men, But I’m a Better Feminist Than You And Here’s Why.” I’m not really good at titles, either.

  180. Pony

    You have to read, above. I summoned you, and you responded by inexplicably running to your keyboard to make this post about your toes. You didn’t know why you were drawn to post did you, but now you do.

  181. Pony

    Buttercup I apologize. I plead exhaustion, but I had no right to comment on your writing just because that’s what I was doing until 7 a.m. for other writing. So sorry. You write a whole whack better than what caused me to flame you, and really, I’ve done worse. MUCH worse, and been paid for it. Geez.

  182. mearl

    hedonistic: History lesson number one: heels were not invented in the 20th century, and the symbolism of heels within BDSM is based on an imbalance of power that was preexisting, not one this community invented. Heels were originally for riding, and used by men; royalty and nobility of both sexes wore stupid shoes in the name of either gaining height (Catherine de Medici) or for the fashion that developed from the aesthetic interest. The ridiculous heights of heels for women in history tied into the idea that royal and noble women’s function was to be an ornament, and an assumption that they didn’t need the use of their feet for anything practical such as walking. This idea applied, originally in royalty and nobility, to both sexes. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_heels and http://users.powernet.co.uk/wingett/History1.htm

    It was due to these items:
    -the rise of industrial capitalism and gender-split Victorian ideals about men and women (that women’s province is childrearing, chastity, and the home; men’s is public life),
    -the rise of the middle class that did not previously constitute a demographical group of much clout but who attempt to imitate the dominant class (the dominant class being the ones who have servants to help them in and out of carriages in their stupid but fashionable clothes)
    - the proliferation of advertising and communications which made the lives of different classes of people available to the rest of the society and fuelled the imitation of the dominant classes by the working and middle classes,

    that this idea of WOMEN as ornamental has filtered down to most of society. So in short, wearing heels may mean that you are a willing submissive or hot under the collar for some sexbot sex, but the sexual meaning only applies since the advent of the 20s when skirt hemlines were lifted and the female leg became an object of public aesthetic interest, while men’s function became solidified over two centuries as “the worker,” not “the ornament.” But this fetishisation of heels as symbols of sex derives from the Victorian idea that women are good for nothing BUT sex, and don’t need to walk, run, work, balance, play sports, etc. The 1950s was where the Victorian ideal was called up once again and women were expected to stay at home, and this decade is when stilettos became popular.
    Heels are only a symbol of sex on a suface level: the fetish IS about power, as you stated, but it’s a lot more than just a symbolic world of D and S. It speaks volumes that men and women are both active in work, politics, and sports these days; yet you don’t see men volunteering to cripple their mobility on a day-to-day basis for an archaic notion of aesthetics. It’s not just a symbol: women wear heels because they are socialised to think it’s sexay and because men reward women for representing themselves as sex toys, but women really are spending dough and hobbling themselves instead of claiming their freedom. The symbol (which is said to be meaningless in this age of “equality”)is fast becoming the reality. Wake up and smell the backlash. Men don’t have to be uncomfortable to show that they are sexual and I adhere to that rule as well because it’s liberating. Loads of hetero women wish that men would work out and brush their goddamned teeth and use wrinkle cream and buy some replacement underwear for their holey, saggy grey ones, trim their ear hair, learn how to give head properly, etc. but men DON’T. They still get laid, because they’ve got money, and they don’t have to alter their bodies or faces to get it. I refuse to be a live blowup doll for anyone, and refuse to be a trained organ-grinder’s monkey dancing up and down for anyone. Maybe when men start doing it I’ll find it more acceptable. I can extend my calves, I don’t have bunions or screwed up toes, fallen arches, etc., and my feet don’t hurt at the end of a long day. I am happy.

    Pony: it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: you kick ass!

  183. hedonistic

    Mearl – thank you for that. Some of it I already knew, and some I didn’t.

    The fashion history I was referring to is comparatively recent: The fashion designers who were hottest in the late 1990′s (Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, etc.) deliberately drew from the Culture that Shall Not Be Named, along with burlesque, to come up with what is affectionately termed “hooker chic” in fashionable circles. One can still feel the reverb all over the fashion industry today.

    Do I dress this way? Not today but sometimes, god/dess know I have the shoes for it. Heels don’t “mean” submission to me, but I know that when I wear them I telegraph submission regardless. That and my social class, but social class is ALSO submission to the patriarchy, so, just more of the same, yes?

  184. hedonistic

    Whoops, let me try to rephrase that: Submitting to the expectations of my social class is also submitting to the patriarchy.

    Much better.

  185. Twisty

    I’m going to have to invent a Hedonistic Pleasureseeker Award, to be presented to the blamer who never gets bent out of shape no matter how the rhetorical cookie crumbles, on threads where comments exceed 100 in number. The first recipient is of course Hedonistic, a model blamer in so many ways. Who loves ya baby!

  186. alphabitch

    Ron said upthread: No you don’t. And the sex gets better when you lay off that crap, and the guys who seem to demand it. And I want to say amen to that — especially the latter part. Those guys are assholes.

    I’m also going to present myself as a living, breathing example of a person who has “chosen” for reasons that were primarily political, to self-identify as lesbian (or queer, now that I’m less uppity about it; I feel like I’ve made my point).

    I consider it a choice — for me — because I am by nature bisexual and I did in fact have the luxury of choosing to refuse — as a political statement — intimacy with all humans who happen to inhabit male bodies just because their place in the patriarchy simply pisses me off. Or to express my dissatisfaction with the het female place in the patriarchy. Or whatever.

    Pointless gesture? Maybe. I’ve made a lot of them over the years. Have I undermined the patriarchy in any meaningful way? Probably not. But now that I do occasionally date male humans, I’m a hell of a lot more comfortable with them than I used to be.

    I can’t speak for those who are genuinely monosexual, though I acknowledge their existence. I have no idea what it would be like to make a choice like mine if it meant giving up on intimacy and sex.

    And hedonist — yes, absolutely re: class/patriarchy intersection.

  187. Pony

    From a link posted on Hedonistic Pleasure Seeker’s website.

    HEIGHTS OF FASHION
    A History of the Elevated Foot
    Throughout its history in Western fashion, the high heel has been used to enhance stature, status, and sex appeal. Simultaneously impractical, proper, demure, and daring, the high heel of today bears the imprint of its complex 500-year evolution. From the extravagant chopines of the 16th century to the elegant stilettos of the 20th century, influences as varied as politics to pavement have contributed to the enduring success of elevating shoes.

    And, according to a coffee table book I have here somewhere the bound foot was also bound to elevate the wearer.

  188. Pony

    I have found, when my feet hurt the most, I can sometimes only alleviate it by walking tip toe. No it’s not my achilles. It’s the extensor.

  189. hedonistic

    Thank you Twisty! I think I’m mild-mannered at Chez Twisty because I save my vitriol for the male dominated websites. In fact, I was just BANNED last week from one of them, for being an “uppity bitch” and a “stupid whore.” Now I have to decide which honor to be more proud of!

  190. mearl

    the social class I aspire to is one that doesn’t have bunions or shinsplints due to footwear.

  191. Buttercup

    Pony, thank you for that.

  192. Pony

    No Buttercup: thank YOU.

  193. CannibalFemme

    Weighing in, for what it’s worth: I choose to be queer. I pretty much deliberately choose everything I am and do, because I think that’s my job, along with weighing those choices extra-carefully when they happen to collude with established power disparities and oppressions around gender, race or class.

    So: yes. My primary gut-level attraction is to men; specifically, to gay men, and more specifically, to effeminate swishy geeky hysterically funny gay feminist men, but I’m quite, quite happy to keep my pants on until I get to the women’s slumber party. I do so love the women’s slumber party!

    I also really appreciate the shoe babble. As a combat-boot-or-whatever-footwear-I-can-kick-hard-in girl, I often feel like I’m missing something. Shoes. Wow.

  194. scratchy888

    Hsahahaha! DNA, DNA, DNA, DNA, DNA, DNA. You no longer need to be taking psychotropics to see it.

  195. KTal

    Thank you Mearl for that long write-up on heels, so well put. Like you said, “I refuse to be a live blowup doll for anyone, and refuse to be a trained organ-grinder’s monkey dancing up and down for anyone. Maybe when men start doing it I’ll find it more acceptable. I can extend my calves, I don’t have bunions or screwed up toes, fallen arches, etc., and my feet don’t hurt at the end of a long day. I am happy.”

    Word. But, I have to admit that after a day’s work, my feet hurt even if they are clad in a pair of Chippewa construction boots, after a long day they feel like I’m walking with 2 x 4′s strapped to my feet.

    And Amanantha’s post. As a child I had a nanny who wore heels everyday she went to our house, sometimes she’d take off her shoes and massage her feet. As a small child I was horrified at how her feet had become deformed to fit into her pointy-toed, spikey-heeled torture shoes.

    Is it just me or does Millie seem awfully angry at women who identify as lesbian? Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but is not the impulse to divide persons by their sexual orientation part of the patriarchal hierarchy? Seems to follow if in the rules of the patriarchy, women’s identity is extricably linked to their fuckability, then those who refuse to identify as fuckable, or available as fuckable then are deviants to be reviled.

    Also goes to follow then that those women who refuse to wear the markers of acceptable womenhood (fuckability, availability for fucking), lose their right to claim a ‘good man’ and also even lose their identity as het women?

    Just checking cause that’s what I thought, but maybe Millie can fill me in. I’m game Millie, please expand or refute.

  196. Mar Iguana

    “I have no idea what it would be like to make a choice like mine if it meant giving up on intimacy and sex.” alphabitch

    It sucks canal water.

  197. millie

    “Is it just me or does Millie seem awfully angry at women who identify as lesbian? Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but is not the impulse to divide persons by their sexual orientation part of the patriarchal hierarchy? Seems to follow if in the rules of the patriarchy, women’s identity is extricably linked to their fuckability, then those who refuse to identify as fuckable, or available as fuckable then are deviants to be reviled.”

    KTal,
    I feel as though I’ve made my position clear in the (numerous) posts I made yesterday and
    I’m not sure where i would have come across as caring what someone’s sexual orientation was, but to make it perfectly clear: I do not. I have too much to worry about it in my life and family to involve myself in the rest of the world’s personal choices.

    As far as the rest of your post, separating by identity is problematic when it is used to discriminate against a group of people, I agree. However, i see no intrinsic problem with one including sexuality as part of a list of defining qualities, if one chooses to. Being heterosexual isn’t all that defines me . It seems as though some people assume that if someone is het. then they automatically have x qualities and x beliefs about things, irregardless of if that is true. Whereas, if someone says they are a lesbian, these assumptions are not made. As for the last part of the post, I’m not really sure what kind of answer you’re looking for: obviously, yes, society at large does not like women who reject gender roles or reject men I’ve never refuted that here, or anywhere. Anyway,I’m happy to clarify or answer questions, if that didn’t clear anything up for you.

  198. Aussie Liz

    I’m glad Twisty blames the patriarchy, otherwise she might blame us for our hypocrisy, instead of just pointing it out in all its truthfulness.

    I wear mid-size heels to work, with a good amount of width for stability. I check carefully for comfort before I buy, but I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that my work clothing decision was not based anything other than “how can I conform to the patriarchy with the minimum amount of discomfort to myself”.

    Where I work, the women huddle over heaters because their legs are bare (or sheerly stockinged) and half of the rest of their clothing is lacy and light. They have to drive to work because you can’t wait at a tram stop in that clothing.

    I wear trousers nearly all the time, after swearing never to wear a dress again after the hell of school uniform dress and hairy legs as a youngster. Wearing trousers is me doing what I can to comply with the patriarchy without actually trying very hard. If I was no hypocrite, I’d wear a dress when the mood took me, and ruffle my leg feathers in the breeze.

    I wear the minimum make-up that it takes to look made-up and complaint. And so on. Yet I prefer the look of myself in make-up despite everything I know.

    The patriarchy is all around us, and we view everything through patriarchy-coloured glasses. It is loathsome.

    It’s nice to say we make these compliance choices because our lives depend on it. It’s not that drastic, mostly. It’s just easier to comply than to fight it.

    The best I can say is that I love someone real, and that someone loves me real, without the make-up, with the leg-feathers, and my feet natural.

    (That is a nice ending, but despite the faboulousness of being “real” and removing the patriarchy from my home space, he’d completely absolutely freak out if I let myself grow a beard.)

  199. smmo

    Millie said: “I have too much to worry about it in my life and family to involve myself in the rest of the world’s personal choices.”

    The fuck? Millie, how is it possible to use so many words and say so little? Yeah, I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy, but I somehow manage to make time to try not to be an asshole.

    Millie also said: “Being heterosexual isn’t all that defines me . It seems as though some people assume that if someone is het. then they automatically have x qualities and x beliefs about things, irregardless of if that is true. Whereas, if someone says they are a lesbian, these assumptions are not made.”

    This is an absurd claim.

  200. Aussie Liz

    In addition to Smmo’s comments, “irregardless” is not a word.

  201. millie

    Actually, Aussie Liz, It is a word, and it is in the dictionary. Though most people now say “regardless”, instead. So how about you stick to the topic(s) at hand, because flames are a waste of your time and everyone else’s time.

  202. Crisoi

    Sure it’s in the dictionary, next to the following explanation:

    Etymology: probably blend of irrespective and regardless
    nonstandard : REGARDLESS
    usage: Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

    Take the dictionary’s advice.

  203. thebewilderness

    Well Millie,
    you and one other person on this thread are the only ones who think you have made your position clear. The most recent statement is one in a series of absurdities. Upthread I requested clarification in hopes that I misunderstood you. I see that I did not. All I can suggest at this point is that you reread your earlier comments with an eye to whether they make sense to you a day later.

  204. millie

    Ktal asked my opinion,and i answered her , thebewilderness. whether she got the answer she was looking for, I don’t know. I don’t believe anything i’ve written is unclear- not a popular view with most of the commenters here,sure, but not unclear. If you think it is “absurd” that I do not believe sexuality is chosen, fine. If you think I have some problem with gays and lesbians, then, believe what you will. Though if one is not willing, to some extent, to take at face value what someone says, I’m not sure what the point is of contributing in online, virtually anonymous communication.

    Lastly, if you’re referring to this statement:

    “Being heterosexual isn’t all that defines me . It seems as though some people assume that if someone is het. then they automatically have x qualities and x beliefs about things, irregardless of if that is true. Whereas, if someone says they are a lesbian, these assumptions are not made”

    I stand by it 100%. Someone posted that i must be “evangelical and born again” or something to that nature, despite my not mentioning, ever, any religious or spiritual beliefs that i might have. Hm, what would that be based on then? The fact that I stated I’m heterosexual without putting a million qualifiers before and after it and apologizing for it.

    So, if you have any more snarky comments, waste your breath all you want. My feminism is about helping women and hopefully helping to change the world in my own lifetime and through shaping the lives of my children, as none of us are going to live forever. I think, overall,I have conducted myself with dignity and showed respect towards other participants than this thread, but if you ( in the general sense) are waiting for people to come here and slap their foreheads and say “oh wow, you’re right, my views are all absolutely false, thanks for enlightening me”, then you live in a dream world.

  205. darkymac

    This is not to denigrate any of the writers in this thread for their participation but it continues to confound me that threads about sexual performance are often more contributed to than others in IBTP.

    I feel that it’s pretty clear that focusing on sex is just what the patriarchy ordered; how you perform it and in what way you advertise your role is secondary, as long as sex remains a centrepiece.

    Could it not be so that one remains a too too tool by giving sexual activity such serious consideration?

  206. Delphyne

    “Being heterosexual isn’t all that defines me ”

    And yet you won’t stop talking about it, Millie -

    “I do think that women, especially those who are heterosexual such as myself wonder if we are, in your opinion, even contributing anything with our feminism *because* we are heterosexual.”

    “I’m not saying you have no right to give a feminist critique of het. sexuality, and I know a couple het. radical feminists who share the same beliefs, BUT as a het. woman *I* find the thought of lesbian sex disgusting FOR MYSELF (not speaking for anyone else at all) that doesn’t mean that no one else should participate in it, or that it is inherently wrong.”

    “what is your opinion on heterosexual feminists (ones who choose to be in relationships)?”

    “I would not fall in love with women, the way I do men. I would not be attracted to a woman’s body, the way I am to a man’s. There would not be the spark of..whatever you want to call it, magic, chemistry, hormones, to make me have the desire and attraction to them that is necessary for any type of relationship. I *do* feel like heterosexual women are unfairly pegged as being man-centric”

    “I’ll continue to be a heterosexual feminist who attempts to live my life and parent my children in a way that hopefully will help change the world. Whether or not a lesbian considers me an allie or another feminist considers me one, is up to them.”

    The other reason why you aren’t receiving a very warm welcome is that you came to this blog, not to have a discussion about actual issues, but to criticise Twisty, the blog and its participants (unfairly I might add) -

    “I just feel that twisty’s tone is often demeaning to those who DO choose to partner with men.”

    “Clearly the voices of feminists partnered with men ,or who even share a different perspective are not valued”

    “The bottom line is, some women have a problem with anyone who chooses to be in relationships with men and won’t be apologetic about it and ass-kiss. Well,sorry, I don’t do that. If being proud to be a mother and a wife who is also a feminist is just too much for some people’s brains to handle, then that’s fine by me, their loss.”

    Every time someone has disagreed with you about those (rather rude in places) posts you’ve taken it as a proof that there’s some “feminist hierarchy” or that dissenting voices aren’t paid attention to. Try to consider for a moment that you might just be talking nonsense in the above three statements, and at the very least you have a big problem dealing with disagreement.

    I really don’t understand this weird identification with heterosexuality and blowjobs, an attachment so strong that women see any criticism in that area as criticism of themselves. I’m heterosexual, I even remember once in the deep and distant past enjoying giving a blowjob (just the one). But funnily enough when Twisty wrote her post inspired by a story of a woman *gagging* whilst giving a blowjob and worrying she wasn’t doing it right I didn’t have a fit and decide she was coming after *me* thus I must write in great detail about Blowjobs I Have Enjoyed.

    I think you need to step back a bit Millie and read and think about what’s been said here. Stop telling yourself you’ve been civil for starters because you haven’t been. Then consider whether Twisty might have a point that in many instances, blowjobs are used to make women submit to men. And just for once instead of immediately trying to come up with all the possible exceptions to that – think about what its like for women when that is done to us and what that experience means. Gagging on a cock, or having your head forced down on one is no fun for anybody except the cock involved.

  207. Delphyne

    “Could it not be so that one remains a too too tool by giving sexual activity such serious consideration?”

    Nope, sexual violence against women and sexual exploitation of women (including in relationships) is men’s number one tool to keep women oppressed. We don’t talk about it enough. Or rather we don’t talk about the actual reality of it enough.

    I was reading something about anal sex the other day, a piece by a woman “What women do and don’t like about anal sex”. According to her one of tne of the things women don’t like is that anal sex is painful. Call me simple-minded but why would any woman who isn’t in to S&M want to take part in a sexual act that causes her pain? I heard sex was supposed to be enjoyable. And the bigger point, why would any man want to do something to a woman that was hurting her?

  208. Mar Iguana

    So far, I think it’s a toss up as to whether “millie” or “Imogene” is buying the keg.

  209. SingOut

    “I have no idea what it would be like to make a choice like mine if it meant giving up on intimacy and sex.” alphabitch

    It sucks canal water.

    I’m hetero and I gave up men/dating/sex three years ago. So far, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life.

  210. saltyC

    hear, hear.

  211. alphabitch

    Hedonist: “[...] for being an “uppity bitch” and a “stupid whore.” Now I have to decide which honor to be more proud of!”

    I say go with three out of the four, since you’re obviously not stupid.

    And don’t anyone get all in my face about the ellipsis there. It’s used correctly. I’m an editor.

    Mar Iguana: That’s about what I thought, but SingOut and saltyC seem to have different opinions. Go figure.

  212. Pony

    I’m with MarIguana, and it has been *my* difficult choice. The loving husbands of every one of my friends has put the moves on me over the years, gushed over my looks in front of their wives (in comparison) or otherwise embarrassed themselves while hurting them. If I had any thoughts of getting it on with some man, any man, they reminded me why I don’t. Charming, cultured, liberal, well educated, tenured and highly appointed men to a one. I could be swathed in mink, and wear 6 inch heels every day, still, but I won’t. I’ll leave that for feminists-of-convenience.

  213. Erin

    Edith: if “smart” and “luck” don’t rhyme, then seriously, I’m going to have to re-word this sonnet I’ve been writing. I’ve entitled it, “I May Wear Heels and I May Fuck Men, But I’m a Better Feminist Than You And Here’s Why.” I’m not really good at titles, either.

    Oh, I’m printing this out and hanging it someplace prominent. Best laugh I’ve had all day.

    I also thought that Edith answered one of Millie’s repeated questions by summing up nicely one of the major reasons that the idea of inborn sexuality holds such a central place in our pictures of ourselves and society: rights. I’m being US-centric here, but our legal system protects people for what they ARE, not for what they DO, and the idea is that if you can conform to societal norms, you should do so. It’s why women can’t officially be discriminated against at work (they can’t help being ladies, after all), but they sure as hell can be mommy-tracked if they CHOOSE to have children. It’s where Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other no-promo-homo laws come from. It’s also the source of much charming “I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home, but for the love of Pete and Ivy, don’t FLAUNT it; think of the children (not that you should be allowed near any)” rhetoric, which should make it clear that we’re not talking only about legal rights, but about social acceptance and the rights and privileges that come with that.

    When people make a push for the idea of sexuality as inborn rather than chosen or constructed (and I believe it’s a combination, like all good things in life), a lot of what they’re arguing is that they shouldn’t be forced to make a choice that isn’t compatible with their desires and their self, a choice that they would certainly be pressured into in our current society, UNLESS it is something that they “can’t help.”

    That being said, since we’re all into self-revelation here, I fuck men and have only fucked men. And of all the things that might conceivably make me feel defensive about that, this blog and its ringmistress rank fairly low. Maybe it’s that I don’t think that gay relationships are exempt from many of the problematic dynamics that exist in het relationships, but I’ve never thought that the majority of posters here have that belief. I know that Twisty doesn’t, since she’s explicitly said so herself. But het relationships are still statistically the norm, and perhaps they deserve greater scrutiny because of that, and because those of us who choose/are born to engage in them walk what can be a tenuous line between loving individual men and upholding patriarchical constructs and ideas.

    So invent what radical feminist heterosexuality means to you, and in the meantime, feel free to suck a dick, wear high heels, do whatever; just don’t pout when no one throws you a parade for your choices, and in return, I’ll change my mind about asking you to make me a sparkly tiara that says “Ms Het Feminist 2K6.”

    I’m also totally still waiting for the sonnet.

  214. octogalore

    Pony, if you feel your choice is the right one, more power to you. Seems like you’re hanging with the wrong crowd, though. While I certainly know men like that, including in academia, there are a number who’d find this behavior almost as disgusting as you do.

  215. KTal

    I’m with Pony. Octagalore, I’ve been around enough men high and low to know that most do it most of the time to most women. Hell, the greatest light came on for me when I now work construction and don boots and old sweatshirts nearly everyday, still overweight, no make-up or hair dye and many (not the leftovers either) still make their obligatory dance, thinking I suppose that I am flattered at their generosity.

    It was then that suddenly I knew, “Hey, its not about my face, or my body, its about control, acquisition and power I could look like a jellyfish for all they cared.

    Which might I reiterate, shows once again that a responsible feminist, in my mind, gauges her relations with men with great care and hopefully a good distance from her self worth.

  216. KTal

    Also may I continue to add that I find the proclamation by many women that they are married with children as a kind of righteous defense of how the patriarchy works for good girls to be offensive to the highest degree.

    Women and girl children who are beaten, raped, cajoled, verbally and emotionally abused, economically controlled, discriminated against or harrassed, or raped at home, school and at work are not bad girls, they didn’t deserve it and many of them are compliant to a fault.

    That some women is married and happily says absolutely jack shit about anything except that women’s tendency to think her contractual arrangement with a man gives her some Great Authority.

    Give me a fucking break already.

    I was compliant, I said yes and nodded, was cute, beautiful, obedient, married, bore children, loved the cock. All that and I still got screwed and not because of me, but because this is a system that is set up to treat women like inhuman dogshit.

    That a woman in that position either doesn’t feel it or is so lucky as to not have experienced oppression as wife yet, proves nothing about any other woman’s fitness or value.

    That seems so damn basic.

  217. scratchy888

    Very interesting Ktal, regarding your statement that is was about control, acquistion and power. I remember when I first had that breakthrough insight (and I am generally conventionally attractive). I realised that no amount of effort in making myself more chic or more well spoken and socially competent would ever get me the power I needed to have in order to feel like I was keeping my head above water — psychologically speaking. I realised it has all been, in effect, a ruse, these social mechanisms designed to lure me towards a wrong conceptualisation of power.

  218. Carpenter

    I never ever wear heels myself, and though they are so ridiculous that they can only be the product of cultural hegemony(like almost everything we engage in) I have to play devil’s advocate just a bit. Yes, heels make you all tottery and mash your feet, and I cant think of good reason to put a pair on, but is it really that hard to imagine the only reason a woman would consider wearing them is something other than self abasement. I mean people fore themselves to aquire tastes for outlandish things all the time; alcohol,which is basically poison and taste like ass for that very reason, cigarettes and cigars which literally are killing you and taste/smell like ass, eat aged cheese that smells as if it’s been cultivated in a sock duct-taped to an unwashed leg for 6 months, engage in piercing/scarring/branding/tatooing ones flesh, we jump from mother fucking planes, engage in stamp collecting, etc etc etc. Would we do any on these things if the Man wasn’t suggesting them? Probably not. Are these things good for us? No. So is it so hard to think people get some bizzare aethetic enjoyment out of heels that had nothing to do with D/S or sexbottitude? I mean people are fucking bizzare.

  219. octogalore

    KTal, I’m not disagreeing with you that many men still “do it most of the time to most women.” Can you really disagree with me that “there are a number who’d find this behavior almost as disgusting as you do?”

    Also, at least in my case, I don’t see the proclamation of being married with a child to be any kind of defense of the patriarchy. My point is that there are some men, maybe not many percentage-wise but some, who aren’t reflective of the kind of behavior you’re describing, and who try to catch themselves when they go that direction. That doesn’t defend the patriarchy or mean we should stop trying to overcome it, or even that we should give these few men a medal, just that giving up men entirely seems to be self-defeating.

    “That a woman in that position either doesn’t feel it or is so lucky as to not have experienced oppression as wife yet, proves nothing about any other woman’s fitness or value.”

    Absolutely – we’re on the same page here. It’s not about critiquing other women’s value, but about saying that the existence a lot of patriarchal men doesn’t make them all worthless.

    I don’t see my marriage as a contract in which I exchanged compliance for security. For one thing, he’s more dependent on my income than the reverse. But even when he was the breadwinner, I never felt as if I had to make compromises. I certainly have experienced oppression in relationships and jobs – eight years ago, I was laid off and over six figures in debt largely because of the patriarchy in my then-job. There are a lot of assholes out there, but giving up on the entire gender seems extreme.

    You also said “this is a system that is set up to treat women like inhuman dogshit.” Can’t argue with that either. But I think when women try to beat the system by establishing their identities and limits before seeing who can have the strength to embrace them, it’s a good litmus test for finding men who are worthy. You said you were “cute, beautiful, obedient, married, bore children, loved the cock. All that and I still got screwed and not because of me.” What do you think about the paradigm of doing your own thing and then joining up with someone who will accept whatever that is? It’s fucked up that there aren’t as many of those as there should be, but there are a few out there.

  220. Pony

    Octagalore I hope you know what you did was tell me I got raped because my shirt was too short, or I shouldn’t have been walking ‘there’, after dark, and especially, after I’d been in a bar. Alone.

    And as for your current bit of expository compost, I don’t know about KTAl but I have no time for people who paradigm.

  221. saltyC

    Hey, Octogalore, yea maybe there are a few out there, but setting a high bar often means giving up entirely on the male race for those of us less attractive (size 2, gym membership, piles of cash, fine wardrobe, connections, etc) than 2 Bond girls in one.

  222. saltyC

    Oh also add lack of family-care obligations, high education, jet-setting, etc. No, I guess those of us who haven’t found the perfect feminist man just aren’t working hard enough to find him.

    Then again maybe what you consider self-defeat is actually a cost-benefit analysis, and we’d rather get on with our lives to our best advantage.

    You don’t impress anyone here, except that wolf who’s abandoned you.

  223. octogalore

    Pony, please point to what I said that had anything remotely to do with blaming women for misfortunes entirely outside their control. As I believe you know, my point was about whether to blame all men, not about whether to blame any women. As was quite clear, I do not blame any women for picking the wrong men, or being somewhere that turned out to be the wrong place. I’ve done both.

    I’m getting a little tired of your approach of “since you haven’t gone through what I have, you don’t deserve my respect or that of others, and I’m going to treat you like shit and try to influence others to do the same.” It’s unfounded in anything I’ve said, and lacking any knowledge about what my experiences have been. Because I have not revealed anything about rape or being beaten, please don’t assume my life has been a picnic. And, although I acknowledge that you appear to have gone through experiences I have not, that in itself does not entitle you to claim any higher moral ground.

    And, paradigm’s a noun. Look it up.

    SaltyC, I appreciate your responding to the substance even though I know we aren’t always on the same page. It’s great to read something and say, she got it, and she’s got a valid point in response. Your point makes sense. The few good ones can be superficial, but I know a number of counterexamples. Women who aren’t anything special in terms of looks and money, who wear jeans and casual clothes, and don’t have impressive connections, who’ve met good guys. I know people with something special, like the ability to write beautifully or who is creative in another way, who’ve met men who fell in love with that. I am plenty jaundiced and don’t want to sound like a patronizing Pollyanna advice columnist. But having seen stuff like this, I’d be a hypocrite to pretend it doesn’t exist just to fit in better here — much as I’d like to.

  224. saltyC

    How about the people who don’t write beautifully or is creative any other way, or even proofread before posting, how about them or her?

    I’ll let the beautiful writers and the other one come here and describe their relationships for themselves, not go by third-hand accounts. Plenty of couples who seem wonderful are actually sick. They don’t let on. Haven’t you ever seen a soap opera? Meanwhile if a fish happens to jump on my plate I’ll eat it. Actively looking for a man is too costly in cash and time for me, with not much incentive. There are too many liars and cheats for it to be worth it.

  225. Pony

    “I do not blame any women for picking the wrong men,{…}

    You haven’t a clue do you. Please go and read some feminist theory. Any.

  226. KTal

    “I do not blame any women for picking the wrong men..”

    I think women should stop picking men entirely.

    “That doesn’t defend the patriarchy or mean we should stop trying to overcome it, or even that we should give these few men a medal, just that giving up men entirely seems to be self-defeating.”

    I haven’t given up on men, I haven’t even given up on anything, well alright I did put away the stupid notion that marriage is a worthy goal to strive for. But to speak of ‘giving up’ means some sort defeatist resignation and defeatist I am not. I think I just got a little wiser about how I must go about preserving my identity and having my personal peace.

    Most marriages are co-dependent fuck parades. Some maybe nice friendships and companionships, but who needs all the paperwork, committments and the rest for that? Only if I were so afraid of abandonment, as if a child, would I require some contract that guarantees my financial security or my right before the court to not be beaten while in my own home?

    “What do you think about the paradigm of doing your own thing and then joining up with someone who will accept whatever that is? It’s fucked up that there aren’t as many of those as there should be, but there are a few out there.”

    Believe it or not I don’t sit and stew every minute of everyday over the wrongs committed to me by men. I have taken control of my life, do what I want. What I want is to have property, financial security and have earned it on my own. What I want is to have my own space, free of interference of others needing or demanding my attention. I’ve nurtured all I wish to do for the rest of my life.

    I’ve had relationships with men, do now and will in the future I’m sure, maybe even a woman. Hell, I dunno. But here’s the dealio: romantic relationships don’t make up the whole or center of my life. I’m quite busy working to acquire what I want on my own, learning new skills and dealing with people in the course of my business. I build things you see and that’s quite rewarding in and of itself (if not tiring and often quite frustrating). Also, running one’s own business is quite time consuming in and of itself, especially when as a woman in a man’s world — I have a lot of lost time to make up for.

    How could I ever cook a killer dinner, keep the house clean, do my hair, face and body daily, shop for the latest fashions, give husband quality time and manage my business all at the same time? Then lets not forget the importance of contributing my daily vitriol to rad-fem blogs like this one.

    I’ll stick with the stuff that makes me money, makes me think and the other, an entertaining encounter is nice when it comes if I have a minute and I do sometimes (save for the husband, no room for that).

  227. KTal

    Might I also add the response above assumed but ignored the seeming patronization of the paradigm proposal.

  228. millie

    “Also may I continue to add that I find the proclamation by many women that they are married with children as a kind of righteous defense of how the patriarchy works for good girls to be offensive to the highest degree.

    Well, be offended until your heart’s content, then. Only someone with a huge inferiority complex would assume that everyone else is trying to make them feel ‘less than’. If you, salty c and pony(who really,imo, seems like some kind of lame caricature of what an anti-feminist man would think up to troll) want to base your feminism on your resentment at other women for finding relationships with pro-feminist men, who are not perfect, but willing to work on their privilege and willing to support and recognize the need for women to gain freedom, then no one is going to stop you. None of you have said anything that indicates your satisfaction with your choices, but you’ve all said a LOT to indicate your bitterness towards other women for THEIR happiness, and that is sad. Then, the tables are turned on women who dare to say they partner with men,ex. they must prance around in high heels and cook all day long and have sex with their men all day long. In other words, If a woman defines her life outside of what you beleive to be true or acceptable, she is disbelieved, she is shunned. Sounds exactly like Patriarchy, to me. The women here who insult, curse at and mock other women here are no better than the patriarchs they claim to loathe, which basically confirms my assumption that many people use radical beliefs (of any type) as their soapbox for their own insecurities.

    Here’s an idea: Try owning up to them, working on them, and quit masquerading them as The Truth. Stop assuming that because a woman is with a man that she doesn’t examine her own life, her own beliefs and cannot be a feminist. Recognize that, like it or not, women will continue to be with men, and will continue to have children,girl children, who will be influenced by the relationship their parents had, as we all ultimately were. I would think it is better that children be raised in feminist households rather than have the entire world populated by religious fundamentalist families in the next 100 years, which is what would happen if no feminist women had children. Some of you spew just as much woman-hatred as the average man does, and I think you know that.

    high bar often means giving up entirely on the male race for those of us less attractive (size 2, gym membership, piles of cash, fine wardrobe, connections, etc) than 2 Bond girls in one.

    222 saltyC
    Nov 30th, 2006 at 1:44 pm
    Oh also add lack of family-care obligations, high education, jet-setting,

    Oh please. Unless you live in Beverly Hills or somewhere, I highly doubt that you will see that even 1/3 of the heterosexual couples have a woman who is skinny, gorgeous, cosmopolitan and rich. I could care less if someone doesn’t want to be with a man, but there’s no point in making ludicrous statements to convince (other people? yourself?) that it is true. Yes, its true that most women are going to feel the pressure to alter themself to attract men–not saying I don’t, and i’m fully aware of why i feel that i should do so,but obviously not all women, and certainly not all feminist women have to look and live like paris hilton in order to be with a man.

  229. millie

    “I do not blame any women for picking the wrong men..”

    I think women should stop picking men entirely.”

    So then, what happens when everyone is dead? Obviously some dealings with men, if only with their sperm, which obviously would have to be voluntary, is still necessary in order to reproduce.

    I think if a woman chooses separatism as the best route to do her part in feminism, that’s great,but I hardly see how every woman choosing separatism,even if it were feasible, would be some huge breakthrough. Men would still exist, and some women would still ultimately choose to be with them. Furthermore, if you feel that men are in no way capable of sharing the earth with women without dominating them,if they are unable to live as equals, ever, what is the point of feminism? If men are no more able to change their behavior than someone can change the color of their eyes, then a political movement is pointless. I guess the only option would be to wage war against men. That is not radical feminism, it is biological determinism.

    I’m not saying women should all have to educate men, or spend time with men, I’m not saying lesbians shouldn’t be lesbians; I’m simply saying that women who DO choose to be around men–their sons, husbands, whatever, make a difference that is important and necessary if the world is ever going to change. If in the future I have a male child, I hope that my husband and I will be able to counteract what he learns from society and that he will learn that to “be a man” one doesn’t need to be violent, to abuse women, to be unfeeling and uncaring, to hate what is considered feminine. Sure,we might fail, society might win out, but it would not be for lack of us trying. So, i guess to finish up, I’m not seeing where that situation is any less valuable than packing up and living somewhere with only women for the rest of one’s life. I think there is a place in feminism for both.

  230. saltyC

    you’re stupid.

  231. sze

    Late to this thread and delurking to add:

    Millie, I have to say that I appreciated your earlier postings in this thread. A dissenting voice at times can really help to sort out the doubts in my mind. Still, I think your characterization of Pony as a “lame caricature of what an anti-feminist man would think up to troll” is not merely mean-spirited but also frighteningly oblivious in context. Whether here at IBTP or anywhere else, being judged by the “anti-feminist man” is precisely what we should/could care less about. In fact, I’d say that your description applies to any forward-thinking, ground-breaking feminist in today’s patriarchy. So perhaps you truly meant to compliment Pony?

  232. millie

    sze,
    Pony has, at least in this thread, told someone to “shut the *uck up”, mocked, and insulted women. There is nothing feminist about that kind of behavior. Nothing. In fact,it’s typical patriarchal, bullying behavior. I’m not going to waste my time wading through her hate filled posts to copy and paste examples to back myself up, becuase her posts speak for themselves…and obviously if you are friends/friendly with her it won’t matter, anyway.

    So, I stand by my statements, and like I said a couple of days ago, its unfortunate that women see people like her and attribute that kind of behavior to ALL feminists. The internet is the perfect medium for people to create these kinds of personas, when in real life, no one would tolerate their behavior.

  233. hedonistic

    Millie ( I think I mentioned this upthread, can’t remember), getting a little stomped on is part and parcel of the whole IBTP experience. There are plenty of feminists in Blogistan who don’t operate this way. If you find benefit in sticking around to rhetorically duke it out with the sisterhood more power to you (heck, that’s partly why I’m here), but if you’re looking for likeminded feminist company I can give you a few referrals, so visit me chez moi. Tootles!

  234. hedonistic

    Octogolore, you’re obviously smart, but I wonder if the source of folks’ hostility is completely lost on you. Let me come at this from a point of personal experience: I give off an appearance/vibe that puts straigh men in a lather to the point of stupidity: They buy me clothes and jewelry, tell me lies, make promises they can’t keep, and say crazy shit like “marry me.”

    These men put on a very good show of treating me like a human being (AS IF). Bottom line, I’m rewarded mightily for being exactly WHAT they want. Not WHO they want, which is THE important distinction. Therefore, setting my life forth on a radfem website as an example of how the system works and (how we all can succeed if we would just work within the system) would be insulting as fuck. I’d sooner run blindfolded in traffic.

    Dig?

    So . . . if convincing yourself that your husband didn’t purchase a commmodity by marrying you helps you sleep at night, mazeltov, I spent ten years in a marriage doing the exact same thing, I get it, we all get it, now shoosh.

  235. saltyC

    Clue: some of us come here to decompress from being treated like shit by men because they expect us to conform to their white male supremacy, to enjoy Twisty’s prose, and to attempt some of our own.

    So when someone like millie vanilli comes to harsh our buzz or the bond girls come to impress us with her dress size and wallet and wonderful man, my reaction is to tell them exactly how they’re coming off to us. And when such types (maggie the wolf included) DARE to compare that with the brutality of violence against women, we get a little tiffed.

    And when Hedonistic claims that “getting a little stomped on is part and parcel of the whole IBTP experience. There are plenty of feminists in Blogistan who don’t operate this way.” I have to swallow the puke in my mouth. Because I’d like to see the community that puts up with this bullshit. I’d like to see the community that did not invite y’all to harsh our buzz and yet is expected to make iced tea for you when you do. “Oh how nice of you to come here and insult us”

    Hed, Millie has said some god awful things here, and if you wish to hang around with her, then you suck.

  236. Pony

    It’s pretty obvious this blog has been docked by a troupe of default patriarchy card holders and their associate member auxiliary. There are radical feminist blog hosts who would block them. They stay at here at the host’s pleasure.

  237. octogalore

    Hedonistic, I appreciate your attempt at clarification. But, I think you’re falling prey to what you suggest I’m doing – projecting my life onto others and expecting that will be meaningful. It’s unfortunate that your husband seems to have been focused on the superficial “appearance/vibe.” And I must admit, that was partially a gating issue for mine as well – although he’s been with a variety of women with different levels of the vibe factor, they’ve all had it to some degree. It’s unfortunate that he was rewarding you for being WHAT he wanted. But please don’t confuse that with my marriage and assume that, just because an initial attraction was based on more superficial factors, there isn’t anything underlying it. We went through a lot together before he said crazy shit like “marry me,” and the reasons for him saying it, at that point, had moved beyond the vibe factor. There was no buying of bribing gifts or telling of lies, or making unkept promises, as you’re describing. It’s presumptuous to assume your experience is universal.

    Realistically, all relationships, het or otherwise, have elements of commodification. I have to admit, I was looking for an initial attraction as well, and therefore I’m as guilty of rewarding that as my husband is. But while some men, and women, out there will stop at that, there are others who need someone who’s going to be there, keeping his/her promises, when things are bad, when you’re not looking as good, when the wallet’s empty, etc. If I didn’t know, at the “marry me” point, that that was the case based on various experiences with my husband, he’d have gotten a different response.

    “…setting my life forth on a radfem website as an example of how the system works and (how we all can succeed if we would just work within the system) would be insulting as fuck.”

    I agree. If that’s how I came across, I apologize. I didn’t mean to be an apologist for the system, as I’m hardly one of its adherent. My intent was simply to point out that, IMHO, it’s possible to find a relationship that doesn’t smack of patriarchal bullshit. I used mine as an example, as that’s the only one (as some of you have pointed out) I’m qualified to talk about. Just as you invoke your “appearance/vibe that puts straigh men in a lather to the point of stupidity” (sic) to make a point, I was trying to do the same, not to be obnoxious. Similarly, my mention of “wonderful man” to quote SaltyC, was not any attempt to be insulting, but simply an attempt to say – they’re out there. It may indeed be, as some have said, not worth the time… no arguments there.

    SaltyC mentions “dress size and wallet” as well. If you recall, my mention of dress size a number of posts back was in response to a hostile poster claiming she would dress up as me for Halloween, or some such shit. I think we’ve all been bitchy here in response to attack, and I certainly don’t hold myself out as being above that.

    As far as “wallet” goes – my mention of being self-supporting and the household breadwinner was in response to accusations of trading subservience for security. There was also mention of men being attracted to women with “piles of cash.” In fact, when I met my husband, I was substantially in debt, in a new job with no guaranteed salary but only commission, and I hadn’t earned a dime yet in my first six months – with no signs that was going to change anytime soon. By the time we were married, that situation had reversed. Just as Hedonistic notes her attention-getting appearance to make a point, the points I was trying to make were (1) “wallet” wasn’t a factor in my husband’s attraction to me, and (2) security wasn’t a factor in my attraction to him.

    The bottom line is – you have a point that there are probably better ways to express oneself here, and it’s important to look hard at where people are coming from. But while it’s tempting to make the outsider whose views are a little different the villain here, methinks that advice applies to others as well.

  238. Shannon

    I don’t think Hendoistic is married. Nor do I think that every claim of I’m OMG oppressed is a real oppression. Patriarchy lovers claim to be oppressed by patriarchy blamers. White women claim to be oppressed by people of color who don’t feel like lying about how white women behave. Nor is making fun of furries oppressing them.

  239. millie

    “I’d like to see the community that did not invite y’all to harsh our buzz and yet is expected to make iced tea for you when you do.”

    LOL

    With nonsense like this, the only appropriate reaction is to just smile and nod. Believe whatever you want, salty c, you’re the one that is hateful and bitter and trying to pass it off as feminism. I’m sure the patriarchs are glad to have yet another woman on their side that gets a “buzz” from bashing and hating other women. See ya

  240. saltyC

    I got nothing to work with here, nothing.

  241. millie

    Pony, like all bullies, you cannot defend your own behavior and have to resort to accusing any non-abusive poster of being “patriarchy card holders”. I see your nonsense, just like men’s, for what it is. Take your own advice and learn about feminism yourself. Hint: It’s not about telling women to “shut the *uck up”

    Hedonistic,the web is moving slow for me today, probably due to the storm…I’ll take you up on your offer if i’m able to stop by your blog later tonight.

  242. Shannon

    Also, Pony, so in your country, no white people ever say “My grandma was a Native Princess so I can’t be racist” or “I’m Irish so I can’t be racist” or “I’m poor so I can’t be racist”. I was mean because the lack of scale is very common in white culture in the US. Seriously, an unarmed black man was shot 50 times in New York and pollution and poor prenatal care cause the deaths of many babies of color , but most white continue to think the only racism problem is that some person of color failed to be as nice to them as they’d like.

  243. saltyC

    Shannon, so true.

    What is a furry?

  244. Mary Sunshine

    Pony said,

    “It’s pretty obvious this blog has been docked by a troupe of default patriarchy card holders and their associate member auxiliary. There are radical feminist blog hosts who would block them. They stay at here at the host’s pleasure.”

    I think that Twisty enjoys the female mud wrestling aspect of the whole thing. She lets them stay to bait us, so that she can watch us rise to take the bait.

    Someone else said it before me: Twisty as the queen of trolls.

    M.S.

  245. saltyC

    Millie, what is it I’m bitter about again?

  246. Pony

    Anyone can be racist, as you have just proven. Again.

  247. Pony

    I have to distance myself from your latter comment. But as for any blog, no one makes me read or post. If I don’t like it I can go.

  248. Pony

    I know a lot about America Shannon, as do most Canadians, and indeed citizens of other countries. You like most Americans, know nothing about anything beyond your borders.

  249. Pony

    SaltyC you’ve made my day. lol

  250. octogalore

    HP — after suggesting that the men who wind up with attractive women are doing so because of commodification, I happened upon this list that may seem familiar to you, a wish list of attributes desired in a mate:

    “Easy on the eyes… Watches his/her diet, weight … Slender and muscular. … Loves… fine dining, travel, etc. … Indulgent, especially of my love for sparkly girly things.”

    You’ve also said: “Superficiality might make for fleeting connections, but chemistry rules the mating dance in the long run. I have no explanation as to why some people turn me on while others don’t.”

    So how, again, can you condemn a man who makes an initial connection based on superficial characteristics, and how can you claim that the ultimate marriage isn’t based on chemistry and underlying values?

  251. thebewilderness

    Millie said: None of you have said anything that indicates your satisfaction with your choices, but you’ve all said a LOT to indicate your bitterness towards other women for THEIR happiness, and that is sad.

    Millie, you appear, from your remarks, to be a dishonest and unpleasant person. We all speak for ourselves here.

    There is a rather odd argument going on in this thread. It is a well known fact that there is a remarkable lack of decent human beings of the male persuasion. Many of us have long since given up on the idea of finding one of them to call our very own. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. Some might say obvious. I, for one, am very satisfied with my choice and could only wish I had made it sooner. Some, like myself, have male children and grandchildren. We like them just fine. We had a hand in making them decent human beings fully aware of the partiarchy within which they soak.

  252. millie

    TB, since you purposely misread EVERY post i’ve made, why do you even bother to respond? You presented a strawman argument. I have NEVER, not once, refuted “It is a well known fact that there is a remarkable lack of decent human beings of the male persuasion”. Show me ONE post where I did this, one. And while you’re at it, please tell me how I am so unpleasant, when salty c has done nothing but troll the entire thread and pony has told women to ‘shut the fuck up’.

    In fact, I specifically said, I’m more than happy for women choosing live without men–however when one is attacking women who DO choose to be with men and bemoaning how they can’t get a man because they’re not a size two socialite,I think it becomes pretty apparent that what they are spewing is resentment, not feminism. If you (in the general sense) dont’ want a man, then you wouldn’t care who else is dating them.

  253. hedonistic

    Octogalore, perhaps you should ask me any other such questions at my own site, as this IBTP is not about moi. I’ll say this ONCE: “easy on they eyes” means MY eyes. Very few of the men I have dated were attractive in the conventional sense (some were damn goofy looking) but for some reason I thought they were the bees knees at the time. There is no accounting for taste.

    I’ve dated obese men several times (my ex-husband was 250 pounds when I met him), and once I even dated a 64 year old obese man (I was in my mid thirties). Consequently I’ve witnessed first hand what too much weight can do to one’s health as one gets older (bad knees, bad back, trouble moving, ugh). I’d like to avoid playing nursemaid to men with preventable ailments, because the random/unpreventable ones are bad enough.

    (Please let’s not turn this into a thread about weight, because that would really suck.)

    Oh, and for the sparkly girly blah blah blah – - I finance these things myself. After being married to a man who thought two pair of shoes were enough, and that and dining out once a year was a “splurge,” I don’t need another man bitching at me about my spending/eating habits.

    (Funny how I consider a man “letting” me spend my money any way I damn please “indulgent.” What the fuck is wrong with me?)

  254. hedonistic

    One more thing: I did NOT say men commodify “attractive” women. Men commodify women, period. I had a point to bringing up my appearance in the context of living in a Patriarchy: It brings me goodies, so if I am to be myopic, my temptation might be to say “Patriarchy works fine for me, so yay Patriarchy!”

    This is how your posts are coming across, even if it’s not your intention.

  255. octogalore

    HP, point taken about other questions at your site. I made the earlier post on this site because it was on this site that you claimed that because of various things I’ve said and other things that have been assumed, my husband is with me because of a superficial checklist. Despite the “my eyes” explanation, various aspects of your checklist indicated that you shouldn’t be putting others on trial for listening to personal attraction — in THEIR eyes — in your comments here. So, I thought it appropriate to address this in the same locale.

    I really don’t have other questions because I have no issues with anything you’ve said as to your own proclivities, and if in the future I do, I will post those on your site.

    As to the “sparkly girl” stuff — fair enough. As you point out, it was understandably confusing that you would refer to a man’s “letting” you finance those things yourself as “indulgence.”

  256. smmo

    Millie keeps threatening to take her toys and her hyperbolic modifiers and go home, but never actually leaves.

    millie also said:

    “but if you ( in the general sense) are waiting for people to come here and slap their foreheads and say “oh wow, you’re right, my views are all absolutely false, thanks for enlightening me”, then you live in a dream world.”

    And yet is doing the that very thing.

  257. hedonistic

    And nobody has yet explained what a furry is.

  258. Pony

    http://www.christinielsen.com/blog/about2getskinny/

    Just a wee bit off topic. Then again maybe not.

  259. saltyC

    Hi Millie, I. don’t. want. a. man. Impossible as it may be to imagine, it’s true. I was reacting to someone who said that this attitude is “self-defeating”

  260. millie

    “but if you ( in the general sense) are waiting for people to come here and slap their foreheads and say “oh wow, you’re right, my views are all absolutely false, thanks for enlightening me”, then you live in a dream world.”

    And yet is doing the that very thing.

    Struck out, again, smmo. I’ve asked no one to change their views, what i HAVE asked is that abusive women stop being held as the standard of radical feminism and that women (in this thread) stop making baseless assumptions about other feminist women’s lives. The behavior that I’ve listed and called out is patriarchal behavior, no ifs ands or buts about it,it isn’t “feminism” just because the people in question weren’t calling their targets bitches or sluts. If an adult, feminist woman says that SHE believes her relationship is egalitarian, that SHE is not a stiletto wearing jet-setter who exists only to please her man, believe her. And if you can’t do that, maybe you should examine the reason that you call yourself a feminist, and not someone with an ‘axe to grind’. Because, you know, I don’t want a woman speaking for me anymore than I want a man doing it–if you can’t extend the benefit of the doubt to the (few) women in the world who actually DO care about helping women, then stop engaging in an online form of communication. Becuase, yeah, anyone can lie, make themselves out as something they’re not (which I’m pretty sure is already true of some)it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not it is worth it.

    “Millie keeps threatening to take her toys and her hyperbolic modifiers and go home,”

    I really have no clue what you mean by this. If i wanted to “leave”, i’d leave. I don’t need anyone’s permission, I’m a grown woman. If the owner of the blog no longer wants me here, then I guess she will tell me. Until then, don’t waste your time ever presuming that you speak for me or my intentions.

  261. smmo

    “I really have no clue.” Millie

    Truer words and all that.

    I’m not suggesting you leave, Millie. I’m pointing out that you say you want to leave (please review your posts) and then don’t. And whatever point you are trying to make, whatever value it might have, is completely obscured by your rudeness. In short, every single thing you have accused others of doing here you yourself are guilty of.

  262. millie

    smmo, either respond to what i write or stop trolling. You’ve proven my point, very well, thanks.

    As far as rudeness goes, telling women to “shut the fuck up” and calling them “stupid” is pretty rude as well, though ,it’s pretty telling that I have yet to see you (or anyone) call those people out for their actions. Feminism isn’t some internet game of one-upping women,and when you do so, the only person you’re making look foolish is yourself, so by all means, continue to pull things in my posts out of context.

  263. millie

    Not to spam the forum, but i’m reposting this, because soon it will be halfway at the top due to anti-woman, one liner comments. And, I think it is worth reading.

    Struck out, again, smmo. I’ve asked no one to change their views, what i HAVE asked is that abusive women stop being held as the standard of radical feminism and that women (in this thread) stop making baseless assumptions about other feminist women’s lives. The behavior that I’ve listed and called out is patriarchal behavior, no ifs ands or buts about it,it isn’t “feminism” just because the people in question weren’t calling their targets bitches or sluts. If an adult, feminist woman says that SHE believes her relationship is egalitarian, that SHE is not a stiletto wearing jet-setter who exists only to please her man, believe her. And if you can’t do that, maybe you should examine the reason that you call yourself a feminist, and not someone with an ‘axe to grind’. Because, you know, I don’t want a woman speaking for me anymore than I want a man doing it–if you can’t extend the benefit of the doubt to the (few) women in the world who actually DO care about helping women, then stop engaging in an online form of communication. Becuase, yeah, anyone can lie, make themselves out as something they’re not (which I’m pretty sure is already true of some)it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not it is worth it.

  264. smmo

    “As far as rudeness goes, telling women to “shut the fuck up” and calling them “stupid” is pretty rude as well, though ,it’s pretty telling that I have yet to see you (or anyone) call those people out for their actions.”

    Pony called herself out for being rude, made an apology, and the apology was accepted. Hedonistic and octogalore seem to have made up. So you’re, you know, wrong. Again.

    Millie while I did indulge myself a bit, in large part my posts have been a direct response to you.

    Your little manifesto (manifesta?) about how IBTP commenters are the REAL patriarchs and women shouldn’t tell other women blah blah I’m an empowerful wife and mother really wasn’t worth posting twice.

  265. thebewilderness

    Sheesh Millie, project much?

  266. thebewilderness

    Here ya go.

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

  267. Snk

    Hello Twisty,
    I am an avid reader of your blog, and it is about time I lost my commenting virginity.
    “Femininity is a weapon of mass-destruction” – something I have tried to explain all my life to incredulous friends, family, acquaintances, but have never been able to summarise so succinctly and so beautifully. I shall use it for the rest of my life (with appropriate citation, of course). I propose a logo for this aphorism:
    perhaps a stiletto inside the trident-shaped anti-nuclear symbol.
    I would just like to add that I am a 27- year old heterosexual woman (and atheist feminist), but have never really had serious issues with rejecting femininity (just to challenge the widely held assumption that ALL heterosexual women find it prohibitively difficult to resist spouting amphibian legs and walking on stilts). It sort of came naturally. Raised in a liberal middle-class british-indian muslim family in the UK (i.e. still some “belief” in the God-dude, but no veils or other restrictions on women), I managed to luckily avoid the Scylla and Charybdis of sex-botulism and the burqa. I have to say that the four years living in Saudi Arabia as a child was excellent training in learning to sniff out patriarchy in all its guises. It was like receiving a vaccine against obliviousness to the perniciousness of patriarchy.
    Sorry for rambling on.

    Shabnam

  268. millie

    “I’m an empowerful wife and mother really wasn’t worth posting twice. ”

    Your opinion, fine with me. and yes I’m VERY proud to be both of those things, especially being a mother, my child means more to me than anything in this world. So, you can post that a million and one times over,smmo, it is nothing but a compliment to me.

    And I believe the word you’re looking for is “empowered”, so if you’re going to make a lame attempt at insinuating I’m some kind of pop, ‘girl power’ feminist, at least get the term right. Another term you might want to learn: Feminism.

    With that, I AM going to pick up my toys and leave, rather, help my daughter pick up HER toys and contend with real life for awhile. I most likely won’t come back to the thread since its several days old now and mostly dead, and my sluggish computer can barely load the 250 comments, so thanks to those of you who communicated in a positive manner.

  269. saltyC

    You’re welcome.

  270. CannibalFemme

    I guess this is what I get for lagging: I missed the Milliefest.

    However, on the off-chance that I’m not posting this into a vacuum, I’ll chip in. Millie, at first I was puzzled by your comments. Then saddened. Then miffed. Then brimming with fervent vitriol. And then, and then I got the wonderful idea to read your posts out loud at the Friday Night Femme Huddle, during which I strove to perfect what I like to imagine as your nasal, self-righteous whine, and when I finally got it right it was a showstopper. I am now being treated to the sight of two dozen women howling with glee and holding their stomachs and whimpering, and one of them laughed so hard she peed all over my nice clean floor, which I think I’ll let her clean up her ownself.

    We’re going to try it as a drinking game next. I’ll keep you posted, provided I can still see the keyboard.

    Many thanks for the emotional gymnast workout!

  271. smmo

    Millie: “So, you can post that a million and one times over,smmo, it is nothing but a compliment to me.”

    You know, I’m a mother too. I’m married to a male. (I will walk over coals before I call myself a wife.) I even gave birth to a male. People proclaiming their love for their child to strangers is dangerously close to identifying themselves as so-and-so’s Mom, but yeah I love my kid too. What I’m not is a deluded twitterer.

    And I don’t know why I’m bothering but “empowerful” is a Twisty-ism.

    Snk: “I have to say that the four years living in Saudi Arabia as a child was excellent training in learning to sniff out patriarchy in all its guises. It was like receiving a vaccine against obliviousness to the perniciousness of patriarchy.”

    Damn, I bet. Perhaps when the Blamers achieve domination that can be our version of Mao’s reeducation camps?

    Millie drinking game=awesome

  272. thebewilderness

    Dear CannibalFemme, you are adorable.

  273. Pony

    I’ll stand a round for the crowd there CannibalFemme. Make it at the “my child means more to me than anything in the world” stomach churner.

  274. cranterp

    I read this blog often and I love it, but I’m new to the wonderful world of commenting on it. I’ve been avidly reading the comments on this one, and I’d just like to say (with commas and colons and parentheses thrown in on various levels of incorrectness), before this thread dies completely, Millie: It makes me sad that you’re so fervent with what you think and say, yet you don’t seem to be able to understand what all these wonderful women are saying to you.

    My ASL teacher is fond of telling interpreting majors that second-year students are dangerous, and the reasoning behind that reminds me of you, Millie. Second-year students, in my teacher’s illustrious opinion, know just enough to be loud and proud and offensive, and not nearly enough to be correct or worth listening to. This leads to lots of spouting of completely ridiculous things. Unfortunately, they speak with the authority of a person who knows something, and the lay public tends to believe them. I like to narrate the whole thing with the words, “Open your mouth and let the stupid flow.” So, Millie, when you leave the safe zone of your computer desk and e-debates to venture back out into the world where people listen to you, please refrain from doing just that.

    CF and friends: Good luck with the drinking game. :) Sounds like you’ll need quite the cup-of-coffee-and-advil in the morning.

  275. cranterp

    My word, an emoticon slipped its way into my comment, the blasted thing. My sincerest apologies, ladies.

  276. Pony

    ASL: do you mean American Sign Language? Why are you learning it Cranterp?

  277. cranterp

    Pony: Yes I do. I’m learning it to become an ASL/English interpreter, which is a profession with incredibly diverse opportunities. At this point, I’m all wide-eyed and excited. Why do you ask?

  278. Pony

    Terrific! I have a deaf culture family member and several deaf culture friends, one of whom advocates widely for ASL interpretation, even speaking to the American congress about it. Congratulations, what a great career choice. Where are you studying this?

  279. cranterp

    Rock on! 10 points for recognizing the difference between cultural Deafness and the medical condition of deafness. I’m studying it at Goshen College in Indiana. It’s a wee tiny college, but the program is amazing. It’s 4 year, and it’s the only ASL interpreting program in the United States, at least, that requires students to take the national certification tests as part of the curriculum. One of the best interpreters in the country is the head of the program, so it’s really neato (how articulate, especially for an interpreter, right?) to be studying here.

    Also 10 points for your friend! That’s what people need to do, speak to congress, raise awareness, advocate for qualified interpreters and everything. People are pretty ignorant when it comes to deafness and the realities (and oppression!) surrounding that. Who’s your friend?

  280. Pony

    I’m Canadian, so unless you are, or have been introduced to many deaf culture advocates you would not likely know her. Most of her advocacy work is here, but because of the nature of deaf culture, and Gallaudet being in the States, she’s made several official trips there. She is Hilda Campbell:
    http://www.duvalhouse.com/deaf.html

  281. Shannon

    Millie, seriously, now, why should we believe anything any woman says? Women are over half the world’s population. We all are very different, although most of us have the same genitals. I could say that because my super rich husband buys me sparklies, all the rest of you are just defective ugly women who wish you could get a man. That would be a lie and it’d be right to say that even if my rich husband buys me things(I’m not actually married) this has no bearing on the looks or ideas of other women.

    Anyone can be racist is a common white person’s fallacy as well. Can you honestly say that a woman rolling her eyes and saying white women! is exactly the same as an unarmed man being murdered or a man being beaten with a baseball bat while being called racial slurs?* I’m generally suspicious, but Pony, can you prove that Canada is really an anti racist utopia where the only thing that matters now is safeguarding the delicate feelings of whites?

    *According to white people, only the first is racist and deserves to be complained about- if any black people are killed, there’s always a useful excuse for why that wasn’t really racist. That is why I am suspicious of that very convienant use of the word racist on the part of whites.

  282. cranterp

    You really don’t think that starting a phrase with, “According to [insert socially constructed racial group here] people” isn’t racist? Seriously? When talking about race, using words like “always” and “never” isn’t the greatest idea, m’dear.

    Isn’t the whole point of self-examination and discussion about racism or oppression of any group to realize how pervasive and insidious the racism/oppression actually is? I think putting boundaries on it and saying, “Making racist comments of this nature is bad, but making racist comments of this other nature is not bad. I’m not a racist at all because you’re more of one.” I’m seeing a flaw there.

  283. Mar Iguana

    I could give one flying cock about racism (never) as the only oppressed folks I give a damn about are women (always).

  284. KTal

    I care about racism Mar, as I have seen its effects and live in a culture where it is widespread. It is insidious and I do believe it is very much a part of the oppressive culture we live under, just another facet of it.

    Canterp: “10 points for recognizing the difference between cultural Deafness and the medical condition of deafness.”

    I’ve never heard of ‘cultural deafness’ as oppossed to the medical condition, Pony or Canterp, please educate me. I want to know.

  285. cranterp

    KTal: In my arbitrary points system, you get 10 points for caring about this. Deaf people who use ASL and consider themselves part of Deaf culture don’t consider themselves “handicapped.” While it’s true that they can’t hear, they consider themselves merely a group with a linguistic difference. They don’t see it as a disability or handicap, they see themselves as a group whose native language is ASL and not English. They don’t want to be “cured” or to “be like hearing people,” because they don’t see themselves as having a problem. This view extends in many different directions, including education, cochlear implants, and all sorts of fun (and controversy). This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and it would take a long, long time for me to adequately explain this. I know I wouldn’t do a very good job, either. If you’d like to learn more about this, read “Inside Deaf Culture” by Tom Humphries and Carol Padden. Or, click on the link that Pony posted and read about that book.

    Pony: We talked about that book in one of my classes last year, and I think we may have watched a video with Hilda Campbell in it. I’m not positive about the video, but I know she was mentioned in our unit about influential Deaf women.

  286. saltyC

    Chiming in that racism is everyone’s problem, even to those who are on the nice end of white supremacy. I can see how a black woman rolling her eyes and saying “white women” would make me react and be offended, but that’s because of my privilege. I can see that Shawn Bell’s (sp?) murder will be rationalized away and nobody will pay, and it’s no skin off the nose of most whites.

  287. cranterp

    Ktal: In my arbitrary system, you also get 10 points for caring about this. The synopsis (which is the tip of the proverbial iceberg) is that Deaf people (capital D deaf, culturally Deaf people) feel that they aren’t handicapped or disabled, they just have a linguistic difference. They disagree with the medical community that they need to be “cured” or be “more like hearing people.” This has impacts that range from educational philosophies to parenting philosophis to cochlear implants and beyond. It’s a very controversial issue. I could never adequately explain this, and this blog really isn’t the forum for this. If you’d like to learn more about it, you should read “Inside Deaf Culture” by Tom Humphries and Carol Padden. You’re also welcome to email me. (emilyki@goshen.edu) I’m very sorry if this is an inappropriate location for me to give someone my contact information. I’m new at this and I’m positive that I’ll make some online etiquette flubs. I’m sorry in advance.

    Pony: We actually learned about Hilda Campbell in class last year in our unit about influential Deaf women. Woot.

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