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Feb 20 2007

Mystery solved

I have discovered the source of the recent upsurge in the number of male dude visitors to this popular feminist blog. I am quoted at Wired.com on the subject of the fetish restaurants currently enjoying a proliferation in wacky Tokyo.

What’s a fetish restaurant? Read it and weep. A summary from the Wired article:

Shomuni features an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink menu served by 15 costumed waitresses who start off dressed like receptionists and end up handcuffing patrons to their tables in sexy police uniforms.

Nice.

46 comments

  1. Shira

    “The popular view that strippers are empowered because their degradation is supposedly remunerative represents an unsophisticated understanding of the principles of global male dominant culture,” she added.

    However, the argument can also be made that the institutionalization of fantasies staves off real-life manifestations of it.

    It’s possible that, by getting their fix at Shomuni, customers will feel less inclined to feel up their secretaries the next day at work.

    What a stunningly convenient example of someone with an unsophisticated understanding of the principles of global male dominant culture.

  2. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Infidel Sage apparently wandered in from the whole Amanda incident. Infidel Sage links here in one of his misogynist rants. Twisty, please put his penis in a meat grinder immediately.

  3. kate

    I was going to cite the above ending sentence, but you beat me to it Shira.

    What’s more probable than possible, is that men who get their “fix” at Shomuni or anywhere else for that matter, feel more justified in harrassing all women. Probably because they just had women do whatever they wanted for a mere few bucks. I think that’s the whole point of the thing.

  4. Hegemony Ben

    As a card-carrying member of the right-wing white-male patriarchy, I just wanted to say I enjoy your writing style. Found you via Wired too and can’t stop consuming your prose. Is there a lesson here? Probably not.

  5. Pony

    Lipstick and Birk: Or more like Infidel Sage is one of the-alluded-to blog’s regulars, where a late breaking post backs porn for the boys in Iraq. Because it’s apparently going to cut down on rape and slaughter if the boys can get off on something that is you know, not harmful.

  6. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh gawd, bet this guy is every woman’s dreamboat! First he quotes Twisty:

    “an unsophisticated understanding of the principles of global male dominant culture”

    Actually, but thinking you (a mere woman) can fight it, you demonstrate a totally normal females lack of understanding about your place in the universe.

    Hey, not everyone can be born with gene’s that give them big rippling muscles and a 200 year lifespan, and not everyone can be born male. Get over it.

    WTF????

  7. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh: The WTF was mine, not his.

  8. Twisty

    Hedonistic is alluding to comments on the Wired article, FYI. I personally enjoyed this response by commenter Blurry:

    “‘It’s possible that, by getting their fix at Shomuni, customers will feel less inclined to feel up their secretaries the next day at work.’

    Hey – what a great idea! Let’s take it further why don’t we! Let’s open a cafe where white office workers can talk trash about black waiters right in front of them…. and yet another great idea – a restaurant where diners can choose from among young waiters and old waiters and then they’ll always young ones and laugh at the stupid useless old bags. That’s fix the workplace!”

  9. Pony

    Ok no one need go to Wired dot Com. I waded in and brought back the good parts so you don’t have to go through the pain.

    “”Men who pay women to gratify their pervy fetishes are not just boors, they’re johns,” said blogger Twisty Faster, who runs a popular feminist blog called I Blame The Patriarchy. “That these johns get off on symbolically sexually harassing their office mates doesn’t exactly represent a soaring pinnacle of human endeavor.

    “The popular view that strippers are empowered because their degradation is supposedly remunerative represents an unsophisticated understanding of the principles of global male dominant culture,” she added.

  10. thebewilderness

    Twisty, you have my sympathy in advance for all the orc slobber this will bring to the threads as well as the constant monitoring it will require, lest someone deem you pro orc slobber.

  11. TP

    Come for the brilliant writing style, stay for the common-sense position that women are human beings, too.

    They call it radical feminism, because apparently considering women as anything other than the sex class is too radical for even many women to accept.

    At first things you take for granted will seem defensible, like anything to do with the privileges you unconsciously enjoy as a male. But if you stick around long enough, eventually you will find yourself understanding that what is demeaning if it were you as the victim of your fellow men – like being whistled at on the street, demeaning and worth fighting over, right, if a man does it to you? – is also demeaning to women. It makes a whole lot of plain common sense once you get used to it.

    Then you can either blame yourself (or male nature) and deny it; or get mad and blame the patriarchy. Which is where we all are.

  12. Twisty

    Thanks, thebewilderness. In the few short hours since becoming aware of the Wired link, I have worn my moderation finger down to a nub. Bringing teh Blame to the people is a ball-buster. However, if there’s one thing I learned from the big transgender dust-up, it’s that people who want to take you down a peg will deem you pro-orc-slobber even if you go on national television wearing an I Hate Orc Slobber t-shirt and proceed to slaughter a bunch of orcs.

    So bring it.

  13. Twisty

    TP, you truly are a human being.

  14. Rob

    A male dude visitor who can’t for the life of him come up with a fake name worth using, I read your work on this site not because of Wired magazine, which I’ve never read, but because you incite a scrutiny of the biases, impulses, habits and whatever else you call them that not only empower the patriarchy but also make me sort of a jerk in ways I’m blind to. It’s true! I haven’t reacted to writing the way I do to yours since I binged on James Baldwin last summer. And you’re funnier than he was.

  15. octogalore

    From Wired.com commenter iPyramid:
    • “The argument that the Japanese or any other culture must adhere to the cultural norms we find in Europe or the Americas falls flat on its face when we take pragmatic wisdom and the golden rule into account. We cannot force another culture to act like us. …
    It is culturally accepted in Japan that women are submissive. If the women there want to change that, let them fight for it, but do not be jerks and fight something you see as wrong while they (the Japanese women) might see it as right.”

    This is pure hogwash, a coward’s easy way out to justify feeling OK about, or taking advantage of, other countries’ or cultures’ oppression of women or other groups.

    As it happens, I worked in Japan one summer in the early 90s, and got friendly with a group of “office ladies” as mentioned in the Wired.com article. They verified that, at the time, women in these positions were terminated at 27, once their “marriageable years” were viewed to be at an end. They also were expected to strip down at office parties, and one said she had to tell her boss each day what color and kind of underwear she was wearing, if she wanted to keep her job. While these things were “culturally accepted,” these women were all extremely unhappy with the state of affairs.

    I have a feeling that more was going on at these office parties, but being a summer intern and in the engineering group, I wasn’t completely trusted. Also, in my early 20s, I was easily shockable and probably seemed much too taken aback based on these revelations for them to be comfortable sharing further.

    Unfortunately, while up through college boys and in Japan at that point and possibly still were treated somewhat equally in terms of access to education, the expectations afterwards dramatically shifted, with girls shunted off into getting an MRS and boys into a company which would typically become their primary source of identity and companionship. So the “office ladies” in their mid-20s didn’t have the economic opportunities to choose something different for themselves.

    iPyramid blithely says the women in Japan “might see [being submissive] as right,” and that it’s “jerky” to try to fight this … let’s take away his paycheck after five years, give him daily underwear checks, and see how “right” he feels about things.

    Ironically, there was one exception in the company I worked in (a Tokyo office of a Fortune 50 company) to my knowlege, of women being promoted into management ranks. One woman, in her early 50s, headed up a department in the IT area. I asked her how that had happened, and she said her husband had dropped dead of overwork six years back, and she had simply taken over his position. In that time, the department had grown from 25 to 100 and increased significantly in profitability.

  16. alphabitch

    If you wade down a bit in the wired comments, you’ll find someone called gadgetsage speculating that she (the author? Twisty? I think it’s in response to a prior comment outing the author, Lisa Katayama, as female) might in fact — wait for it — prefer women.

    That kinda made my day.

  17. Antelope

    Actually, there is one other good line in the comments over there.

    “What’s this got to do with technology?”, says a Wired reader. What, indeed?

  18. norbizness

    Fuck that getting handcuffed noise, I want maids. Ever since Mumsy and Daddy had to lay off our last maid following the oil bust in Texas in the early 80s, I’ve have a gaping void that’s remained unfilled.

  19. ChapstickAddict

    octogalore:

    The anecdote about the woman taking over her dead husband’s job reminded me of this quote from Gloria Steinem: “Men should think twice before making widowhood woman’s only path to power.”

    And as a female geek, it’s this kind of dude-inspired literature on Wired that turns me off of the mainstream geek culture. Can’t I play a decent video game where the female character doesn’t have gigantic, rock-hard boobs encased in a metal bra?

  20. the first born fish

    I used to feel torn between “cultural tolerance”/being PC and knowing my human rights from my patriarchy.

    A lot of liberals get very uncomfortable if you say things like “Fundamentalist Islam and middle eastern culture in general, fundamentalist Christianity, Othodox Judiasm, east Asian culture, and many other widely accepted faiths, ideas, and systems are MYSOGYNISTIC.”

    “Um! Um!” They say. “That’s so culturally intolerant of you!”

    And then I quote them: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

    And they get even more uncomfortable, but silent.

    With conservatives, they’re like “Yeah, other cultures are totally wrong, but only because the brown people are making more babies and in some places women won’t suck my penis.”

    I’ve become annoyed with reactions from all ends of the political spectrum, because so many of them still live under the Patriarchy Umbrella.

  21. RobW

    “The argument that the Japanese or any other culture must adhere to the cultural norms we find in Europe or the Americas falls flat on its face when we take pragmatic wisdom and the golden rule into account.”

    This argument itself falls pretty flat when one considers that the deliberate adoption of European and American cultural norms has actually been a fairly consistent feature of Japanese culture since the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Of course they have, and enjoy, their traditional culture, but they have also purposely adapted Western cultural values in many ways.

    How do you think they got to be so imperialist so quickly? Within 20 years, they went from a medieval feudal isolationism to a modern imperial expansionism. When Perry brought the Black Ships into Yokohama, they realized that in the imperial 19th century world, facing vastly superior technology and aggresive expansionism in the West, it was colonize or be colonized. To do that, they had to modernize. To do that, they had to duplicate the Enlightment and quite consciously copy the political and social order they saw in the West.

    (Sorry for the pedantry, but I’m taking a course right now on Modern Japan History and am at this moment putting off writing an essay on that exact political debate among leading Japanese intellectuals and politicians of the 19th century. God, I love college.)

    Oh, and as nasty and brutal as our brand of patriarchy is, we’ve got nothing on the Japanese. Their gender politics, in my rarely-humble opinion, are stuck at around 1962. It’s changing but very, very, slowly. The good news: increasing numbers of women are achieving high positions in business and government. The bad news: it’s still newsworthy whenever it happens.

    Also, I wouldn’t expect Japan to abandon patriarchy because of their adoption of western cultural/political ideas. It’s not like we’ve abandoned it, you know.

  22. AradhanaD

    It’s possible that, by getting their fix at Shomuni, customers will feel less inclined to feel up their secretaries the next day at work.

    1) Permitting that women only worked as secretaries permanently and never became managers.
    2) Permitting that there was always a steady supply of new women working as secretaries at the office & a steady supply of women available to ‘get your rocks off to’ at the stripclub cum resto.

    Does this idiot not see that neither of those two things have to be happening – period! Isn’t he a smarty…

  23. Phil

    The entire idea of moral relativism is fairly weak. It can be reduced to absurdity relatively quickly.
    Even if those in a society have no conscious objections to the way things are done, does not mean that the way things are done is right or good or acceptable. An enslaved group denied the agency to object can not lend approval to their status. Even if Japanese women DID like the way things are done in Japan, they have been denied agency to advocate for change, and thus, their support is meaningless.
    Of note is that with education comes the desire for more rights. The more educated a populace becomes, the more they clamor for freedom.

    Hopefully people will continue to allow themselves to be educated by Twisty, until the clamor for freedom runs into the streets.

  24. cypress

    Intitutionalizing men’s ‘pervy fetishes’ as a solution to the problems faced by women they don’t pay is no solution. I can’t remember who asked this question – no doubt someone here will.

    Why should there be a group of women who set aside to be the targets for men’s perversions?

  25. cypress

    Oh typing, wherefore art thou?

    Why should there be a group of women who are set aside to be the targets for men’s perversions?

  26. Alarming Female

    It’s refreshing to read the comments of so many enlightened males. I realize, of course, that this is due in part to your sad nub of a moderation finger, Twisty, but I’m glad there were some reasonable voices to send on.

  27. Violet

    The phenomenon of establishments catering to men desiring to eat “Shabu Shabu” served to them by pantless waitresses was first brought to light a few years ago when ruling party lawmakers were discovered to be frequenting these “restaurants” at tax payers’ expense.

  28. keep it simple

    This woman also found you via Wired.
    About the cultural debate, I am a loud outspoken feminist. Often I get asked why ? I do get the same pay as men (I make sure of that), I get respect (I make also sure of that), what are the women of other cultures to me ?
    I do not tolerate Indian women getting incinerated, because of culture, this may be tradition but it is wrong. I do not tolerate women being genitally mutilated, even if it is a thousand year old tradition. I do not care what the Japanese tradition may or may not be. I want respect for every human being on this planet and if your tradition is against it, you will have to change the tradition. I am just one voice, nothing much, but sometimes people have to voice their opinions and take side. I take side with the Japanese woman.

  29. Violet

    On the topic of Japan, this brief news item…

    HAKUSAN — Education board officials in Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture, said Tuesday that an elementary school principal in his 50s had molested three female students.

    The principal put his hand inside the underwear of three girls while playing sumo and tag with them near the school entrance on the morning of Feb 8. The three students later reported the incident to their homeroom teacher who reported it to the vice principal. According to the board of education, the principal has admitted to the allegation. “I’ve done a bad thing and I am sorry,” he was quoted as saying. He has been suspended since Feb 13, pending a decision by the board on his punishment…

    …elicited this response from a white dude reader of the Japan Today website:

    “I think he played around with students at the gate every morning and these girls complained about it, so the school has to show they have done something.
    In a few years students will be complaining that their teachers are distant and won’t socialize with them. Teachers are told to help students being bullied, but not to interfere with them because it makes them weak.
    These girls are being taught at an early age that they will get whatever they want if they make a similar complaint.
    The school should interview all of the students individually to learn if this is a problem and act according to what they discover. If there is a camera at the gate it should be it should be viewed. If there isn’t a camera then several should be installed on school grounds. Every child should have GPS chips oin their person and each school should have a person monitoring their location at all times. Teachers should have a similar device implanted in their bodies so they can’t escape surveillance”.

    http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/399559

    He then provides a link to a “men’s rights” site from the UK, presumably to “prove” his point that little girls who complain to their teachers after being groped by the principal are uppity little minxes out to destroy the careers and reputations of men.

  30. Sylvanite

    Ha, ha, ha! That comment from Blurry at Wired does hit the nail on the head. Plus, there really is no proof whatever offered by well, reality, that mistreatment of women dressed as secretaries will somehow lead to restrained and enlightened handling of actual secretaries. As has been pointed out, indulging in such behaviors may in fact increase the likelihood that the misbehavior will be carried out even more on the real secretaries. I can’t think of too many misbehaviors that when indulged, lead to satiation and the discontinuation of the misbehavior. Like drug use, porn, etc., it seems that indulging leads instead to escalating misbehavior.

  31. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    One who dares speak the truth is a very dangerous thing. Twisty is our truth-teller. I’m glad that a couple of rational men dropped by–gives me a little hope.

  32. Ron Sullivan

    Today’s Old Saw:

    If shit happens to men, it’s political. If shit happens to women, it’s cultural.

    (I’m still in Florida; old saws are pretty much all I’ve got left that doesn’t need laundering.)

  33. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I’m sorry for your nub-worn finger, Twisty, but I do deeply appreciate your efforts. I’m sorry you’re drawing fire from the orc-slobberers. In no way are these toads worthy opponents, but still, you must be ouching *somebody*.

  34. niki

    I hate the saying ‘any press is good press’ because it’s Hollywood crappe, but perhaps it’s a good thing in bad thing’s clothing that all these stumblers are stumbling into Twistyland.

    I don’t remember how I discovered you, exactly. Probably in a search during my curious binge into the psychology of eating disorders, or maybe the one about gender transformation. Either way, my backbone has been strengthened tenfold by my accidental visit, and I haven’t been able to look away since.

    And I was already angry and loud and (relatively) gender-free.

    And I have, in turn, led other dissillusioned members of the sex class here, who, in turn, have discussed their thoughts with me and subsequently led other dissillusioned members of the sex class to this website.

    I can only hope this continuance continues. Really, peoples, this is how shit happens. Even if we have to step over some choads on the way up.

  35. finnsmotel

    “she said her husband had dropped dead of overwork six years back, and she had simply taken over his position”

    Reminds me of a story (doesn’t everything?!) from my youth, working in the drive-thru at McDonald’s.

    We had a regular customer, an old lady, named Floyd Wilson. She came through the drive-thru every night in her 1950′s-era jalopy of a car (forget the make/model), really late, and ordered a cup of coffee and a cheeseburger. She always asked that we wrap the burger and the bun separately, so she could feed the meat to her cats (who were in the car with her). She ate the bun and the coffee and chatted with us through the window until another customer would come along. Then, she’d park in the lot and fall asleep with the car running.

    Living in a small town, you see a lot of oddball stuff, so it had never crossed my mind to ask why her name was Floyd. But, one night one of my co-workers did ask her how she got the name Floyd. Turns out her husband had been elected to a small potatoes local political position for years and years. His name was Floyd. When he died, she had her name legally changed to Floyd, ran in the next election, and won. Even after her political career was over, she kept the name.

    -finn

  36. Keeshond

    The phenomenon is traveling, spawning maid cafe openings abroad.

    Well, that’s just peachy news. Dog only knows we need to provide pervy men with more enpornulated consumer opportunities than they currently enjoy because really, the current number of bars, coffee shops and restaurants catering to these dicks is just not enough. Stay tuned for sexxxay dental cleanings in which all dental scraping instruments will be operated from the cleavage of the hygienist who will be dressed in a sexy nurse costume and straddling the dental patient. Or sexxxay fantasy hardware stores where customers can try out the power tool of their choice on a naked RealDoll. Or sexxxay oil change shops where “hostesses” wearing naughty mechanics’ garb let the customers check their “gauges” and lube them with heated orgy oil.

    Some days I hate being a woman.

  37. AradhanaD

    The reason why I don’t comment here quite often is some of the commenters make my skin crawl.

    For example Violet:
    QUOTE: On the topic of Japan, this brief news item…/End

    The topic is not Japan – the topic is restaurants and fetishicism in Japan. Everytime someone says “America” do you qualify every single statement made about “America” with oh GW did this today, Joe Francis did this, someone raped someone, and someone else brought a gun to work….

    you don’t. Stay on topic – Japan’s more diverse than just a bunch of ‘evil men’ out to destroy the female population — so don’t pick and chose your articles to imply that – cause you obviously don’t know much about the ENTIRE COUNTRY to summarize it into 2 news articles.

    AD – sick of American Imperialism

  38. Vera Venom

    Keeshond – ever seen “Idiotocracy”? You just described the US in the year 2505, according to that movie.

    It’s a terrible movie, but one a feminist should see.

  39. Jack

    I don’t read Wired. I used to read your restaurant reviews for The Riverfront Times, and loved them. When a friend told me that you have a blog, I couldn’t wait to read it. I Blame The Patriarchy is now part of my daily reading list. Keep up the great work!

  40. Samantha

    On the topic of Japanese fetish restaurants and blaming, I was approached at a local juke joint just this past Sunday evening by a tall american dude with brightly dyed red hair who said he needed “a model.” I was perfect, he told me. Yep, little, old me, a drunk, 37-year old mother of two at a Jonathan Richman show with her three thirty-something girlfriends.

    Anyway, his schtick was that he was throwing a surreal S&M party for some “investors.” All I had to do – for free, of course – was to put on a skimpy little black BDSM number and a pair of spike heeled shoes (I’d have to provide the shoes), serve drinks, and submit to having sushi served on my bare midriff. Yes. That’s what he said.

    His only concern, he told me quite frankly, was whether or not I could keep my mouth shut long enough to pull it off.

    I politely declined his generous offer.

  41. Violet

    Dear Aradhana,

    Please read the part of my post where I mention “the white dude response…”, which makes it clear that the point of the post was not to bash Japan, but to highlight the previous point about men who interpret “cultural differences” to mean anything that marginalizes women. In Japan, it’s White Dude who jumps highest on the “cultural” bandwagon whenever male privilege is called into question. For what it’s worth, I’m married to a Japanese man and have lived here for 20 years.

  42. Mau

    This sentence is the one that really got to me:

    With hand mirrors and binoculars at their disposal, the customers can ask the waitresses to mix them a cocktail, feed them beef from their hands, or strip down to their underwear and change into a cosplay outfit of their choice.

    EW! EW!!! And may I say again, EW!!!!!

  43. dannielynn's daddy

    On the subject of Japanese restaurant/fetishism/sexism: I don’t know if this is an urban legend or real, but have you heard about the restaurants where sushi is served on a naked woman’s body? Supposedly she lies there not moving (corpse-like?) on the table while diners pickup pieces of fish off her flesh with chopsticks. I find this disturbing on so many levels.

  44. Twisty

    “dannielynn’s daddy”, eh? What an hilarious sendup of that ditzy dead slut Anna Nicole Smith.

  45. PS

    Anna Nicole…I don’t know why there aren’t any articles about WHY she died. I saw it mentioned briefly in passing and then it was dropped. It seems that she died from the TWO MORE BREAST SURGERIES she had after she recently gave birth. One was to fix previous surgeries, not sure what the second was for. (Did you know that “boob jobs” are not meant to be permanent? That eventually they will fail and have to be removed?)

    She was valued by men for her big plastic breasts, and her big plastic breasts did her in.

  46. roamaround

    Anna Nicole died from her breast enhancements?? I did not hear that! I don’t follow entertainment news, but all I remember are whispers of drug abuse. With girls these days getting boob jobs for their sweet sixteenth, of course this info should be on the front page

    But we know why it isn’t emphasized in the media: greed and misogyny in happy cahoots. Much more expedient to blame AN than the patriarchy that destroyed her.

    I did just find this story about AN’s “other life” as a bisexual with an older girlfriend (who knew?). The article says primly that she was “incapable of monogamy” though she was 23 at the time. What a perfect scapegoat she is.

    http://chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4574542.html

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