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Feb 09 2007

Femininity kills

odd_faces_of_Twisty.jpg
The author: indescribably pretty as (L to R) Steroid-Faced Cue Ball, Nocturnal Puckerer, Wrinkle-free Café Poseur in Frida Kahlo Undershirt.

I can’t write about nuthin these days without finding myself on the business end of a pious, pointing finger upon which is etched the tiny slogan ‘j’accuse!’ I have been accused of gross intolerance of everything from babies to Down’s syndrome to Korean farmers.

Happily, once in a blue moon the protesting reader has a useful point that spurs me on to feats of glittering self-improvement. For example, when I was accused of a bias against straight people, I took the Project Implicit test and found out that, sure enough, my subconscious prefers queers. I took it to heart. Since then I’ve been working on not sniggering at straight people in public, or loudly asking my sidekick “is that a girl or a boy?”. I no longer try to prevent straight people from getting married, throw rocks at them, rough’em up in dark alleys, or tie them to fences and leave them in the desert to die. I’m still a little weirded out when one moves in next door, but I’m working on appropriate responses to their quaint fence-talk about spic landscapers and fags.

The Project Implicit test absolved me of anti-redheadism, I am happy to say.

Anyway, the other day I — easily one of the oddest-looking people on the planet (see photo above) — was accused of looksism when I off-handedly described fashion designer Donatella Versace as “football-faced”.

Uh-oh, once again an opinion begins to erupt in my obstreperal lobe. As you know, the obstreperal lobe is the lobe where all my most unpopular ideas ferment. Today’s unpopular opinion is this: that it is not un-feminist to critique other women’s actions when their life’s work is the enforcement of oppressive paradigms.

“Hey, wait a minute,” you say. “What do Donatella Versace’s looks have to do with her life’s work?”

Well, it’s like this. Versace’s somewhat other-worldly appearance is the product of a lifetime of having internalized the porno-chic mandate, and sure, on that level, the heart bleeds for her as it does for any deluded, anguished soul.

But one must distinguish between an individual’s right to have cadaver meat stuffed into her personal lips, and her decision to make a fortune commodifying oppression via the cadaver-lippish ideal and selling it to women with her ubiquitous caked-on-baked-on, femininity-deformed face, an image created by the dominating value of pornography in mass media and promulgated personally by Donatella Versace. The woman is an influential professional misogynist at the top of her field who feels no compunction dictating girlish-submission tips to a US Senator. The implicit message is Versace’s fervent hope — now broadcast worldwide by Reuters — that even though Hillary Clinton may become the most powerful human on the planet, she’ll remain sufficiently sensitive to her status on the submissive sexbot continuum.

To the extent that she is something of an iconic public personage, Versace’s looks are her actions.

Versace’s primary product (which is also the entire beauty industry’s primary product) is a pernicious, often debilitating insecurity. This neurosis is as brilliantly marketed as the “cure”: the obsessive purchase of absurd clothing, “scientifically formulated” toxic glop, devices that torment, and harrowing surgeries the sole purpose of which is to advertise one’s status as a receptacle for male incontinence.

If any doubts linger as to the sinister essence of the feminine directive marketed by the beauty industry, I urge you to consider the painful case of poor Anna Nicole Smith, dead of femininity at age 39.* Blonde bombshells are disturbingly disposable.
____________________________

* The system that rewards a woman’s acquiescence to pornulation with fawning attention, cash, glamor, and fame can be fickle. Here is what one enlightened genius commenting on Smith’s Miami-Herald obit had to say about yet another icon destroyed by the pornsick culture he jacks off to on his computer every night: “Anna Nicole Smith — Stupid Life, Lived Stupidly, By a Stupid Person. A disaster from beginning to end.”

118 comments

3 pings

  1. Orange

    I agree that bizarre visages wrought by “cosmetic” surgery are fair game for mockery.

    It’s disingenuous for Ms. Versace to think Sen. Clinton would do better with skirts. In this society? Puh-lease. Then she’d be open to critiques of possibly thick ankles or calves, or less-than-shapely knees, or sending the wrong message with the type of high heels she chose. And the the accessories…it never ends.

    And Versace wants her to switch from pale blue pantsuits to black? I don’t think this culture is ready to welcome a powerful woman wearing black (outside of fashion, black-tie gowns, etc.). How long before the first reference to Halloween witches? The nutbags hate her.

    I’m not crazy about Hillary Clinton, but it’s got nothing to do with her clothing choices.

  2. OM

    I feel like I’m attending the fiery church of Twisty. Preach it, anti-godbag!

  3. Bitey

    Yes. Versace is a victim, but she is also a collaborator. For the vicitm, all sympathy. For the collaborator, all contempt.

    We must remember that we are working in a system that makes collaborators of vicitms, and that traps all of us in a web of double-binds. Responses to such a system cannot be clean or consistent, and sometimes blaming a collaborator looks like blaming a vicitm. But calling Versace a victim without acknowledging her role as collaborator is both infantilizing and useless. She has already been infantilized by the patriarchy; we should hold her responsible for her actions.

  4. Beth in Michigan

    The only thing that surprises me about Anna Nicole’s death is that Pamela Anderson didn’t go first. I worry about their children. If these bimbos have to emulate Marilyn so much I wish they’d have the sense not to reproduce.

  5. Ann

    “Dead of femininity at age 39.” Put it on her damn headstone. Brilliant.

  6. Dot

    But, but . . . .she DOES have a football face! So what?? I have a gnarly wrinkly old face.

    Twisty, your posts are always concise, articulate, and. . I’ll bet you’re clean too! I luv ya.

  7. jezebella

    Anna Nicole Smith never had a chance. Her life was partly a disaster because it was in everyone else’s best interest to exploit her looks, her lack of education, her lack of self-esteem, and her drug addiction.

    I couldn’t even watch her reality show because I could see the tragic early death coming miles away, preventable yet not prevented because a sober, healthy, sane Anna Nicole Smith would have made not a cent, not a sou, of profit for anyone around her.

    “Dead of femininity,” indeed.

  8. Roov

    Well, as long as you don’t hate redheads, a little light remains in my femininity-shrouded world.

  9. Puffin

    “The only thing that surprises me about Anna Nicole’s death is that Pamela Anderson didn’t go first. I worry about their children. If these bimbos have to emulate Marilyn so much I wish they’d have the sense not to reproduce.”

    A considerable dehumanization of three women in as many sentences, Beth. Nice.

    Yes, I will be so happy we these dumbass bitches get it through their thick skulls that capitalizing on the main thing that men value about women makes them completely unfit mothers. That *is* the only thing surprising about Smith’s death, isn’t it? That some other dumb blonde bimbo broad didn’t beat her to the grave? I worry about Anderson’t kids too. Because I know so much about Pamela Anderson’s mothering and all. Because exploiting your “good looks” to make a living in a fucked-up world that values “good looks” *is* akin to beating your kids with a tire iron and making them sleep in the tool shed.

  10. stekatz

    I don’t know. I think Donatella’s fake bake really is about the same hue and tone as a football. By and large I’m pretty forgiving of the old fashion industry, but I think there’s no denying that Donatella’s look is a little, well, uh, high maintenance perhaps.

    What I would really like is to read Twisty’s take on Janice Dickinson. Not once, but twice I got sucked into her show while trying to avoid housework. It’s like a carwreck — you can’t help but watch.

    And Anna Nicole Smith, pretty sad end to a pretty wierd life.

  11. curiousgyrl

    bimbo’s? really?

    Wow.

  12. Heraclitus

    I think the phrase you’re looking for in the caption is “indestructibly pretty.”

  13. SoozeZ

    Twisty, as ever, I love you. I second the previous comment: I feel like I’m witnessing a fabulous lecture in the Church o’ Twisty! (The only “Church” of any sort I would ever let myself be caught in!). Thanks for telling it like it is.

  14. RGM

    CNN has/had up a poll this morning asking what Anna Nicole will best be remembered for in life. Three of the four options don’t even recognize her as a human being, but rather some object symbol of femininity. Horrendously poor taste is the rush to instantly quantify exactly what type of object Anna Nicole best represented.

  15. Jess2

    “Yes. Versace is a victim, but she is also a collaborator. For the vicitm, all sympathy. For the collaborator, all contempt.”

    Well, said Bitey. Interesting to note that DV’s daughter nearly died from anorexia before the family finally put her in treatment. I’m sure it must take a ton of denial/cognitive dissonance for Donatella to keep her head from exploding when she thinks about that.

    Today in the office we had cupcakes for someone’s birthday. A woman currently engaged refused to partake of some of the finest damn cupcakes I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying (not the usual sawdust with crisco frosting, but really, really good, moist cupcakes with delicious frosting and beautiful decoration) because she, already quite thin mind you, is dieting for her wedding. Which is in August. It was all I could do not to ask “What are you trying to do by August– disappear?” But in a sense, the answer to that question is “yes”. Femininity not only kills, it takes away your subjectness/personhood (e.g. the “I” that experiences cupcake euphoria) in order to replace it with objecthood (e.g. the pretty, stick-thin bride for others to look at and enjoy). As we chatted over cupcakes regarding the gossip of the day, it did not seem to occur to anyone that this is the same thing that happened to Anna Nicole (to her breasts, her body, her whole life– all turned from subject into an ultimately disposable object). Anyone that thinks they’re not somewhere on the same spectrum as Anna Nicole, Pamela, et al, better check the contents of their closet, medicine chest and conscience before they cast the first stone. Few of us are brave enough to cast of all traces of the femininity for which the patriarchy rewards us– most of us can only get as far as sometimes vaguely recognizing the ways in which we are complicit. And for that, we have Twisty to thank!

  16. julybirthday

    Here, here! I have an anecdote that will surprise no one: I’m pregnant with my second kid, and will likely develop gestational diabetes since I had it with kiddo #1. This means I’ll be forced onto an all protein & veggie, no sugar-starch diet, and will lose a lot of my own body fat. One of my close friends recently cooed, “Oh, I hope you get it! Won’t that be awesome?”

  17. chump

    Janice Dickinson — she’s the World’s Greatest Supermodel, right? Like shooting fish in a barrel. Not that I’m above that or anything.

  18. S-kat

    “Femininity not only kills, it takes away your subjectness/personhood (e.g. the “I” that experiences cupcake euphoria) in order to replace it with objecthood (e.g. the pretty, stick-thin bride for others to look at and enjoy).”

    Right on! I recently have had more than one person (male) tell me that they couldn’t imagine me ever being suicidal, or understand why I would be unhappy with life when I’m such an attractive [skinny] girl. It’s great to know that my happiness should be based on their judgement of my looks.

    I suppose I should just be *happy* that I can elicit these comments without shaving, dieting, wearing make-up, heels, skirts or any of the other feminine trappings of our society.

    Lucky me.

  19. mearl

    I know I’ll get strips ripped off me for saying this, but if you want to see what Hillary Clinton could become if she took DV’s advice, have a peek at Yulia Timoshenko. Gawd. Why can’t politics be politics and people be people, not fashion shows?

    I’m off to tear my hair for an hour or so.

  20. Meredith

    I just read a story about Smith that had me cringing. From the first sentence, emphasis mine:

    “…investigators said Friday they are awaiting tests that could tell whether the former centerfold died of an overdose, as some close to her suspect.”

    She’s not a woman, just a photograph of legs spread.

    From the second sentence, emphasis mine:

    “…no illegal drugs were discovered in Smith’s room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood after the 39-year-old pinup collapsed there on Thursday.”

    Again, nothing but a picture. Not a person.

    Then, a few sentences further in, emphasis again mine:

    “Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger said there was no indication the voluptuous blonde was the victim of a crime…”

    I think we get it. Nothing but a whore, obviously. Not even a human.

  21. Samantha

    Twisty, you have this knack of saying what I used to know as fact at age 8 but somehow have learned to live with in increasingly dissonant and repressed cognizance ever since.

    Once I was told I was not going to grow up to be a man as I had pictured myself (hey, I was no fool), I became confused and submitted, to a degree (externally only, mind you), to my expected subjective role.

    Hello, my name is Samantha; I’m a recovering sex-bot,* and I blame the patriarchy.

    * Not to be confused with someone who enjoys sex – surely you understand the difference? You do, don’t you?

  22. Sean

    Yesterday in my honors art history class, two women gave a presentation; the subject: Can YOU (as a person) become a work of art? I was wholeheartedly expecting a wonderful and philosophic discussion on the nature of art, whether art was static or not, contextualization, the artist’s choice, etc. Instead, I got two women who pulled out there purses, start putting on lipstick and makeup (which one of them, after class, touched up), and saying “when a person rolls out of bed, they’re not a piece of art, but when they put on make-up and dress up, they are, because they are beautifying themselves to be adored.” They then proceeded to give examples of advertisements in which various music and celebrity artists wore make-up.

    When I objected, saying that the context of the individual in life was out-of-line with the context in which the work of art is viewed, namely considering the art object specifically as having meaning within its aesthetics, they countered with “Well, when we put on make-up, we are purposely objectifying ourselves, to be judged by our physical merits.”

    And when I tell people that we live in a rape culture, they simply scoff.

  23. feminazi

    Twisty, if you don’t get off this hyper political correctness, I’m gonna stop reading you (which you may prefer, heh). You do NOT have to be all things to all people, why on earth do you think it’s even possible? Personally, I’m thinking your readership is growing, and people of ‘the other’ are trying to corral and manipulate you into their version of how you should be. In other words, you have, up til now, been speaking too truthfully and it makes some people a tad uncomfortable to be told so eloquently just how screwed up they actually are. So why stop now just because some bimbo chauvinists can’t handle it? Time to turn it full blast, I say!

    I have been thinking this even before your latest post. Perhaps my tone is too harsh and I apologise. You seem like a tough Twister, one who can appreciate frankness, but again, if I have been excessively harsh I am sorry.

    I’ve read you for many moons without posting, and I’ve always been impressed with your style. Please don’t feel you need to change just because some nervous twits *pretend* to be offended. They are merely trying to water you down and apparently it’s working. Stop giving in to the patriarchy!

  24. j

    “They are merely trying to water you down and apparently it’s working.”

    What are you referring to, feminazi? I didn’t notice it.

  25. vera

    When I attempted to find some actual news on TV last night, I had the misfortune of hearing an interview of some asshat who apparently had once gone out on a date with Anna Nicole Smith. “She had Marilyn Monroe’s mouth!” he gushed. “They had the same lips, the same smile! Kissing Anna’s mouth was just like kissing Marilyn Monroe!” As he spoke, images of the respective belipsticked mouths of MM and ANS appeared on the screen.

    Nice touch, CNN.

  26. Uccellina

    As a redhead, I am relieved.

  27. leen

    Watered down? Hardly. I don’t see this post as a defense of the last, but rather as a delicious footnote.

    “Versace’s primary product (which is also the entire beauty industry’s primary product) is a pernicious, often debilitating insecurity.”

    Ha! Perfect.

  28. Narya

    I agree w/ you about Versace (and fashion designers, etc.).

    However, I’ve been musing about the Oprah post for awhile, and I finally figured out on what ball of wax my brain was chewing (and it fits in with the subject of this post, I believe).

    In another recent post you reiterated that women may have to adopt the trappings of femininity as a survival strategy. It occurs to me that perhaps many of the girls that will attend Oprah’s school might be in need of such strategies (given the patriarchy, I think many or most women use the trappings at some point as a survival strategy). Having access to those strategies may eventually give them the position/power/werewithal to divest themselves of those trappings–but not having access to or knowledge about those strategies/trappings may marginalize them further at this point in their young lives. I don’t know if this is true, and I certainly don’t want to claim that Oprah’s school (or its equivalent) is the only solution or a necessary step, I just wanted to throw this idea into the pool and see if it floated.

  29. Spit The Dummy

    Twisty says:

    “The woman is an influential professional misogynist at the top of her field who feels no compunction dictating girlish-submission tips to a US Senator. The implicit message is Versace’s fervent hope — now broadcast worldwide by Reuters — that even though Hillary Clinton may become the most powerful human on the planet, she’ll remain sufficiently sensitive to her status on the submissive sexbot continuum.”

    Which is the whole point, innit? The patriarchy uses Donatella via Reuters as a mouthpiece to smack down Hilary’s presumption and make sure she knows her place as mere sexbot. Presidential candidate, indeed! She must be scaring some of those boys, eh?

  30. JimmyDean'sFuckedUpCousinClyde

    I’m not so sure it’s feminity killed the big blonde woman.
    Hypersexualization mebbe, rather.
    I remember seeing pornos she did when young, and she seemed desperately to be trying to reach that part of herself others had gotten to first and stolen from her . . . her sense of wholeness.. .
    But maybe I am reading too much into that.
    She hailed from a LastPictureShow-type deprived little Texas town. God knows what they do to children in those places…
    She wasn’t the brightest, and like the Down’s syndrome folks who are least affected, it is psychically the more painful to have that recognition of being “not quite up to” which I am guessing was a part of her ego that spoke loudly and often to her.
    Abused? Everything pointed to it.
    Defining the adult as the shamed and damaged child?
    Maybe I am reading too much into it. . .
    We Americans like our bimbos. The more bimbo, the better.
    Bimbo she was. For all the reasons.
    The poor soul.

  31. kate

    I felt first disbelieve and then sorrow yesterday when I heard she died. Women like her are tragic figures because they become cartoon charactature of that which the patriarchy idealizes. I used to grind my teeth in frustration when I’d hear over and over again how she was hounded, hated and used.

    And of course, since its nothing more than unrealistic idealization, the end result for the person behind the character, is inevitably emptiness. She could have been as dumb as a stump, no matter what, no one has the right to drag around another person like they are a circus monkey.

    I don’t know if she was stupid or if it was an act, I never met her, but I do know that millions of women play the role handed to them since they were young. They play it out, become bitter and alienated, a little neurotic, if they live through it. Many of them die, either by their own hands or those of another.

    I guess that’s one reason I chose to drop out of that race a while ago, its not good for your mental health or even physical health.

    I still say poor Nicole, the patriarchy’s poster girl gone the way they all go.

    And Hillary is going to get a lot of slappin’ around from the Old Guard, Versace is just the warm up I think.

  32. virgotex

    god damn OM, what you said.

    Preach, twisty. Pass the collection plate.

  33. aymayzed

    “indestrictably pretty”?

    Pretty indestructable, Shirley.

  34. aymayzed

    Heraditus -
    ——————————————————————
    I think the phrase you’re looking for in the caption is “indestructibly pretty.”
    ———————————————————————-

    No, I won’t have that.
    Pretty indestructible, more likely.

  35. pisaqauri

    -According to a book on Entrepreneurship, the Execs at Revlon say they sell *not* cosmetics, *not* bat-shit lip-smear, *not* Halle Berry’s photo-shopped visage, but…
    “HOPE”–hope to women that we too can be “beautiful.”

  36. Frigga's Own

    I had the same thought about Oprah that Narya had, but it saddens me deeply that anyone has to pass on “femininity as a survival technique”, whether it’s taught conciously or unconciously.

    I don’t personally give two hoots what Hillary wears, either people will take her seriously or not, and those that don’t can take a flying leap. However, almost every guide I’ve ever read for interviews and presentations has suggested wearing dark colors because it supposedly projects authority (or more accurately, triggers the intended audience to believe that the wearer has authority). Unfortunately, none of these books ever cites a study, so I suppose it’s another case of annecdote not being the singular of data.

    I’m fairly sure that male politicians hire media directors and stylists when they’re campaigning that make suggestions about what to wear, the difference is that female politicians recieve these suggestions and criticisms from everyone because it’s easier than focusing on the issues. Versace is just another nitwit in a long line of nitwits. I’ll bet Hillary has a stylist who is constantly hammering her to wear soft colors so she appears to be palatably “feminine” to the voters, perhaps even modeling her wardrobe after Jackie O.

    It’s all so very high school, the class president is the one who wins the popularity and looks contest. Maybe she should start promising no weekend homework assignments and better lunches.

  37. NicoleGW

    My apologies if this has been posted in an earlier comment somewhere already, but these two most recent posts reminded me of a charming article I read recently. The NYTimes, riding the wave of Pelosi’s recent ascension, decided to publish an article about being a woman of political power in the United States government.

    It’s about fashion, of course! I mean, it’s not like there could possibly be anything else of even the slightest interest to write about on this topic. Check it.

  38. Mollie

    Allegra Versace is the daughter’s name. I am happy to hear she got treatment. Last time I saw a photo of her she was with her Mother shopping, and she looked like the living dead. Maybe Donatella should pay more attention to what her daughter eats rather than what Hillary wears.

  39. smelly

    Coincidentally, right after reading this post, I did something I almost never do – I watched TV. And holy crap, all the women look like football-face, in one way or another. Does nobody keep their original lips anymore? Caricature breasts that look like a 9-year-old’s drawing of a “sexy lady”.

    Quite the contrast to read the last two posts then catch the patriarchy in action, moments later.

  40. Sam

    I’ll bet Hillary has a stylist who is constantly hammering her to wear soft colors so she appears to be palatably “feminine” to the voters

    Sure does. As with Hillary, who I think wears more pink blouses under her suits since becoming a Senator than I remember seeing her in before, I’ve noticed many women in jobs still considered dudely wear more pink and red blouses than the general female population. Feminine color-wearing is especially egregious among women newscast anchors.

  41. octogalore

    “poor Anna Nicole Smith, dead of femininity”

    An addiction to being commercial, via making a caricature of oneself in ways that go far, far beyond the level of “femininity” generally adopted to exist happily in our culture, plus whatever pharmaceuticals typically accompany a tabloid lifestyle, does not equal a death by femininity.

    It’s totally legit to mourn the insecurity peddled by the fashion and celebrity culture. But to generalize so as to indict femininity in general for the extremes of this insecurity — a glass of wine does not an alcoholic make — is headline-grabbing just like the tabloids themselves.

  42. chump

    Octogalore, octogalore, octogalore. If femininity didn’t exist, Anna Nicole Smith wouldn’t be dead.

  43. Annie G

    I was at my Mother’s when the news broke, it was a shocking piece of news. Meredith, we noticed the same as you – they rarely refered to Anna Nicole as a person. They only mentioned her motherhood in relation to the death of her son and impending paternity suit.

    It’s a sad story. To me, Anna Nicole Smith was just another woman doing what she knew how to survive. Just like the rest of us. RIP.

  44. Annie G

    JimmyDean’sFuckedUpCousinClyde: Children are fucked over in every city and every nation. I doubt it’s any more or less prevalent in small Texas towns.

  45. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh thank the goddess: Twisty doesn’t hate redheads, after all. I can go back to trying to turn gay again. Whew.

  46. octogalore

    Chump — I don’t think anyone, yet, can prove that assertion. Plenty of celebs have checked out early without femininity as a factor. I’m not arguing that when someone feels the need to multiply most aspects of femininity as defined by this site by ten so as to grab a place in tabloid notoriety, it isn’t damaging. But that applies to abuse of many things not damaging in moderation.

  47. Twisty

    So Octogalore, is your position that some oppression is OK?

  48. octogalore

    Twisty — as you know, my belief is that femininity does not equal oppression. My position is that some femininity is OK, yes.

    As I said recently on another site: getting rid of the patriarchy, in my view, isn’t going to happen by getting rid of non-burdensome forms of femininity — lipstick, dresses, whatever. The underlying power structures will still be there. It’s only going to take place by infiltrating and gaining market share in the major power structures — governmental, financial, industrial. When women and men are seen as equally powerful in the world as we know it, and women have the economic ability to kick someone, whether in the domestic and professional sphere, to the curb for certain attitudes, then those attitudes will shift. Picking and choosing things for reform that are merely symptoms of the uneven balance of power is only a bandaid solution, and therefore not a solution at all.

  49. FemiMom

    COMPASSION is what is missing in so much that has been written about Anna Nicole in the mainstream media. I am glad that there is a feminist community – here – that can acknowledge that this woman had few options and her choices were limited BY THE PATRIARCHY. Lack money? Guidance? Book smarts? Better shake that money maker, sister! This is the disgusting reality of our world.
    Anna Nicole Smith lived by the patriarchy and died by the patriarchy. Her passing makes me really angry. Sad & angry.

  50. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Preach, Twisty!

    Anna-Nicole is worthy of compassion, but we’ve gotten media sleeze at its finest. Responsible media could use this tragic death used as an opportunity to focus on mental health issues and to help other people find mental health resources. The patriarchy, however, is opposed to mentally healthy individuals for its own perpetuation.

    Thanks for not hating us straight moms. ;-)

    I personally am very fond of redheaded people!

  51. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Donatella belongs in the category “scares small children,” and thus she is fair game.

  52. maribelle

    Perhaps femininity is like arsenic; a little and you don’t notice it so much. A little more and you build up a resistance to it, even as it slowly corrodes your system. And eventually, too much is too much and it kills you.

    R.I.P. Sister Anna Nicole.

  53. CLD

    Being one who often gets the, “is that boy or a girl” question hurled at my back after I leave an area, it is comforting to know that since feminity kills, I shall live forever.

    You rock, Twisty.

  54. CLD

    Of course, it would help if my fingers could spell as well as my mind… however, I’m sure the gist of my previous comment is discernable. Heh.

  55. Beth in Michigan

    Puffin, I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant at all. In a misguided attempt to be brief I must have deleted half of that comment before I posted it, thus rendering it half-baked. But I was unable to edit my unprofessional, imperfect, poorly worded opinion at the time so I just let it go. Mea culpa. I’ll just go crawl back under my snow bank now.

  56. octogalore

    Re arsenic — a little of something must be bad if an overdose is harmful? Yeah, too many counterexamples to even list here. Exercise, working, sex…

    The sad truth — people who aren’t able to benefit from the gains that can come from a reasonable amount of something are always going to be tempted to claim that it’s all deadly.

  57. smmo

    Octogalore: So in your view, any criticism I make of high heels is really because I am too old and fat and teetery to wear them and therefore losing out on the benefits that high heels offer.

    It isn’t surprising to come upon the “only ugly gals need feminism” cliché, but it is surprising to come upon it at IBTP.

  58. maribelle

    Re arsenic — a little of something must be bad if an overdose is harmful?

    Pointless misdirection. ANYTHING is bad in excess–e.g. vital nutrients water and salt can kill you.

    I am suggesting something more subtle; that femininity might seem benign, even pleasant, and its toxic effects build up in your system like poison and eventually sicken you-or even kill. Things that make you a sex object are inherently dangerous because it is not safe in our culture to be in the sex class. Check homicide, child abuse and rape stats among women.

    Arsenic is an illlustrative example because women also used to put it on their faces, and in some cases eat it, in previous decades to look “beautiful” back when “beautiful” was defined as “pale.”

    And if you and I had been having this conversation then, you’d be lathering it on your face saying “come on, what’s the harm?” and I’d be saying “but it smells funny–it makes my eyes burn–I think my mouse died after eating some.”

    And you’d say…what? “You, maribelle, do not get the gains that come with arsenic use on your face” without questioning for a moment

    a. why a girl should put *poison* on her face to look “good” and
    b. who wins and who loses when women engage in this behavior
    or even c. why aren’t the boys putting arsenic on their faces?

    You would have lacked knowledge and cultural spective to know this was in fact a fatal idea, in the pursuit of beauty. Like so many throughout history.

    The sad truth — people who aren’t able to benefit from the gains that can come from a reasonable amount of something are always going to be tempted to claim that it’s all deadly.

    Excuse me? Who “aren’t able to benefit from the gains that come from a reasonable amount of” feminism? Please clarify.

    And again, why should there be “gains” associated with femininity? Who benefits from those “gains”? Who loses?

  59. su

    nitpicky, but lipstick while not arsenic contains toxins that are inevitably ingested. Not harmless. At all.

  60. mearl

    The personal gains that one piles up by making use of femininity are usually found at the root of one’s defense of femininity. Who gives a shit about the large binding web of femininity that affects all women when you can get yourself some ladder-climbin brownie points, some money, and some pats on the head from the people with the money and brownie points to hand out? Don’t you know that being political means caring only about your own life? Jeez.

  61. octogalore

    Smmo: well, it’s surprising for sure, because that’s not actually what’s being said.

    For one thing: who said anything about “ugly”? That’s not at all what was meant. Obviously, someone who felt that way about themselves could benefit from doing something to not feel that way about themselves. Not being able to benefit, indicates a mental rather than physical state of being tied to an extreme that will not allow any flexibility.

    Also, claiming that I’m actually making that statement, you’re obviously saying that my point of view doesn’t equal feminism whereas yours does. That’s pretty presumptuous. Who are you to say I’m not a feminist?

    Maribelle – the tired little arsenic example really isn’t relevant here. Your “slathering” example, speaking of misdirection, is even worse – completely ignorant assumption-making. How do you know I wear more makeup than you do? How do you know my “femininity” doesn’t consist of exercise and clothing that I can assure you, in fifty years will not be proven to be dangerous.

    “why should there be ‘gains’ associated with femininity? Who benefits from those ‘gains’? Who loses?”

    Well, in fact, maybe there shouldn’t be gains associated. Did I say there should? I said there ARE. Whenever there are gains from something, whether it’s knowing the right stocks, presenting a certain image, making fun of someone else’s feminism to everyone else’s glee, there are going to be people who gain and people who lose. It’s not about SHOULD, it’s about reality. I happen to hold the much-maligned-at-IBTP belief that women playing the game in ways that they enjoy in an informed way, that are not burdensome or dangerous, can help them to gain power in ways that will ultimately place them in a position to dictate the rules of the game and then, and ONLY then, women can change the game itself.

  62. thebewilderness

    Octogalore,
    Your cost benefit analysis chills my heart.

  63. smmo

    Octogalore said: “Obviously, someone who felt that way about themselves could benefit from doing something to not feel that way about themselves. Not being able to benefit, indicates a mental rather than physical state of being tied to an extreme that will not allow any flexibility.”

    What a telling leap, that a person who rejects the “benefits” of femininity feels bad about themselves. Oddly enough I feel a kabillion times better about myself now – 40 , overweight, greying, sagging here and there – than I did at 25, when I was thin and spent every spare moment and penny on my looks.

  64. maribelle

    Octo–arsenic was both two analogies, one comparing arsenic as a substance to cultural femininity and the other a story of two girls circa 1880 (octo and mari) playing makeup. You could have discussed either analogy in context, instead you insult me for making them, and literalize them to the point of uselessness. Like I were judging how thick your make-up is. Dishonest dialogue, as usual for you.

    You really think women regularly call you out because you advocate excercise? Dishonest once again.

    women playing the game in ways that they enjoy in an informed way, that are not burdensome or dangerous, can help them to gain power in ways that will ultimately place them in a position to dictate the rules of the game and then, and ONLY then, women can change the game itself.

    The mind reels:

    1. You don’t change the game from within when the deck is stacked against you–the house makes the odds.

    2. Playing male sanctioned games for power have never gotten women anywhere except more hated, more prostituted, more thrown under the patriarchal bus. Women’s gains in the 19th and 20th century were about making a constant, relentless, drumbeat for change against male patriarchal bastions of privilege. And many of those gains are being eroded away and women slip back into high heels and pantihose, congratulating themselves on a job well done.

    3. The jury’s still out on what’s “burdensome” and “dangerous” (see arsenic, 1880, a generation of women on anti-depressants, botox, cosmetic surgery, stomach stapling, labia-mutilation for prettiness, Anna Nicole Smith, and a gazillion other examples.)

    Look, octo, you wanna put on some kicky heels or whatever, go for it. Noone’s saying don’t wear a dress (and if they are I’m screwed -I wear lots of them.) Stop looking for Twisty or anyone here to validate your personal clothing choices. Take some damned responsibility for your own approval.

    Because what you’re doing is dangerous, insisting there is no harm to some clearly inherently dangerous practices in the name of “beauty” or “gaining power” or winning some damned game. Indeed, you insist it’s the ONLY way. Women like you have kept women back for centuries. I call bullshit and I call enough.

    Women don’t need more male approval. Women need the courage to withstand and ignore the disapproval of men.

    ultimately place them in a position to dictate the rules of the game and then, and ONLY then, women can change the game itself.

    Bullshit. (And interesting calling women “them”–I thought it was “us”, sister.) Femininity exists in patriarchy, not a bubble, and puts women in the sex class, the non-human class, the receiving end of patriarchal decree not the giver of it.

    You don’t win–let alone change– the football game by cheering from the sidelines. You’ve got to get your hand on the damned football or you aren’t even in the game.

  65. octogalore

    Smmo – please do not twist my words. You were the one who used the term “ugly girl.” I then said that if someone DID feel that way about themselves, ie ugly, they could benefit by NOT feeling that way. Pretty basic. I didn’t say that anyone SHOULD feel that way who didn’t adopt femininity, or that anyone who DIDN’T feel that way should adopt it. Please don’t work so hard to construct some sort of strawgirlygirl out of me. You don’t have enough to go on to do it right.

    And, congratulations for feeling good about yourself. I do find it odd that, at 40 — I’m almost there — you would refer to yourself as “old and teetery,” but I’m sure there’s some explanation.

  66. octogalore

    Mari — as someone who feels free to throw out “dishonest” fairly liberally, you have no right to critique what portions of your diatribes I choose to discuss. Most of it is so far out that I frankly don’t know what to do with it. Like, when have I ever needed anyone here to validate my clothing choices? I have mentioned them, like others have, to add color and perspective. You’ve clearly formed some kind of conclusion about me and are throwing out all kinds of weird stuff, hoping some of it will stick. Pardon me for dodging the smelly chicken wings, instead of picking them up and trying to dissect them.

    In fact, your statement “You don’t win–let alone change– the football game by cheering from the sidelines. You’ve got to get your hand on the damned football or you aren’t even in the game” echoes part of what I am saying. Although, I probably would not have gone to the male sports arena for my analogies. But I agree, you have to get in the game. And that’s the economic, legal, political power structure.

    Gains are being eroded, not because women are wearing heels, but because they are opting out of this structure. Once women have more critical mass, they (frankly, I’ve been saying “they” because I’ve been assuming this will not happen in my lifetime) will be able to change the rules. This isn’t going to happen by bemoaning the male power structure and not wanting any part of it. Audre Lorde notwithstanding, we have to take the math and science and business classes, get into the investment banks, law firms, and Supreme Court, and create some precedents in our name. My point about femininity — if it helps to wear nicely tailored suits because image counts along the way, I don’t see this as encouraging any kind of dangerous behavior.

    I don’t see this as our responsibility completely, and that’s a different discussion. But I do think we need to get more market share in the game, as you put it, and infighting about femininity isn’t going to help build the kind of partnering that will be critical in this effort.

  67. smmo

    Octogalore said: “The sad truth — people who aren’t able to benefit from the gains that can come from a reasonable amount of something are always going to be tempted to claim that it’s all deadly.”

    Under what circmstances could someone be unable to “benefit” from femininity if not a paucity of looks?

    Octogalore you might consider why it is that when women do infiltrate patriarchal bastions they are required to be more feminine. Historically when excluded groups do “succeed” they downplay their otherness. Think Jews changing their names, African-Americans speaking more like white people. What you describe as women “playing the game in ways that they enjoy in an informed way” is the deluded thinking of victims. As maribelle said: “Playing male sanctioned games for power have never gotten women anywhere except more hated, more prostituted, more thrown under the patriarchal bus.” So if you gotta be an investment banker, be one, and if you think wearing a short skirt will make you a better one, ok, but please don’t tell me it is joyful.

  68. octogalore

    “Playing male sanctioned games for power have never gotten women anywhere except more hated, more prostituted, more thrown under the patriarchal bus.”

    So, do you think Nancy Pelosi, who employs a style consultant, has never gotten anywhere in a male sanctioned power system? What about Jamie McCourt, president of the Dodgers? I do not know Nancy, but know that Jamie in particular is very passionate about what she does and also has used her position to help other women in the field to make their own rules and paths. I doubt either would agree with this analysis.

    “So if you gotta be an investment banker, be one, and if you think wearing a short skirt will make you a better one, ok, but please don’t tell me it is joyful.”

    Please tell me where I said that wearing short skirts, or any other femininity symbols, makes one better at ones job. Or, where I suggested that showing skin was a desirable way of rising in ones job. What I did say, and which may not be optimal but certainly is factual, is that image counts. This doesn’t mean we have to be skinny or porny. But there are some norms which are probably easier to observe, if one wants a smooth path to a place where one can help change the norms. I don’t think that’s the only way, or that it should be the only way. But I do think it’s the easiest.

    I am not, as it happens, an investment banker, nor am I an apologist for the current centers of power. But I do think these can only change from the inside. I think it takes power to change power.

  69. maribelle

    octogalore wrote: “So, do you think Nancy Pelosi, who employs a style consultant, has never gotten anywhere in a male sanctioned power system? ”

    Nancy Pelosi succeeded IN SPITE of a male sanctioned power system–she employed the “constant, relentless, drumbeat for change” that I mentioned above. She is the *First Lady speaker of the house!* as they will say about her every day until she dies. The male sanctioned role that femininity demands for Ms. Pelosi would be home reading stories to all those grandchildren. RE: stylist–I could care less. Ever been around a politician up close? Male and female–they all use stylists.

    Here’s the part of your view that is not only deeply wrong, but dangerous:

    women playing the game in ways that they enjoy in an informed way, that are not burdensome or dangerous, can help them to gain power in ways that will ultimately place them in a position to dictate the rules of the game and then, and ONLY then, women can change the game itself.

    ONLY by playing the game? ONLY by being following patriarchal decrees (the less annoying ones) will we storm the gates and take power? ONLY Then we change the game? No. Won’t work and will only backfire.

    1. When has that ever worked, historically? More often, women have ceded power and fallen in line expecting to get power, only to get tossed aside when the revolution is over. (see french revolution, african american history)

    2. I don’t accept that we can say for certain which feminine practices are “burdensome or dangerous” anymore than a fish can discourse on the ramifications of being wet. We are steeped in patriarchy and expectations of femininity. To expect that we are not affected by it, and in a way that serves the powers-that-be and not women, is beyond naive.

    3. Women losing is part of the patriarchal game. It’s not just some unfortunate by product, that’s the game–keeping power at the expense of women, brown people, children, animals, etc. If the game is set up for you to lose, why play it? It’s not the only game in town–walk away and take your money elsewhere.

    4. Worship of youth — another way femininity controls women. As women begin to achieve more of a sense of our own power as we age, we also become invisible in popular culture. We are replaced by Stepford Sexbots and thrown out of the game before we can begin to change it.

    PS Those approaching 40 might want to consider #4 carefully.

  70. maribelle

    octogalore wrote: “So, do you think Nancy Pelosi, who employs a style consultant, has never gotten anywhere in a male sanctioned power system? ”

    Nancy Pelosi succeeded IN SPITE of a male sanctioned power system–she employed the “constant, relentless, drumbeat for change” that I mentioned above. She is the *First Lady speaker of the house!* as they will say about her every day until she dies. The male sanctioned role that femininity demands for Ms. Pelosi would be home reading stories to all those grandchildren. (RE: stylist–I could care less. Ever been around a politician up close? Male and female–they all use stylists.)

    Here’s the part of your view that is not only deeply wrong, but dangerous:

    women playing the game in ways that they enjoy in an informed way, that are not burdensome or dangerous, can help them to gain power in ways that will ultimately place them in a position to dictate the rules of the game and then, and ONLY then, women can change the game itself.

    ONLY by playing the game? ONLY by being following patriarchal decrees (the less annoying ones) will we storm the gates and take power? ONLY Then we change the game? No. Won’t work and will only backfire.

    1. When has that ever worked, historically? More often, women have ceded power and fallen in line expecting to get power, only to get tossed aside when the revolution is over. (see french revolution, african american history)

    2. RE: feminine practices that are not “burdensome or dangerous”: can a fish discourse on the ramifications of being wet? We are steeped in patriarchy and expectations of femininity. To think we are not affected by it, and in a way that serves the powers-that-be and not women, is beyond naive. (In practical terms, people need to consider the ramifications of their choices, not just figure out how best to advantage themselves.)

    3. Women losing is part of the patriarchal game. It’s not just some unfortunate by product, that’s the game–keeping power at the expense of women, brown people, children, animals, etc. If the game is set up for you to lose, why play it? It’s not the only game in town–walk away and take your money elsewhere.

    4. Worship of youth — another way femininity controls women. As women begin to achieve more of a sense of our own power as we age, we also become invisible in popular culture. We are replaced by Stepford Sexbots and thrown out of the game before we can begin to change it.

    PS Those approaching 40 might want to consider #4 carefully.

  71. smmo

    Octogalore said: “The sad truth — people who aren’t able to benefit from the gains that can come from a reasonable amount of something are always going to be tempted to claim that it’s all deadly.”

    and still declines to defend or explain it, despite being challenged to do so several times.

    Maribelle said everything that needed to be said regarding Pelosi.

    Octogalore again: “Please tell me where I said that wearing short skirts, or any other femininity symbols, makes one better at ones job.”

    You didn’t say it specifically. I used that as an example of, what was it “women playing the game in ways that they enjoy in an informed way.” It wasn’t a particularly subtle example, I will admit.

    Maribelle said: “I don’t accept that we can say for certain which feminine practices are “burdensome or dangerous” anymore than a fish can discourse on the ramifications of being wet.”

    I think I have a crush now. GENIUS. I will add that high heels are literally dangerous, and that scanty clothing a crapshoot, as they might get you promoted but might also excuse an assault. Tricky business, this game playing.

  72. octogalore

    Um, so Nancy Pelosi wasn’t playing the game? As far as I know, she shaves her legs, wears makeup and designer suits. She was able to go against the grain and employ the “constant, relentless, drumbeat for change” because she employs various femininity tools to enable her to flout others.

    The biggest part of my “then and only then” is the importance of, a la Linda Hirsman, women rising in the world’s power centers and thereby altering them in our image. Why are you focusing inanely on the sartorial aspects of this when my main point is the professional one? “When has that ever worked, historically?” If we didn’t have Pelosi, Clinton, Kathleen Sullivan, Meeker, Meg Whitman, and folks like them, there’d be a lot steeper path for women in politics, law, industry, etc. Maybe you feel we should “walk away” from these areas, but for those of us who choose not to, it’s nice to have role models. And these women all played to the patriarchal power structure in some ways, while keeping separate in more important ones.

    “If the game is set up for you to lose, why play it? It’s not the only game in town–walk away and take your money elsewhere.”

    Wow, I don’t know – maybe because playing it can get you the money in the first place? If you’re lucky enough to have money without getting involved in capitalism, great. I accumulated six figures in debt getting through school, and my personal experience is that while the patriarchy erects obstacles making it tougher for women NOT to lose, it’s counterproductive to assume you will lose, or to assume that you can’t infiltrate and make changes.

    “As women begin to achieve more of a sense of our own power as we age, we also become invisible in popular culture. We are replaced by Stepford Sexbots and thrown out of the game before we can begin to change it.”

    Absolutely, worship of youth in a patriarchy takes a much greater toll on women. But again you’re underestimating our power. We can’t begin to change the game in our 40s, 50s or 60s? Again, what about Pelosi or Clinton? Sure, if you’re trying to change the modeling industry or the entertainment field, from the talent standpoint, you’re going to be unfairly discarded much of the time. But from behind a big desk, there are many ways women can get more powerful with age.

    “4. Worship of youth — another way femininity controls women. As women begin to achieve more of a sense of our own power as we age, we also become invisible in popular culture. …PS Those approaching 40 might want to consider #4 carefully.”

    As I had said I was in my late 30s, to which you’re clearly referring (meow!) I really appreciate your helpful insights here, sister. Yes, it’s certainly true that you don’t see female leads in many films who are 45 .

    Still, my reaction to your much-appreciated concern is the following:
    • I don’t expect this situation to change in our lifetimes.
    • I think a healthy way to age is to substitute other values for the values we place on appearance. Whether it’s career status and impact, travel, art, philanthropy, a combination, or none of the above.
    • I still don’t think that means we need to stop doing “femininity” things that make us feel good.
    • If the “invisibility” you warn about does not kick in immediately and I get a few more attempted pickups at the gym by cute college guys, I will probably not either feel degraded, nor worry too much about the inevitable time when this stops happening.
    • Despite somebody above characterizing age 40 as “old and fat and teetery,” I do not plan to describe myself in this way for some time. Not, of course, that any of these things are bad things. But due to your concern, I felt it important to provide this additional reassurance.

  73. smmo

    Isn’t there a rule somewhere that any post that begins with “Um” has no credibility?

    Octogalore said: “The sad truth — people who aren’t able to benefit from the gains that can come from a reasonable amount of something are always going to be tempted to claim that it’s all deadly.”

    and still declines to defend or explain it, despite being challenged to do so several times. Again.

    I characterized myself as old and fat and teetery, not all 40 year olds. I’m actually 42. I do have particularly poor balance and always have, pre fat and pre forty, but high heels are stupid regardless.

    ” I still don’t think that means we need to stop doing “femininity” things that make us feel good.”

    Please, for the love of tacos, consider that maybe what makes you feel good may not necessarily BE good. For instance, I love potato chips. They make me feel good. However, they are not good for me.

  74. octogalore

    Smmo, here’s a little reading comprenehsion tutorial for your viewing pleasure:

    octogalore
    Feb 12th, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Not being able to benefit, indicates a mental rather than physical state of being tied to an extreme that will not allow any flexibility.

    “Please, for the love of tacos, consider that maybe what makes you feel good may not necessarily BE good. For instance, I love potato chips. They make me feel good. However, they are not good for me.”

    I would ask that you keep out of my closet, and I’ll keep out of your pantry.

    We could, of course, debate where potato chips vs silk dresses fall on the “not good for me” scale, and I would venture a guess that you would not win that argument. I mean, just because my silk dresses have been good for the Patriarchy (or so I’ve been told), I don’t feel that they are bad for me, or that they set a bad example. But generally, I think it’s a good idea to respect other people’s choices, when you don’t know much about the context in which they are being made.

  75. smmo

    “Not being able to benefit, indicates a mental rather than physical state of being tied to an extreme that will not allow any flexibility”

    or a colonized state of mind. Are you claiming then that only the inflexible of mind reject femininity? Isn’t that a disparagement of those who choose to opt out of the pretty game? I do admit that it must take some pretty amazing gymnastics to not acknowledge that the pretty game is anti-woman and a cornerstone of patriarchal bullshit.

    “But generally, I think it’s a good idea to respect other people’s choices, when you don’t know much about the context in which they are being made.”

    Context? No, I don’t know your context. I don’t know you. I’m sure their is a long explanation but it really doesn’t matter. Yes, generally it is a good idea to respect blah blah blah. I can respect someone’s choice, their right to make that choice, and still think they are full of it.

  76. octogalore

    See, now, that’s the difference between flexibility and rigidity. I don’t think that femininity has to equal “pretty.”

    “Are you claiming then that only the inflexible of mind reject femininity?”

    I do believe that it’s inflexible to reject everything about femininity because its extremes are dangerous, yes. So far, you haven’t pointed out any examples of women who’ve attained power or created change in the areas which I have, multiple times so I won’t repeat them here, argued are the main areas women need to populate so as to crush the patriarchy, without any attributes of femininity as defined here. Nor have you illustrated why my belief that these are indeed the main areas is not justified.

    As to gymnastics: yes, it’s a strong point.

  77. smmo

    Golda Meir
    Helen Thomas

    Two right off the top of my head.

    But I’m sure Nancy Pelosi will be glad to know that she “employs various femininity tools to enable her to flout others,” rather than her intelligence or her political acumen. I mean really, what does she do, stab them with her pumps? Stun them with a spray of Chanel No. 5?

    Any women who gains power in a male arena no matter how attractive of “feminine” she may be will be pilloried for her looks, her clothes, her weight, etc. Hillary is always Hillary, never Senator Clinton, and she has chunky ankles too. It is a loser’s game and I decry it. You will say that Clinton and Pelosi needed to play a part to be allowed in the boy’s club and that they will do good for all women. I think it is window dressing. As long as we acquiesce to their completely unecessary, ever-shifting and soul deadending requirements we will lose.

    “I don’t think that femininity has to equal ‘pretty.’ ” I think Twisty’s post title here says it all. It kills the pretty and the unpretty equally.

  78. octogalore

    Helen was known for her bright red lipstick, and her reddish hair came out of a bottle.

    Golda wore chunky necklaces and dresses.

    You’re not addressing the points I’m making. Of course, “any women who gains power in a male arena no matter how attractive or ‘feminine’ she may be will be pilloried for her looks, her clothes, her weight, etc.” But even though having so few women in such positions makes them more visible, brings out the patriarchal judgments, etc., and allows people like you to refer to their being in the boys club as “window dressing,” darn right their being there is good for all women. A few leads to more, and after awhile it’s not a novelty, and the “soul deadening requirements” die down.

    An example: if you lined up the top ten litigators in California who were women in 1977 with the top in 2007, you would see a dramatic difference. Thirty years ago, the attire, makeup, etc. was more uniform. In 2007, of course there is still a lot of “femininity” out there, but there is much more variety, with some employing much less than their earlier counterparts. However, these earlier counterparts paved the way: by BEING THERE. It wasn’t a loser’s game, and it’s not by any stretch over. But I can think of a few attorneys I know quite well who like wearing comfortable panstsuits and flat shoes and no makeup, being able to work from home (sometimes), and being able to tell the guys when they’re being assholes (sometimes). Was getting to this point a loser’s game? Is getting farther a loser’s game?

  79. hedonistic

    Octogalore, know that on THIS site at least, femininity equals Submission to the Rule of the Fathers, and on THIS site Submission is BAD.* Consequently, when you conflate femininity and femaleness, or defend submission to patriarchal norms as harmless (to whom?) you set off alarms in folks’ heads and should expect the responses that you continue to get.

    I’d be the first to admit that I’ve adopted the trappings of femininity for PERSONAL GAIN in my private life, even though I don’t “need” to do it for my survival. My pinup-girl persona is FUN! in that it brings me pleasure, approval, and lost of neat stuff. That I try to be subversive about it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a loser’s game: Every dime I spend on this shit detracts from my ability to support myself financially without a man’s assistance (and once my “cute” years pass I’ll be kicked to the curb anyway). Meanwhile it holds up a standard of beauty that most women on this planet cannot afford to live up to.

    Unfortunately my physical appearance also broadcasts “Yay Patriarchy” to men and arguably harms women who are unable to adopt and discard femininity on a whim as a form of play or “personal expression.” I GET IT. Do you? Bottom line: My attitudes about femininity are colored by my class privilege and I bet yours are too. It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped playing with it; it just means you won’t see me trying to defend it HERE.

    *Whether submission is inherently “bad” is a debate for another time and place, and if I may venture the guess, Twisty would probably prefer that the debate not take place here?

  80. Twisty

    “*Whether submission is inherently “bad” is a debate for another time and place, and if I may venture the guess, Twisty would probably prefer that the debate not take place here?”

    Ha, Hedonistic, my views on the inherent badness of submission are pretty much the main topic of the blog. But as you protested when I posted that BDSM comment a week or two ago, “I thought this was a Free Zone!” And so it is. Mostly.

    Meanwhile, I’d like to suggest that you’re a hairy dyke trapped in a hottie’s body.

  81. hedonistic

    (laughing)

    Now that you mention it, the subtitle on my “Screechy Feminist” tag on the sidebar chez moi goes something like “Underneath this femmy facade lies a humorless hairylegged feminist. HAH!” Now if I could only lose my addiction to funk-filled bratwursts everything could fall nicely into place. Alas: I am doomed!

  82. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Yea, it’s a real cake walk for us female attorneys to break into the higher escalon of male-dominated legal fields now, especially litigation. We even get to wear pants and call our opponents “assholes.” Many of us get regularly *invited* to work in family law by our male colleagues. How thoughtful…

    I was the only female in our law school section to make law review. I guess you could say that I’ve been on the “front lines” on the war against the patriarchy for a while. I get battle fatigue, but I’m determined to soldier on…

  83. octogalore

    HP, know that in any forum with independently minded participants, there are no definitions that are given. It may be easier for certain of us to submit to groupthink in whatever environment we are in. I am not in that group, and personally have no problem with the responses I get. I appreciate your continued attempts to explain why I get them, but please know that this is not necessary.

    You clearly are not grasping my points, or are deliberately reducing them to stereotypes that can be easily ridiculed. I am not defending submission to patriarchal norms as harmless. I am, on the other hand, saying that I believe a certain amount of adherence can provide a platform for change.

    Personally, I believe that defending why certain forms of professional attire are not worthwhile fighting against, with the larger goal of attaining professional power that can make much more of a difference for other women, is much more legitimate than claiming the party line here and playing pin-up to attract “generous men” offline. As you acknowledge, once your “cute” years pass, you’ll be kicked to the curb. I won’t. Wonder why?

    Lipstick and Birk Wearing Mom: of course, it’s no cakewalk for female attorneys. Did I say that? I said, because of some of the pioneers, who had to play even more games than we do, it’s easier for us now. Not a cake walk, and I don’t think it will be soon. Congratulations on law review and on staying on the front lines.

  84. smmo

    Helen Thomas is alive and well, not sure why you refer to her in the past tense.

    “A few leads to more, and after awhile it’s not a novelty, and the “soul deadening requirements” die down.”

    This is stupidly naive. There’s been more for awhile now and the pressures to look “femininine” have only gotten more intense.

    Hedonistic gets it. So do I. As Hedonistic said, I harm my own economic power with how much I spend on my looks, and it is more than you’d probably guess. Because I’m afraid. Because I am a member of the sex class. I should be stronger, but sometimes I’m not.

    Anyway, perhaps you’d like to think of the Ramos family when defending feminine trappings as harmless fun an/or necessary for success.

  85. octogalore

    Smmo: before calling me stupidly naive, keep in mind that I am giving examples from my own experience. I am not qualified to talk about mining or computer games. I am, however, very conversant with the inner workings of law firms in California, and to the extent that I have noted distinct, though not ideal and still very probematic, changes in femininity-expectation, this isn’t naive. Nor is it saying we still don’t have a long path. But yes, I’ve seen some requirements eliminated.

    If “getting it” is blithely indulging in the likes of botox and collagen, and then whining about being a member of the sex class, then I guess I don’t.

    Finally, if you see death by anorexia as a likely ending to all indulgences in femininity, then why not assume a heart attack is likely for all indulgences in potato chips? Throwing this stuff out as a “there, see!” to me is so painfully pathetic that it’s hard to formulate a logical response.

  86. hedonistic

    Octogalore: “I am, on the other hand, saying that I believe a certain amount of adherence can provide a platform for change.”

    HPS: I don’t see anyone here debating you on this as I believe it’s a given. I’d be willing to bet that most participants in these discussion threads cave to patriarchal standards in some shape or form, all to get by, to get ahead, and to help other women. We are still allowed to bitch about them.

    Patriarchal standards are analogous to polluted air: Breathing it is deadly, but if there is no clean air what’s the alternative? Not breathing? Breathing just a little? So we breathe the damn air and do what we have to do to survive and hopefully make the air cleaner for our children so they won’t have to breath so much of it. BUT IT STILL KILLS.

    OK. Moving on.

    Octogalore: “Personally, I believe that defending why certain forms of professional attire are not worthwhile fighting against, with the larger goal of attaining professional power that can make much more of a difference for other women, is much more legitimate than claiming the party line here and playing pin-up to attract “generous men” offline. As you acknowledge, once your “cute” years pass, you’ll be kicked to the curb. I won’t. Wonder why?”

    HPS Respods:

    1) I haven’t seen anyone here trash professional attire so long as “professional” is not circus-clownish compared to what men in the same profession are expected to wear. Also know that many of the women who comment on this site do things like trash heels and lipstick online AND STILL WEAR BOTH, all to accomplish exactly what you are advocating. We might be schizo in this regard, but we’re not crazy!

    2) Interesting how to you, “getting it” equates to toeing the party line? My blog is all anyone needs to see to know that when it comes to radfem I am anything but! I still “get it;” it’s just that moi can’t bring myself to put politics ahead of pleasure (I am THE Hedonistic Pleasureseeker, after all). So sue me. My intellectual curiousity and love of Twisty’s writing keeps me coming back for more.

    3) About curb-kicking: You’re immune to the ravages of of time? Or do you think your law degree makes you indispensible? Or are you independently wealthy? Do tell! As for moi, I am a degreed professional living independently from men and working in a job that does not “officially” require Teh Cute. Nevermind my straight As or my Phi Beta Kappa back then: I know my looks got me my first job here anyway, and my second one too. I see “unfuckable” women NOT hired, “outsourced” and/or laid off all the time for supposedly business reasons, even here in the Federal Government where these things are not supposed to happen (I spent 14 years in Human Resources, so I would know!). So if you’re bulletproof, PLEASE, tell us your secret! Whatever your reasoning, it’s more likely you – both of us actually – will spend our golden years protected more by our class privilege than by our cleverness.

  87. smmo

    Oh goody! Octogalore has achieved success in her small corner of the universe and usually doesn’t have to give anyone a blow job and they let her wear chic pantsuits instead of skirts! Patriarchy is dead, we can all go home.

    “Throwing this stuff out as a “there, see!” to me is so painfully pathetic that it’s hard to formulate a logical response. ”

    It is pathetic. It is pathetic that I persist in engaging someone so wilfully ignorant. Therefore, I am done.

    HPS: You tempt me to gush.

  88. octogalore

    HPS: “We might be schizo in this regard, but we’re not crazy!”

    Glad you can admit this, re schizo.

    “About curb-kicking: You’re immune to the ravages of of time? Or do you think your law degree makes you indispensible? Or are you independently wealthy? Do tell!”

    Thanks for your curiosity! (1) Ravages of time: so far, fairly immune, but not banking on this lasting forever. (2) Law degree/indispensable: I’m no longer practicing, so: no. Nobody’s indispensable, certainly not me. (3) Independently wealthy: not yet, hopefully soon. And yes, partially because of class privilege, although I had full loans through school. But not because of the indulgence of men, or from any “neat stuff” I’ve gotten from them. If and when we are able to retire ten years from now, which is my goal, it will be predominantly due to my efforts.

    On getting kicked to the curb, and assuming that you are talking about being kicked to the curb by romantic partners: I did not claim you would be, it was you who felt this to be the case. I don’t think everlasting youth, a degree, or money is the secret, and it’s interesting that you would invoke these factors. If you are really asking for my opinion, I believe that people who seek relationships with wealthy or glamorous men are going to get what they’re looking for: people who relate to the “pin-up” side and will bail when that side fades. That wasn’t my value system in seeking a mate, and although you earlier tried to claim that my marriage is grounded in patriarchal bullshit just as yours was, I think I am in a slightly better position to judge. Of course, having pin-up qualities, without injecting stuff into my face, was a gating factor. And being quite superficial myself, his being tall and studly were gating factors for me too, if we’re laying our shit on the table. But there’s a strong foundation on which to be confident that there won’t be any kicking to the curb once the ravages of time do hit.

    To the extent that you were referring to getting kicked to the curb in an employment situation: I can’t imagine that you would be, based on what you’ve said about your qualifications. Your putting “officially” in quotes in the context of requiring Teh Cute, however, and your claiming you got your job based on your looks is another discrepancy between your experience and mine. Aside from a summer stint as a hostess in a bar in Tokyo, I’ve never gotten a job on my looks. In my current job, I could be 100 years old and 500 pounds, and as long as I could point to my revenues and say “scoreboard, folks,” I’d still be golden. I recognize this isn’t universally true or available for women, and make this point only to demonstrate that your experience isn’t universal either. And, maybe there’s a reason that you’ve gravitated towards situations that are so contingent.

  89. hedonistic

    Omigod Octogalore, when it comes to being kicked to the curb I wasn’t talking about men at ALL. I am not presently in a relationship and do not intend to remarry. My adventures in creative dating occur in fits and starts, and they are purely for entertainment purposes anyway. Frankly, I consider dating to be a rather expensive hobby and am rethinking the whole concept.

    By “kicked to the curb” I mean deemed invisible and irrelevant by patriarchal society in GENERAL. The rare woman who maintains her social relevance after her fuckable years is usually propped up by the Patriarchy one way or another, most often in the form of class privilege such as family background, vast quantities of money or some other form of status, status itself being part and parcel of the patriarchy.

  90. hedonistic

    Oops I need to qualify that: I wasn’t talking ROMANCE. Of course I was talking about men!

  91. maribelle

    As long as we acquiesce to their completely unecessary, ever-shifting and soul deadending requirements we will lose.

    Exactly, smmo. Because the game requires us to lose; that is the purpose of the patriarchal game. You can’t win the game when your role is the ball.

    octo wrote: Um, so Nancy Pelosi wasn’t playing the game? As far as I know, she shaves her legs, wears makeup and designer suits. She was able to go against the grain and employ the “constant, relentless, drumbeat for change” because she employs various femininity tools to enable her to flout others.

    So you attribute Nancy Pelosi’s historical career, not to her eloquence, compassion, ability to connect with people and/or savy political skills, but to her morning toilet? YOU ARE PERPETRATING the exact stereotype — women’s worth and ability being reduced to their looks and adherence to patriarchal standards.

    Why don’t you get that **your attitude is the problem,** not the solution.

    You don’t need to go to godbags.com to read that women must behave in their patriarchally sanctioned ways, you can read it from “sister” Octo. Crap a doodle do on that.

    What’s even worse; you try to use every powerful woman up there who has ever adorned herself in any way as proof that woman must adhere to standards of femininity to succeed. (Gold Meir’s chunky necklaces was part of her rise to power? Helen Thomas’ lipstick –what? keeps her stuck to that chair?)

    I wrote: “If the game is set up for you to lose, why play it? It’s not the only game in town–walk away and take your money elsewhere.”

    You twisted what I said and wrote: Wow, I don’t know – maybe because playing it can get you the money in the first place?

    THE GAME in that sentence is FEMININITY, not politics or business. (You really think I’m advocating women retreating from politics?) The fact that you cannot seem to separate femininity from success in love, business or politics is very telling in itself.

    My point is that you don’t have to be “feminine” to play the patriarchal game. In fact, you will LOSE becaue WOMEN LOSING (power, money, etc) is the patriarchal game, so when you play it, women lose. You have to weigh that against whatever modest gains you can make, and I leave each woman to figure out what she wants to do. I’m not the one here measuring Nancy Pelosi’s leg hair–that would be you.

    You made another telling jump here:

    I wrote about aging women’s “invisibility in popular culture” and you responded:
    If the “invisibility” you warn about does not kick in immediately and I get a few more attempted pickups at the gym by cute college guys,

    Interesting that you interpret this invisibility sexually. That is very telling. I was speaking in the context of women’s political power.

  92. maribelle

    hedonistic wrote:

    Omigod Octogalore, when it comes to being kicked to the curb I wasn’t talking about men[i.e.romance] at ALL…By “kicked to the curb” I mean deemed invisible and irrelevant by patriarchal society in GENERAL.

    Another telling interpretation by octogalore. I sense a theme.

  93. octogalore

    HP: “Every dime I spend on this shit detracts from my ability to support myself financially without a man’s assistance (and once my “cute” years pass I’ll be kicked to the curb anyway).”

    The context here suggests that you WERE referring to romantic relationships with men. Otherwise, why the reference to being supported by men, and then the use of “anyway”?

    “By “kicked to the curb” I mean deemed invisible and irrelevant by patriarchal society in GENERAL. The rare woman who maintains her social relevance after her fuckable years is usually propped up by the Patriarchy one way or another, most often in the form of class privilege such as family background, vast quantities of money or some other form of status, status itself being part and parcel of the patriarchy.”

    Do you not feel that Catherine MacKinnon has social relevance? How is she propped up by the patriarchy?

    Further, when do you think “fuckable years” end?

    “My adventures in creative dating occur in fits and starts, and they are purely for entertainment purposes anyway. Frankly, I consider dating to be a rather expensive hobby and am rethinking the whole concept.”

    HP, I am sorry, but various things you’ve said lead me to believe that you are looking for a meaningful relationship, albeit with entertainment along the way. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that. I’m not sure why it’s expensive, either. I used to wear jeans to first dates at coffeehouses. Maybe rethinking how you’re approaching the whole concept does make sense.

  94. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Octo: I was referring to the way The Game keeps women poor so that we are forced to barter our sexuality for economic security. When I visited a financial planner to help me chart my way toward financial independence he actually suggested that marriage be a part of my retirement plan. I am NOT joking!

    To a patriarchy women gain relevance, and their lives achieve meaning, after they’ve aligned themselves with men (especially Important Men). That I would choose to divorce a (truly) wonderful high-income Important Man in order to eke out a living on my own without a dime of alimony or child support (and NOT remarry) is incomprehensible to a lot of people, but I just didn’t want to be married. I didn’t want a man to be dictating terms to me or telling me where I was allowed to put my energies(FWIW, that he still claims Head of Household still causes me to gnash my teeth every year at tax time).

    Anyhoo, I could have BOUGHT A CAR with the amount of money I spent on my appearance in 2005 and 2006, which sounds asinine unless you understand the circles I’ve been running in (running in circles on ooooohh so many levels). Imagine had I had just said, OH, FUCK IT and bought a CAR instead?

    Is Catherine MacKinnon socially relevant? To whom?

    When do a woman’s “fuckable” years end? That’s a loaded question, because 99-year-old women can still have enjoyable sex lives if they want them. So for the sake of this discussion we’ll just say “fuckable in the eyes of western society.” Genetics make it different for every woman, but in the moneyed classes at least, it ends when she “lets herself go,” i.e.,

    1) no longer appears nubile/fertile, and/or
    2) completely loses interest in what men think of her.

    It’s actually very liberating to Let Your Self Go. Think of it as springing yourself from jail! Unfortunately, without social and financial support (inheritance, retirement income, secure high-income employment, supportive friends and family, etc.) the social and financial consequences are dire.

  95. octogalore

    HP, I appreciate the thoughtful responses.

    How awful that the financial planner suggested that to you. It’s true that The Game in many ways keeps women down and forced to barter sexuality for economic security. I think women can find exceptions to this. But, more the exception than the rule.
    “To a patriarchy women gain relevance, and their lives achieve meaning, after they’ve aligned themselves with men (especially Important Men).”

    I think in a patriarchy, aligning oneself with an Important Man is one way to gain relevance. But I don’t think it’s the only way, or that this is a way to achieve meaning in one’s life. There are women who’ve achieved relevance and meaning without a patriarchal buttress.

    “That I would choose to divorce a (truly) wonderful high-income Important Man in order to eke out a living on my own without a dime of alimony or child support (and NOT remarry) is incomprehensible to a lot of people, but I just didn’t want to be married. I didn’t want a man to be dictating terms to me or telling me where I was allowed to put my energies(FWIW, that he still claims Head of Household still causes me to gnash my teeth every year at tax time).”

    Presumably, a man who wouldn’t dictate terms to you, tell you where you could put your energies, etc., and who had other characteristics you found important, would be someone you may not have chosen to divorce. I don’t find it incomprehensible that you would divorce someone of the description of your ex. It’s admirable that you made that decision.

    “Anyhoo, I could have BOUGHT A CAR with the amount of money I spent on my appearance in 2005 and 2006, which sounds asinine unless you understand the circles I’ve been running in (running in circles on ooooohh so many levels). Imagine had I had just said, OH, FUCK IT and bought a CAR instead?”

    I am wondering whether having been with a “high income Important Man” and spending five figures on your appearance over two years, allied to your comment about needing to align oneself with an Important Man, indicates why you’re now frustrated with the dating scene. Of course, you would want and deserve a brilliant and attractive guy, but have you tried stable, hot but not necessarily wealthy or Important guys? Maybe, a situation in which you’d have equal economic clout?

    I believe it is indeed impossible to have completely egalitarian relationships in a patriarchy. But I think it’s quite possible to come close enough to feel pretty damn good. It is hard to find these situations in a context of putting one’s sex appeal and pursuit of glamour on the first page, though – I think that kind of advertising brings out the guys who aren’t going to appreciate the whole book. I think you have a ton to offer. I don’t think that anyone NEEDS a committed romantic relationship, and I am not trying to be condescending or offer relationship advice on a radfem site. But my $.02 is that if you’re so inclined, it may be too early to conclude there aren’t worthy, maybe not-so-Important men out there.

  96. roamaround

    This thread has become so sad. How low should we go? I know it isn’t easy to negotiate a misogynist world without health insurance or social security. I suppose “take the money and run” is one strategy; resist and perish self-righteously is another. But while making a personal choice to not wear lipstick (or not eat meat) may have strong theoretical underpinnings, personal choices don’t force social change.

    I’d rather organize and fight, but there is no broad feminist movement to join at this point. So why would I risk poverty and social censure by rejecting femininity all by myself? Shouldn’t grassroots movement precede doctrine? Otherwise it seems like just more hipsters posing for each other.

  97. justtesting

    …assorted trumpet blowing from octogalore…

    So, not only A Scientist but some sort of perfectly dressed happily married gymnastic lawyer as well ?

    Seems there’s no end to octagalore’s talents and sucesses. Well apart from their abject failure to grasp the simple and basic concept that the problem with femininity is the actual invented concept of femininity itself.

    But hey you just keep those gilded blinkers on sweetie, just don’t expect folk here not to keep pointing them out to you.

  98. Twisty

    Well, roamaround, I guess we’d better start a movement.

  99. Pony

    There was never a card carrying movement roamaround, if you’re thinking there ever was, say circa 1975. We each do what we can. So subversive.

  100. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    I think Octogalore needs to check in with us in ten years and let us know how things are working out for her.

    (smmo: I’m vain and my head is easily turned by flattery. Thank you!)

  101. roamaround

    “Well, roamaround, I guess we’d better start a movement.”

    So cryptic, Twisty. Don’t know quite what to think, but I will risk ridicule and plunge ahead.

    “There was never a card carrying movement…”

    Pony, I’m sure “movement” has many interpretations, but I’m thinking of marches, actions, lawsuits, legislation, and there was more of that around women’s issues in the ‘70’s. As a kid, I marched with my mother for the ERA, then got disillusioned and caved in to ‘80’s complacency along with most of the rest of the country. Since then, the very active religious right movement has had little organized opposition from women, and things have been steadily getting worse on a number of fronts.

    Many readers here will know more than I, a self-taught feminist, about the effects of the backlash and identity politics on the women’s movement. I do know that the ethos of individualism runs very deep in this country, and “personal choice” is held up as the answer to everything. I know Twisty is not suggesting that as a substitute for activism, as she’s said, but it seems to be the prevailing idea of what being feminist means these days. Where is the solidarity?

    I’m starting to see how online feminism is a kind of movement, or at least potentially movement-generating. I love the posts about women fighting back, like Liz Ladd’s ‘Fuck Girls Gone Wild’ protests, and the clicks of consciousness like My Sister Would talked about when the young anarchist women realize that they are sitting and nodding for hours while the manarchists do all the talking. Like rejecting the trappings of femininity, it’s a start and it may be empowering, but I still say it’s not subversive unless it forces change.

    Sometimes I think it’s too late though.

  102. maribelle

    there is no broad feminist movement to join at this point.

    True, roamaround. That’s what I was addressing on another thread when I asked where the mainstream feminist voices are. I think what happens here is that voices are engaged that can begin (or revitalize) a grassroots movement: knocking ideas around, hearing what works in another’s words and calling out what doesn’t. I don’t know if the process is “sad”, but it is very neccessary. I could also be amazing.

    Complicating the discussion are the values of patriarchy itself. EX- a culture that slavishly worships youth will not be kind to 40somethings–but say so and be called catty, as though the whole point was to insult the poster for approaching 40. Only patriarchy itself dictates women over 40 = less value. Isn’t that the kind of perception we are fighting here? So why accept it as a given?

    This is a gender related issue: When I point out to lower income Republicans that they are voting for politians who then work against them, they argue the politics but no one assumes I brought up the subject to insult them for being poor.

    RE: revolution: Dans la rue! Dans la rue!

  103. maribelle

    I could also be amazing.

    That’s “It could also be amazing.” RE: the movement, the process, the revolution.

  104. octogalore

    HPS: thanks for the support, sister. Very inspiring. And, looking forward to your update, as well.

  105. smmo

    HPS: No problem. I am inexorably drawn towards iconoclasts.

    roamaround said: ” Like rejecting the trappings of femininity, it’s a start and it may be empowering, but I still say it’s not subversive unless it forces change.”

    I’m not sure about subversive, but I think it supports other women. I remember back to being a teenager, and the internalized misogyny that manifested as “well, if Lori gets up at 5 to blow dry her hair for school I guess I should too.” If one hangs with women who wear heels the pressure to do so will mount. But another group of women, a group in which naked faces and greying hair was the norm, might encourage one to drop certain things. And I think the more we free ourselves from beauty routines the more money, time, and mental real estate we have for takin’ it to the streets. Dans la rue indeed.

  106. roamaround

    “another group of women, a group in which naked faces and greying hair was the norm, might encourage one to drop certain things”

    Well put and I agree, smmo. I think it’s the “group” part that I’m trying to figure out.

  107. roamaround

    maribelle: “You can’t win the game when your role is the ball.”

    I loved that. I think it pretty much sums it up.

    Octogalore, I appreciate your willingness to diverge from the crowd, but some of your comments have me wondering about you (“…whining about being a member of the sex class…professional power that can make much more of a difference for other women…you have to get in the game…the economic, legal, political power structure.”) Are you a man or a Republican?

    History shows pretty clearly that female figureheads who perpetuate the system, from Cleopatra to Condie, don’t change much for ordinary women. As a rank-and-file educator, I find the comparative income of “professional” women who shuffle funds or briefs extremely galling.

    There’s no justice in the way wealth is distributed, so I don’t see a difference between getting paid for sexual favors or by playing the bottom-line “scoreboard” game. We’re still the ball either way.

    Having said that, I do sometimes think that if there’s not going to be any revolution anyway you might as well enjoy the ride. I’m considering marriage as part of my financial plan. Got any rich single friends, Octo?

  108. roamaround

    Ooops, should have said “remarriage” since, like Hedonistic, I was married to a rich man and walked away. Couldn’t stand the control shit either.

  109. thebewilderness

    You know Octa, one of the many places your argument disproves itself is when you claim a business suit is feminine. It’s not, it’s copying men. The lipstick and tasteful jewelry is so you can look as unfeminine as possible without looking threatening.
    You have made an argument for your version of femininity many times on this blog. By now I’m sure you know most of us don’t agree with you. Please consider the possibility that real world experience informs the view of those who do not agree with you, rather than dismissing it as groupthink.

  110. octogalore

    Roomaround and thebewilderness: too much has been taken out of context to discuss further. You’re enjoying the majority bludgeoning too much, it’s not worthwhile for me to continue. I’ll let you keep this unity that you’ve found in setting up a strawfemaletraitor. If we met IRL, I think the exchange would be different.

    Roomaround — I hope and expect, the rich single friend thing is a joke. While there are women out there who do look for millionaire dating prospects, and I daresay some are on this site, I have above and would contine to advocate finding someone of roughly equal economic clout — to avoid, as you state so eloquently, the “control shit.”

    Whatever your beliefs about women who “shuffle briefs” — I’m not one of them. I’m a partner in a small business in which I took close to no income for my first year, which I entered six figures in debt, and which required no fancy degrees. My husband shuffles briefs. I now outearn him by many multiples. I expect that this will garner no respect from anyone here. My point is not, as some will surely claim, to boast — but to say that there are ways to gain power in the system that don’t justify the system, don’t demand class privilege, and don’t rely on a rich man. Doesn’t make one an apologist. And it leaves me with little respect for anyone who would suggest I’m a man, and then ask me about rich friends.

  111. roamaround

    “there are ways to gain power in the system that don’t justify the system, don’t demand class privilege, and don’t rely on a rich man”

    That’s where we differ, Octogalore. I think the system is so rigged that any power you get involves selling out. Marriage is one kind of prostitution, careerism is another. Of course those who can carve out some independence (always through some kind of privilege) have it best, but working within the rules of the system automatically perpetuates the system. Almost all of us have to do it to some extent, but it’s important to acknowledge the rot at the core.

  112. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Here’s an example: I am a whore for Uncle Sam. I kiss his ass and he lets me live. My tenure and relatively stable situation are class privileges.

    Here’s another one: The women of the dark ages who escaped (or were sent) to nunneries didn’t escape Teh Patriarchy because the Catholich Church is just another Big Daddy. I see these women as having joined a harem that (officially) didn’t require them to put out sexually, although many of them had to anyway.

    Corportations are Patriarchs. Churches are Patriarchs. The Federal Government is a Patriarch. Of course, there is nothing gendered about being a cog in The System and both men and women may both benefit and suffer from it. The difference is that men play the game and as someone pointed upthread women are THE BALL. We are the prize commodity (het) men are chasing and trying to bring into their personal end zones. I trust that many of them wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning for their morning commutes if it weren’t for the pussy. More money means more of it, even when they’re married (the richer a married man is, the more likely he is to cheat on his wife).

    Can I mix up any more metaphors? Help me out here!

    Another example: I work in Engineering now but for several years I was the Recruiting Officer. When I counseled the Operations Manager about our aging workforce and (female) underrepresentation problem, he acknowledged that perhaps it was a good idea to hire some young female engineers so that the male engineers could have women to date/marry! He said this with a straight face. Do you think we hired ONE ugly, middle-aged or married woman that year?

    IBTP.

  113. octogalore

    “there are ways to gain power in the system that don’t justify the system, don’t demand class privilege, and don’t rely on a rich man”

    “That’s where we differ, Octogalore. I think the system is so rigged that any power you get involves selling out. Marriage is one kind of prostitution, careerism is another. Of course those who can carve out some independence (always through some kind of privilege) have it best, but working within the rules of the system automatically perpetuates the system. Almost all of us have to do it to some extent, but it’s important to acknowledge the rot at the core.”

    Roomaround: Are you not reading carefully? I said these ways DON’T justify the system. However, there are plenty of female entrepreneurs who have not sold out, haven’t kissed ass to get where they are, and who have not come from class privilege. I assume you have not met every female entrepreneur and don’t have firsthand knowledge of every employment situation. Don’t condemn a group you’re not part of and don’t understand, despite the temptation to find rot at the core of an apple from which you haven’t benefited. My saying there are some ways it’s happened without sucking the teat of the Patriarchy doesn’t mean the overall system, which does catch many in its net, isn’t corrupt the bulk of the time. My point is that assuming things like all marriage is prostitution, even where the woman is the rainmaker, devalues your many estimable arguments.

    HP: why are the examples from your own life, eg being a whore for Uncle Sam, more valid than those from mine? I’ve been a whore for Uncle Sam, for the auto industry, and for numerous patriarchal legal clients. There are alot of patriarchal pimps out there. My business now is me and three partners. We’re not each other’s whores. When I made partner, I was given more equity than a male counterpart who’s senior to me, plays golf and also doesn’t stick out by being a feminist and democrat. I don’t love what I do, but I don’t think that the power I’ve gotten has involved selling out. Again, I’m not arguing that this is typical, or that I’ve never sold out, because I’ve done quite a bit of that. But painting all power women achieve as corrupt is counterproductive and, frankly, ignorant.

  114. Ron Sullivan

    Geez, all this costume comment and here I was, just poking in to bitch because Anna Nicole died in such a convenient location and my little sister still didn’t get a chunk of her liver.

    Then again, when my sister got conscious enough to speak and I asked her if she wanted ANS’s leftover bits, she said she’d better hold out for something a little less strenuously pre-owned.

  115. Pony

    Octagalore your business is calling. Needs attention. May take weeks.

    ~~~~~~~`

    Now Ron what!? Your sister had a liver transplant. I’m so glad it appears to have gone well.

  116. Flamethorn

    Twisty, you have an octatroll.

  117. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    “My saying there are some ways it’s happened without sucking the teat of the Patriarchy…”

    A patriarchy with teats! That provides a great visual image. LOL! Now, the patriarchy gets our nourishing breasts… Is there anything those damn bastards won’t take?

  118. qwerty

    let’s all just quit working so the economy will go down then we all can just spend the rest of our days bumming around and fornicating. No need for all this blaming and hate because in the end, we’re both victims and perpetrators of this system of madness.

  1. I am ... unhindered by talent

    Designers of awful women’s “shoes” are first against the wall when the revolution comes!…

    And, as Twisty clarifies nicely, being female (or gay, or purple, or a unicorn) won’t protect you when the time comes.
    I wish I had a photograph of my grandmother’s feet to share at this moment, but I wasn’t taking a lot of photos …

  2. We are also … Unhindered by Talent » Blog Archive » Designers of awful women’s ’shoes’ are first against the wall when the revolution comes!

    [...] And, as Twisty clarifies nicely, being female (or gay, or purple, or a unicorn) won’t protect you when the time comes. [...]

  3. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » “Anna Nicole Smith, dead of femininity at age 39.”

    [...] As Twisty opined: If any doubts linger as to the sinister essence of the feminine directive marketed by the beauty industry, I urge you to consider the painful case of poor Anna Nicole Smith, dead of femininity at age 39.* Blonde bombshells are disturbingly disposable. [...]

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